Article Archives: Alabama
Healthy Food Financing Initiative Announced in the Alabama Black Belt
The Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization (HERO) announced a new tool to assist in the creation of entrepreneurial small-business opportunities for community-driven artisan foods in “food deserts.” The Healthy Food Fund provides a nontraditional source of financing for women and minority entrepreneurs who focus on hunger relief and healthy food options in rural areas. The loan fund provides below-market-rate loans ranging from $5,000 to $80,000 with flexible repayment terms.
The fund is intended to support ongoing economic development efforts and to create or preserve jobs. The fund is also helping to make the Alabama Black Belt a stronger market for entrepreneurs who are creating healthy-food products, to expand the number of food outlets, and to better equip corner stores and farmers markets that bring produce and less-processed foods to rural towns. The new fund does not compete with existing funding sources but is designed to enhance the financial services already available to small businesses.
The initial funding pool of $220,000 was supplied by HERO and Regions Bank. HERO’s loan fund is actively seeking additional loan capital. The fund is managed by HERO, a local, grass-roots nonprofit group that is a HUD Certified Comprehensive Housing Counseling Agency, a HUD Certified Nonprofit, and a Community Housing Development Corporation.
For more information, contact Pamela Dorr at (334) 624-0842 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporting Affordable Housing through Tax Credit Syndication
As a tax credit syndicator, CAHEC structures equity funds using investors' capital. CAHEC's most recent fund is the South Carolina Preservation Fund II LP (SCPF II). SCPF II is a $32 million equity fund designed to preserve and renovate a portfolio of older, multifamily housing properties in South Carolina. The targeted portfolio includes 41 properties with a total of 1,548 units. Although all investments in SCPF II were fully subscribed in 2008, banks can invest in other CAHEC equity funds as they are developed. To learn more, visit their Web site or e-mail Dana Boole or call (919) 788-1803.
Alabama Asset Building Coalition
The United Way of Central Alabama is fiscal sponsor and lead agency for the coalition's $1.7 million Assets for Independence initiative for working families to open IDAs. These matched savings accounts accelerate earned income savings for first-time homeownership, post-secondary education, or small business capitalization. In only one year, 40 participants have opened IDA accounts, two families have purchased homes, and one person has paid for post-secondary education. The coalition offers financial literacy education as part of the IDA programs so people can make informed decisions when borrowing, spending, saving, or investing money. The coalition also provides free income tax assistance preparation to help accelerate IDA savings.
All local matching IDA funds are held in reserve until the qualifying asset or service is purchased and only then disbursed to the vendor. In addition, UWCA handles all the administrative responsibility. Banks may be eligible to receive CRA investment test credit by contributing matching funds and/or service test credit by holding the saver's account.
E-mail DeForrest Brown or call him at (205) 458-2056, or e-mail Shirley Worthington or call her at (205) 458-2073 for details on how to become involved.
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