We know we cannot build our way out of New York’s housing crisis – we must preserve the affordable housing that already exists in order to keep our hard-working communities a vibrant part of our city.
In our continued effort to serve as many New Yorkers as we can, Habitat for Humanity New York City recently formed a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). This is a unique opportunity to expand our impact in the housing sector and ultimately, provide decent, affordable housing for more New Yorkers than we would be through traditional construction.
A CDFI plays an important role in generating economic growth and opportunity in communities that traditionally have trouble accessing capital. A CDFI is simply a loan fund that distributes its funds for the sole purpose of furthering community development activities – in our case, the development and preservation of affordable homeownership. This includes existing tenant-owned buildings or other organizations that work in the affordable homeownership sector.
Unlike traditional mortgage origination or servicing, the CDFI entity lending space is largely unregulated, providing a lower bar for entry. Because of this, low-income New Yorkers, who would be declined for a traditional mortgage can access funds and become homeowners.
Funding for the development and preservation of affordable homeownership in New York City is hard to come by at best. This scarcity leaves many buildings and organizations without options, putting them in grave danger of losing their affordable status and becoming market-rate housing, out of reach for the tenants who already live there. In many cases, the only obstacle facing these tenant-owned buildings is simply that they are behind on their municipal bills, and because of that, they are unable to access city funds to make much-needed repairs on their structures. Our low- to moderate-income neighbors should not have to leave New York City because of an overdue water bill.
We believe that by leveraging the strength of Habitat NYC’s balance sheet, our brand, and our knowledge of preservation and construction strategies, we can provide critical funding for well-qualified condo associations, and affordable housing developers already working in this space—further advancing our overall mission. We are able to increase our impact in the sector and serve families who are current homeowners, and future homebuyers as well.
Our CDFI is a vital part of our larger Housing Preservation program. Having all these capabilities under one roof allows Habitat NYC to become a more holistic organization, serving as many New Yorkers in as many capacities as possible.
Individuals: Individuals can donate specifically to the CDFI, helping us build up funds that we will distribute to hard-working, low- to moderate-income New Yorkers. Your dollar will be transformed, not just into affordable housing, but into the potential energy of an entire community as they raise themselves up, growing stronger and growing together. A donation to Habitat NYC’s CDFI is more than an investment in our Loan Fund, it’s an investment in our city.
Institutions looking to invest: Financial institutions can invest in our CDFI. Because Habitat NYC’s funds will be less restricted, we can use traditional institutions’ donations to make more compassionate and real change in low-income communities. CDFI investments earn CRA credits, meaning that you can remain in good standing, and build a better community for all New Yorkers.
For more information on the CDFI, please contact email@example.com.