July 28, 2017

New Enterprise Report Illustrates Section 4’s Powerful Impact in Communities Across the Country

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This week advocates and residents are rallying around the country for the Our Homes Our Voices National Housing Week of Action, highlighting the invaluable role of local housing and community development organizations in improving living conditions and local economies nationwide.

A key element in that crucial work are federal investments, which help local organizations preserve and create homes that are affordable for elderly, disabled and low-income working Americans. One piece of the puzzle is the Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Community Development program (Section 4), the only federal program that strengthens and builds the capacity of local housing and community development organizations. Enterprise’s new report Foundation for Success illustrates how Section 4 multiplies the impact of local efforts, targets community needs and – most importantly -- helps families succeed.

Through annual grants, the Section 4 program helps local organizations find new solutions to create affordable homes and healthy neighborhoods for families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. The Department of Housing and Urban Development administers Section 4 through large intermediary organizations, including Enterprise, that have a footprint in all parts of the country and are well-positioned to attract private capital to advance this work further. The intermediary organizations compete for funds directly from HUD, then award grants to local organizations through a competitive selection process. Section 4 provides critical investments in organizational systems, staff training and leadership development, and  predevelopment activities that are vital in the early stages of creating affordable housing. 

Enterprise CEO Terri Ludwig notes, “Strong community organizations are boots on the ground. They understand their communities and what it takes for families to thrive.” For over 30 years, Enterprise has been committed to the long-term success of community organizations, and the Section 4 Program is the most effective tool for creating the public-private partnerships necessary to make that happen. Section 4 leverages private capital to achieve greatest impact from minimal public resources. In fact, every dollar from Section 4 attracts more than twenty dollars in additional private and public capital, and the OMB and GAO both acknowledge Section 4 as a cost-effective program.

Since 2010, Enterprise’s Section 4 Program has provided $78 million in competitive grants and loans, which have leveraged over $11.1 billion in capital from other sources. These investments have supported 634 community development organizations, built or preserved over 61,000 homes, benefited more than 160,000 low-income Americans, and created 112,000 jobs in 42 states.

Coalfield Development in rural Wayne, West Virginia, is a powerful example of how a Section 4 grantee has used the funds to scale up its operations, build more affordable homes and revitalize communities. This social enterprise now employs 22 full-time staff in three counties and has built or rehabilitated 57 homes and created 35 new jobs. Coalfield’s CEO Brandon Dennison writes, “as one of the more innovative federal community development tools, the Section 4 program goes beyond traditional charity and spurs truly transformative projects in the most distressed corner of our country.” Coalfield Development continues to be a Section 4 partner, with a 2016 grant helping it manage its expansion and grow revenue through the creation of a long-term organizational plan that will also enable it to provide even more support to its community.

Enterprise is pleased to share Foundation for Success and highlight the achievements of our partners and the communities they serve thanks to Section 4 investments. In the report, you can learn more about the importance of capacity building, read case studies on how Section 4 grants have transformed community organizations, and view the full list of Enterprise’s 2016 Section 4 grantees.

For more information on how you can advocate for Section 4, see Enterprise’s blog post, which highlights our on-going advocacy efforts as well as action items.  

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