Preservation of Affordable Housing

“Seniors are the nation’s largest and fastest growing population. Many are on fixed incomes, and in need of quality affordable housing. At POAH (Preservation of Affordable Housing), creating and preserving opportunities for all incomes, especially those most at risk, is very important,” explains Nikkitta McCoy, Development Associate at POAH.

But a lot of current affordable housing is expiring—so, when a Chicago YMCA put Emil Jones Jr. Senior Housing up for sale, POAH wanted to snap it up, to ensure the 60-unit property remains affordable.

Unfortunately, there were financing challenges. Although POAH is a nonprofit developer, they compete with for-profit developers for choice properties like Emil Jones. McCoy notes that it is important “to have access to funds to acquire properties that are currently affordable, so that we can extend that affordability. There aren’t many options at the price point we provide.”

POAH’s Boston office has a long-standing relationship with BlueHub Loan Fund and thought there might be a fit; there was. “The acquisition loan with BlueHub provided the additional capital needed to compete with the for-profit developers,” says McCoy. And for BlueHub Loan Fund, the project was an appropriate use of Capital Magnet Funds—financing awarded by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund specifically for affordable housing projects.

The partnership is a blessing for Emil Jones’ residents, for whom the transition has been smooth. There will be energy upgrades, and a POAH Resident Services Coordinator plans both in-house services and activities and offsite excursions. But mostly things have remained familiar. “We were able to keep all the existing personnel; it’s nice for the residents not to feel like there was a big change.”