Fair, Affordable Housing
Sound, safe housing that is affordable to people of all income levels is essential to healthy communities and a healthy nation. Quality affordable housing that is fully incorporated into a community, rather than isolated and set apart, attracts retail and service businesses, supports diverse communities, and makes for healthy neighborhoods.
Americans are increasingly interested in community investing – using their money to reap a social benefit in addition to a financial return. That’s why more than 5.6 million Americans have switched banks since September of 2011, primarily moving their money into community banks and credit unions. Faith based institutions are playing a leading role, moving their assets into socially responsive financial institutions and urging their members to do the same.
CDFIs, which take a number of forms, provide another avenue for individuals and institutions to invest money to serve the needs of low and moderate income communities by providing capital for community development. They play an important role in financing projects in neighborhoods that are underserved by larger banks and where local residents and organizations would otherwise lack the funds to transform their struggling neighborhoods into healthy, sustainable communities. Many CDFIs, including those Bend the Arc supports, provide funding for affordable housing.
Community investing furthers economic and social justice. As Maimonides and generations of Jews have understood, a loan that helps an individual to become economically self-sufficient is far more valuable than a one-time gift. Community investing leads to self-sufficiency and economic mobility, allowing people who have been disenfranchised by our economy to lift themselves up through their own skills and determination.
Bend the Arc community investing has a special focus on affordable housing. By providing affordable loans we help develop affordable housing and other amenities every healthy community needs.
Currently, we are invested in housing in Los Angeles, helping develop and rehabilitate a 196-unit building of affordable apartments. In Massachusetts, we have helped build or preserve more than hundreds of affordable homes. In Washington, DC, we have helped finance more than 650 units of affordable housing. In Baltimore we’ve helped finance the construction more than 150 affordable homes, with more on the way. And in New Orleans, where we are investing for the long haul, we have helped to finance hundreds of units of affordable housing to date.