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Article Archives: New York

New Affordable Supportive Housing in Brooklyn

Brooklyn, N.Y., is gaining more than 200 new supportive housing units and creating new jobs in the process. CAMBA Gardens, a new affordable housing complex, is under construction on the grounds of Kings County Hospital. The complex will provide affordable housing, health care, and social services for tenants. CAMBA Gardens is a partnership of the public hospital, a nonprofit developer, service providers, and various government agencies. The developer, CAMBA Housing Ventures, is a community-based social service agency.

CAMBA Gardens will have 149 units for families with special needs and 63 units for low-income families. Construction began in 2011 and is expected to generate 280 construction jobs and 25 permanent jobs.

The $68 million project relies on a variety of financing. New York State Homes and Community Renewal approved $37.5 million in bonds for the project through the state’s New Issue Bond Program. In addition, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Supportive Housing Loan Program provided $26 million, the New York State Homeless Housing Assistance Program funded $5.2 million, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York committed $1.4 million through its Affordable Housing Program. The project also relies on $25.6 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.

For more information, visit CAMBA’s Web site at www.camba.org.
[Published in Community Developments Investments, February 2012]

Help for Cooperatively Owned Businesses

The Cooperative Fund of New England is a Community Development Financial Institution focused on providing financial and technical assistance to community-based, cooperatively owned businesses and nonprofits serving low-income communities throughout New England and parts of eastern New York state.

Founded in 1975 to support food cooperative development, the Cooperative Fund has recently expanded its focus to include other types of cooperatives involved in affordable housing development and job creation. Loans made by the Cooperative Fund can cover such needs as working capital, predevelopment costs, business expansion, and equipment and real estate purchases.

In 2010, the Cooperative Fund made loans that resulted in the creation or retention of 616 jobs and 545 units of affordable housing throughout its service area, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. Recent loans originated by the Cooperative Fund have supported a variety of activities, including local retail food cooperatives, energy-efficiency service providers, youth services, affordable housing development, and rural and urban food production.

Loans provided to the Cooperative Fund are used exclusively as capital for its revolving loan program. Contributions and grants help the fund to provide technical and educational services that support its lending activities.

To learn more about the Cooperative Fund, including potential investment and lending opportunities, please contact Executive Director Rebecca Dunn at (800) 818-7833, or e-mail rdunn@coopfund.coop.
[Published in Community Developments Investments, February 2012]

New Upstate New York Housing Tax Credit Fund
The Upstate New York Community Fund was created by the Great Lakes Capital Fund to enable banks and corporations to reduce their federal tax liability while supporting the development of affordable housing through LIHTC investments.

The fund specifically targets affordable housing development in the upstate New York region and will accept investments as low as $250,000.

Great Lakes Capital Fund is a nonprofit LIHTC syndicator supporting affordable housing development in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and now New York through the creation of this new fund.

Since its inception, the company and its affiliates have invested more than $1.5 billion in housing and community development activities supporting 450 developments, 25,000 housing units, and 1 million square feet of commercial and community space.

For more information, e-mail Jim Logue or call (517) 482-8555; or e-mail Dennis Quinn or call (313) 841- 3751.

You can also visit the Great Lakes Capital Fund Web site.
[Community Developments Investments, Fall 2010]

Grameen America Reaches the Microenterprises and Unbanked in New York City
Grameen America has brought to New York City the group lending and savings model successfully developed and refined in Bangladesh during the last 30 years. Grameen Bank and its creator, Professor Muhammad Yunus, jointly received the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize based on the success of the microfinance model. The bank provides loans, savings programs, remittance services, and other training to its borrowers. The small loans help Grameen America's customers start and grow microenterprises. Typical customers are low-income individuals who are unbanked and lack access to mainstream credit sources.

In November 2007, Grameen America opened the first pilot office in the United States in Queens, New York. There are plans to open additional New York locations over the next few years. The types of businesses funded through the Queens location include cosmetology, pet grooming, day care, clothing, jewelry, and food sales.

In the Grameen group model, prospective borrowers form groups comprised of five individuals. To build financial resources, all borrowers are required to save money when they receive loans. The group meets periodically to help educate borrowers on financial issues. This borrower education, combined with the savings requirement, encourages loan repayment.

In 2008, Grameen America provided 380 borrowers with more than $1 million in loans. Loans range from $500 to $3,000 for a term of 6 to 12 months. The interest rate charged is 15 percent, which is less than some alternative financing options that these borrowers previously used because of their lack of credit history.

Initially, Grameen America was funded by grants, private contributions, and loans. Its goal is to become a self-sustaining entity.

For further information, visit Grameen America's Web site.
[Community Developments Investments, Spring 2009]

Small Loans, Big Returns
Ways to Work (WtW) is a nonprofit, community development financial institution that helps lower-income people. WtW is designed to help borrowers attain financial independence and advance economically by having money to purchase dependable used cars to get to work or school. Since 1996, WtW has originated nearly 12,000 loans for more than $31 million and the average auto loan amounts to an average $3,400. Results of a 2006 WtW evaluation indicate that borrowers reported an average increase of 41 percent in their take-home pay. In addition, 67 percent of WtW borrowers report that they have used conventional financial services subsequent to receiving their WtW loans.

Headquartered in Milwaukee, WtW makes its loans from 43 offices in 21 states: California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

WtW offices are located in social service agencies affiliated with the Alliance of Children and Families (ACF). ACF agencies screen and provide financial education to borrowers and service the loans. WtW local offices provide financial education to more than three persons for every individual who receives a loan. Investors in WtW include several national foundations, the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the U.S. Treasury Department, local United Way offices, and financial institutions. Banks can be involved by investing in the national WtW loan fund, by referring to local WtW offices prospective borrowers who do not meet conventional credit criteria, by participating in local WtW loan committees, and by providing grants and in-kind donations to WtW.

For more information, contact President Jeff Faulkner at (414) 359-1448 ext. 2, e-mail him, or visit his Web site.
[Community Developments Investments, Spring 2009]

New Incentives for Banks to Open Branches in Underserved Communities
In order to encourage new bank branches in areas with a demonstrated need for banking services, the New York State Banking Department created the Banking Development Districts (BDD) program. The program was recently expanded to provide additional incentives for banks to branch in underserved communities. The Enriched Banking Development District is open to both national and state-chartered banks. Banks receive state and local incentives, including more than $100 million in public funds available for deposits in new BDD branches, real property tax breaks for the branch, and assistance in locating suitable commercial space. In order to receive the BDD designation, a bank, in partnership with a local government sponsor, must submit an application to the New York State Banking Department. The goal of the Enriched BDD Initiative is to expand the program in unbanked communities across the state. There are currently 11 areas of New York City designated as prospective new BDDs.

For further information, please contact Daniel Delehanty at the NYS Banking Department at (212) 709-3574 or daniel.delehanty@banking.state.ny.us.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Spring 2006]

Investing in Sustainable Forestry
Rural banks in northern New England and upstate New York now have the opportunity to invest in a vital industry sustaining their communities: forestry. Under a new investment fund introduced by Coastal Enterprises, Inc., banks can receive tax credits for their participation in a program providing long term working capital for sustainable timber harvesting and forest management across the northern regions of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. The project has received an allocation of New Markets Tax Credits, and investors purchasing these tax credits will be capitalizing a fund supporting forest-based businesses such as paper mills while helping to sustain jobs and maintain working forests and receiving a direct credit to federal taxes at the same time. Last year, Coastal Enterprises celebrated its 25th year of providing critical support to community development initiatives in Maine, and is now expanding its market to encompass all of the northern New England and upstate New York.

For further information about this and other funds in these rural geographies, contact Coastal Enterprises, Inc, at (207) 882-7552.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments Investments, Summer 2004]

Lower Manhattan Gets Affordable Housing
HUD, the state and city of New York, and Lower Manhattan Development Corp., are working together on affordable housing in Lower Manhattan to revitalize the area effected by the September 11th terrorist attacks. The agencies will implement a $50 million affordable housing initiative in Lower Manhattan that will fund 300 residential units for working families. The program will provide subsidies for affordable housing tied to the New York Liberty Bond program, which is a joint city/state partnership that provides tax-exempt bonds for the construction and renovation of commercial and residential facilities. The bonds are an incentive for developers operating in the residential market in Lower Manhattan by making construction and/or permanent mortgage loans for residential rental projects located in the area. This affordable housing initiative compliments the plan by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, "New Housing Marketplace: Creating Housing for the Next Generation." The Mayor's plan dedicates $3 billion in funds over the next five years, creating or preserving 65,000 units of affordable housing in NYC.

Contact: Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (212) 962-2300.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Winter 2003]