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Community Developments Investments (February 2012)

This Just In ...
OCC’s Four Districts Report on New Opportunities for Banks
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Western District 

Western District Icon Susan Howard (818) 240-5175
Michael Martinez (720) 475-7670
Aaron Satterthwaite (214) 720-2844

Committed to Ending Chronic Homelessness

The Housing Authority of Salt Lake City is committed to ending chronic homelessness in the city and is in the sixth year of a 10-year campaign. The housing authority’s primary goal is to find homes for low-income residents using traditional rent subsidies or vouchers. Several key programs, however, address homelessness, particularly among chronically homeless veterans. The housing authority provides military veterans with comprehensive case management, job training, and placement services through partnerships with Volunteers of America, Utah; the Road Home; and other local providers of services for the homeless.

The housing authority has developed and rehabilitated several properties, including a number of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program projects that have more than 300 units of transitional and permanent supportive housing for very low-income people. The housing results in a reduced burden on society, because studies indicate that in Utah, the homeless, who represent 10 percent of the population at any given time, use 15 percent of social services such as shelters and emergency rooms. Many veterans suffer from physical and mental disabilities, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Support services within individual apartment buildings help residents to better access various sources of income, including veterans’ benefits. According to the authority’s staff, the program has had a positive impact on residents.

Banks have supported the housing authority and its partners with operating grants for supportive services, and with bank staff volunteers who provide technical assistance and training. To help or to learn more about the Salt Lake City housing authority’s activities, phone Bill Nighswonger, Executive Director, at (801) 487-2161, or e-mail bnighswonger@qwest.net.

Cost-Efficient Housing and Jobs in Denver

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is actively expanding its Renaissance Housing Model program—despite the tough economy and sluggish housing market. The program provides supportive and affordable housing for families and individuals experiencing homelessness and low-income working people who otherwise might not be able to afford quality housing in desirable locations.

In January 2011, the coalition opened a new location in Denver, minutes away from the state Capitol. Built to keep energy costs and environmental impacts low, Renaissance Uptown Lofts is delivering greater energy and water efficiencies, better indoor air quality, and better use of space—ultimately resulting in lower utility costs and rents for tenants. The coalition also expanded its Renaissance Works program, which is available on the property, to include job training and supportive employment services for homeless individuals.

Renaissance Uptown Lofts has helped to boost the local economy. The $17 million development budget created construction-related jobs, housing jobs and service-related jobs. The project generated approximately $32.3 million in total economic activity, including $461,000 in local taxes.

This new supportive, affordable housing is expected to reduce social service and emergency-related costs because more homeless people will enjoy stable housing. The coalition reported an average cost savings of $31,545 per person during the two years after homeless tenants enter supportive housing. This savings is the result of 34 percent fewer emergency room visits, 40 percent fewer in-patient hospital days, 82 percent fewer visits to detoxification centers, and 76 percent fewer days in jail.

The coalition used creative, multi-level, and leveraged financing tools, including a combination of federal tax credits; funding from state and local governments; private investment; and foundation and individual support. Investors and funders in Renaissance Uptown Lofts include U.S. Bank, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, Federal Home Loan Bank, Colorado Division of Housing, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Denver Office of Economic Development, Denver’s Road Home, the Denver Housing Authority, the Kresge Foundation, and individual donations.

For information on future projects and investment opportunities, phone John Parvensky, President, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, at (303) 293-2217, or e-mail jp@coloradocoalition.org.

Southern District 

Southern District Icon Karol Klim (678) 731-9723 x279
Scarlett Duplechain (832) 325-6952

Georgia Strives to End Homelessness

Since 1995, the Georgia Alliance to End Homelessness has been dedicated to finding solutions to the issues surrounding homelessness in Georgia. The alliance is committed to public education and awareness of homeless issues; building and facilitating community collaborations; working to ensure appropriate referrals of persons in crisis; facilitating the ongoing identification and development of homeless resources; giving technical support to providers; and serving as a change agent.

An estimated 18,000 people in Georgia on any given day live in homeless shelters and other temporary housing. Additionally, of the thousands of residents struggling to meet their basic needs for food and shelter, more than 55 percent are single-parent families.

The Georgia Alliance provides training programs for organizations interested in reducing homelessness. Organizations can also assist by participating in grant and service opportunities. The Georgia Alliance also trains individuals who provide homeless services, provides organizational capacity, and assists groups serving the homeless. Experienced professionals and trainers from across Georgia and the nation deliver comprehensive curriculums and help the national effort to end homelessness.

Banks and other organizations interested in becoming network members and helping to end homelessness may call Tom Plamann, Director, at (770) 575-5785, ext. 103, or visit the Georgia Alliance Web site at www.gahomeless.net.

Our House: Providing Hope for the Working Poor

Our House, a nonprofit based in central Arkansas, helps people move from homelessness to transitional housing, and eventually to permanent supportive housing.

Because Our House targets the working homeless, adults living in its shelter or in any of its four housing programs must be willing and able to work. Our House allows families to stay together and provides assistance with long-term needs and planning. Our House is the only program of its type in Arkansas.

In 1988, Our House opened as a 40-bed emergency shelter in the old parish hall of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in downtown Little Rock. Recognizing that housing alone cannot keep a family out of homelessness, Our House began providing other essential services and to help homeless families acquire the skills and support they need to turn their lives around. In 1991, Our House began offering job skills training programs focusing on computer training. The program also provides free childcare for homeless children while their parents work full-time jobs.

In the past decade, Open House added after-school and summer programs for school-aged youth, offering the first such services in the state specifically for homeless children. Our House also co-founded a free clinic for uninsured low-income people. The clinic is located across the street from the Family Housing facilities.

Today, Our House is nationally recognized and it is a model for similar programs across the country.

For more information on how a financial institution might partner with Our House, please contact Georgia Mjartan, Executive Director, at (501) 374-7383 or by e-mail at georgia@ourhouseshelter.org.

Northeastern District 

Northeastern District Icon Francis Baffour (212) 413-7343
Vonda Eanes (704) 350-8377

Bonita Irving (617) 737-2528 x223
Denise Kirk-Murray (212) 790-4053

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.

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.

Central District 

Central District Icon Paul Ginger (312) 360-8876
Norma Polanco-Boyd (216) 274-1247 x275
Timothy Herwig (312) 660-8713

Expanding Day Care and Early-Childhood Education

First Children’s Finance (FCF) is a nonprofit community development financial institution working to increase the availability of quality early-childhood education and day care for low-income families in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The nonprofit provides expertise and capital to other service organization and businesses. FCF offers services, including training and support for people interested in starting child-care businesses; strategic planning support for nonprofits; and consulting.

The FCF Loan Fund has made 281 loans totaling $8.1 million to small child-care businesses and nonprofit organizations. To date, nearly 50 banks, foundations, and businesses have invested in the FCF Loan Fund. Bankers can help FCF by investing capital in its loan fund; volunteering to serve as board and loan committee members; serving as advisors to the FCF Growth Fund; and making financial contributions to FCF.

For more information, contact Jerry Cutts, FCF President and CEO, at (612) 338-3023, or e-mail jerry@firstchildrensfinance.org, or visit www.firstchildrensfinance.org.

Ohio Catalyst to Affordable Housing

The Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) is a nonprofit financial intermediary that provides developers of affordable housing with access to capital markets. The corporation also serves as the region’s largest provider of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity.

OCCH recently closed its 23rd equity fund, with a total of more than $2.1 billion in private investment for affordable housing projects. To date, OCCH has invested in more than 450 developments with more than 25,000 affordable housing units in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Many OCCH projects have been qualified investments under the Community Reinvestment Act.

OCCH also funds supportive housing projects. For example, OCCH’s Ohio Equity Fund XX invested in the YWCA Independence Place, a 22-unit permanent supportive housing project in Cleveland. The $5.3 million project serves young women who have aged out of foster care. The YWCA of Greater Cleveland provides services for these women. The property is managed by the Cleveland Housing Network. The two nonprofit organizations jointly developed the project.

OCCH’s investors include JP Morgan Capital Corporation, U.S. Bancorp, Fifth Third Bank Community Development Corporation, Key Community Development Corporation, Huntington National Bank Community Development Corporation, Park National Bank, FirstMerit Bank, First Federal of Lakewood, and Citizens Bank.

In December 2011, OCCH issued its latest private placement equity fund, OEF XXII, and expects to close the fund during first quarter 2012.

For additional information, e-mail Hal Keller, President, at hkeller@occh.org, or Jon Welty, Vice President, at jwelty@occh.org; phone (614) 224-8446; or visit www.occh.org.