Last fall, we pointed out key areas of the country that JP Morgan Chase has targeted with its affordable housing philanthropy and the impressive size of these grants. Well, that was just the tip of the iceberg, because the bank funder has teamed up with the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), a national nonprofit, to invest $6 million in the nation’s most distressed communities.
According to LIIF press release, Equity with a Twist (EQT) is the latest and greatest way to invest in social change where it’s needed most. Basically, it’s a $6 million capital pool that will provide flexible and low-cost financing to address issues of poverty. Two million dollars will fund pilot programs in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New Orleans, providing up to 10 years of financing with a high social return and a modest financial return for investors. The initial focal points of this collaboration are mixed-income housing, K-12 education, and early childhood education.
JP Morgan Chase and LIIF just announced its first investment recipients, two of which are targeted at affordable housing in San Francisco and Los Angeles. BRIDGE Housing has locations in both cities, and the group plans to use this pilot money to support the Portero Terrace & Annex in San Francisco and Jordan Downs in Los Angeles. These buildings are now little more than dilapidated public housing units, but the goal is to transform them into mixed-income communities with ample programs and services.
BRIDGE is a huge affordable housing developer in California, and projected programs are expected to target all age groups from infants to seniors. Since 1983, BRIDGE has developed more than 16,000 homes, providing 40,000 people with a place to live. The projects in both cities are expected to kick off in 2016 without much delay.
“Local leaders need flexible tools they can tailor to meet the needs of their individual neighborhoods and adapt to complex challenges,” said Janis Bowdler, who heads community development and small business initiatives for JPMorgan Chase Foundation. “JPMorgan Chase is proud to work side‐by‐side with local change agents such as LIIF, BRIDGE Housing, and Bayou District Foundation who are at the forefront of testing new approaches to helping communities expand inclusive economic growth.”
The other city on Chase and LIIF’s radar is New Orleans, where the city’s $2 million share will fund the revitalization of Columbia Park. Redevelopment plans include mixed-income housing, a clinic, and schools for early childhood education and a K-8 charter school.
In recent history, affordable housing funding at Chase has been closely linked to job creation, healthy food networks, and boosting businesses to stimulate the economy. However, this new commitment cuts straight to the heart of inner-city poverty by revamping public housing units that create a cycle of low-income living.
If your L.A. or Bay Area organization is interested in learning more about EQT or applying for financing, contact Rachel Bluestein, LIIF’s VP of strategic initiatives and programs at firstname.lastname@example.org.