CPDC’s Turning Point (2005 – 2010)
Tribute #12 – Our Backbone: Securing Resources to Increase Affordable Housing Development
Some of CPDC’s earliest supporters were funders, service providers, and community-based organizations that contributed to critically-needed programs that served residents living in and around its communities. CPDC also experienced tremendous support from foundations, government agencies, and lending institutions that have helped advance its real estate interests. These investors have been CPDC’s backbone and were largely instrumental in increasing the overall stock of affordable housing in the region.
Program-Related Investments and Unrestricted Funding
CPDC made relationships with several prominent organizations that believed in its mission and were willing to back efforts to expand its real estate development pipeline as a way to serve more low-income individuals and families. In 2007, CPDC received a significant program-related investment (PRI) from the MacArthur Foundation that will serve the organization for the next ten years. MacArthur uses PRIs to help non-profits, government, and businesses attract the investment capital needed to achieve important social goals. Their investment in CPDC was part of the Window of Opportunity: Preserving Affordable Rental Housing Initiative, a $150 million investment pool designed to preserve and improve affordable rental homes across the U.S. CPDC had also been fortunate to receive multi-year, unrestricted grants from Fannie Mae to support affordable housing preservation and development. While some organizations were willing to invest unrestricted funds for CPDC to use at its discretion, others preferred to finance specific real estate development projects such as CPDC’s first green affordable housing community in Washington, D.C.
Restricted Funding for Redevelopment Projects
One CPDC project that attracted both national attention and sizable, restricted grants was the Wheeler Terrace redevelopment. Acquired in 2007, this Southeast-based community underwent substantial renovations, including the addition of extensive green features aimed at impacting the local environment and improving operating cost efficiency and usable green space.
Development costs for this property totaled $33 million. Funds came from a variety of sources including major grants from the following organizations:
- Home Depot Foundation – roof installation and funds to subsidize costs for geothermal testing
- Enterprise Community Partners– green design and planning expenses, as well as a grant to the Wheeler Terrace Association for organizational development
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development via the Healthy Homes Program – overall support to address a variety of environmental health and safety issues (e.g., mold, lead, allergens, asthma, home safety, pesticides, etc.)
As part of the redevelopment, CPDC created the “Wheeler Terrace Green Opportunities (GO) Center,” an interactive exhibit room featuring the property’s green building strategy. The purpose of the Go Center was to educate residents, as well as visitors, about the benefits of “green living,” green technology, and low-impact development, with the overall goal of raising awareness of the impact these features have on the community, the environment, and the individual residents’ health and quality of life. The GO Center received grants from PNC Bank and Union Bank of California.
From PRIs designed to accelerate the development of affordable housing to restricted grants aimed at increasing green housing features, CPDC’s investors have been and continue to be the backbone of its communities.