Enterprise Community Partners Announces $2.9 Million in Grants to 10 New York State Housing Not-For-Profits through Its Call for Ideas Program
The funding will support these organizations’ innovative initiatives to uproot barriers to fair, equitable, and healthy housing stemming from historic and systemic racism
NEW YORK - (August 2, 2021) – Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) today announced $2.9 million total in grants to 10 New York State housing not-for-profits as part of its Call for Ideas Program. The recipients include Asian Americans for Equality (New York City), Brownsville Partnership (Brooklyn), Chester Agricultural Center (Chester), City Roots Community Land Trust (Rochester), Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Rochester (Rochester), Fifth Avenue Committee (Brooklyn), Flatbush Development Corporation (Brooklyn), Home HeadQuarters (Syracuse), Hudson River Housing (Poughkeepsie), and New York Mortgage Coalition (New York City). The individual grants, ranging from $200,000 to $400,000, will support each organization’s innovative initiatives to uproot barriers to fair, equitable, and healthy housing stemming from historic and systemic racism in their respective communities.
“From equipping local real estate developers of color with training and mentorship to improving health outcomes through housing improvements, New York State nonprofits are working diligently and creatively to fill community gaps caused by decades of systemic racism and discrimination,” said Elizabeth Zeldin, Senior Program Director, Neighborhood Impact, New York, at Enterprise Community Partners. “Funding these organizations to develop their own unique and locally grounded innovations is vital to the strength and resilience of New York’s communities, and it's a privilege for Enterprise to be able to support these diverse ideas and learn alongside our partner organizations.”
The 10 New York State housing not-for-profit grant recipients have developed a diverse array of programs targeting housing inequities in their communities. These include:
- Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) is leading a design process for a “pandemic-resilient” housing prototype replicable for new and existing affordable housing. This innovation addresses the health impacts faced by low-income minority families who are frequently forced to crowd into unsafe dwelling units with no ability to social distance.
“The pandemic laid bare a reality widely understood in our community but overlooked in affordable housing development: many low-income residents in New York City have no choice but to crowd into unsafe apartments and illegal accessory dwelling units with extended family and other tenants,” said Thomas Yu, co-executive director of AAFE. “During Covid-19, their lives were put at greater risk because they had no ability to social distance. This innovation will enable AAFE and our design partners to develop a model for flexible apartments that can grow or contract as family size changes. With Enterprise’s generous support, we are excited about the prospect of creating life-saving pandemic resilient housing.”
- The Brownsville Partnership is developing their Community Action for Healthy Homes (CAHH) project, which involves surveying for unhealthy housing conditions and conducting rapid repairs—with a strong commitment to “no survey without service”—and engaging local partners, property owners, and tenants in the process.
Ben Wise, The Brownsville Partnership Board Chair, said, "Now more than ever, people need homes that are safe and healthy places to live, raise their children, support their families, and thrive. The Brownsville Partnership is excited to collaborate with Enterprise Community Partners to implement and scale Community Action for Healthy Homes, a system to identify and rapidly repair the issues in homes that make the largest impact on the health and safety of Brownsville residents"
- Chester Agricultural Center is supporting feasibility studies, stakeholder and community input processes, and pre-development activities for a Farmer Housing Pilot development slated for Orange County, New York. The pilot development will be informed by farmers and farmworkers of color with firsthand experience with housing insecurity.
Lucinda Poindexter, Executive Director, Chester Agricultural Center, said, “There is a severe lack of housing options available to farmers and farmworkers in our region in New York State, and our most crucial workers, largely made up of people of color and immigrants, are forced to settle for unsafe and unhealthy living conditions. Chester Agricultural Center is very excited to be working with Enterprise, and this grant will allow us to create a model for seasonal and year-round, affordable housing so that farmers and farm workers can build a stable future.”
- City Roots Community Land Trust is advancing a model for transferring distressed housing into the hands of community members and organizations concerned with the long-term stewardship of land and housing. The model involves real estate acquisition (seven properties), criteria building for identifying, acquiring, and rehabilitating distressed buildings containing 10 or more units, and a feasibility assessment for limited-equity co-ops and lasting affordability broadly.
- Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Rochester is establishing the Home Asset Protection Initiative (HAPI), designed to assist those who are unable or unwilling to obtain a traditional mortgage but have found other means of purchasing a home. Securing a significant asset like a home undergirds families with equity for the future and a means to financial security.
Chad Rieflin, Director of Programs & Grants, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Rochester, said, “We are thrilled to spearhead this initiative to address this important gap in our community. Through the protections offered by HAPI, we know that homebuyers will secure their assets and maintain stable housing for years to come.”
- Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) is piloting a Solar Green New Deal (GND) to provide education, financial assistance, and other incentives to New York City residents to ensure more equitable access to the benefits of solar and inform relevant public policy. Incentives include lowering maintenance costs, extending affordability, and offering paid on-the-job training in solar installation.
"FAC is excited to expand accessibility to the benefits of solar to low- and moderate-income homeowners, leveraging that investment to also train the local residents in the expanding green jobs sector, all while helping to reduce GHG (greenhouse gases)! We are grateful to Enterprise for this critical support," said Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director, Fifth Avenue Committee.
- Flatbush Development Corporation is developing and implementing the Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP), which aims to address the systemic confluence of racial, disability, and other protected class discrimination by supporting tenants in three key ways: training clients to become Peer Advocates, deploying Advocates to assist clients in matters relating to housing discrimination, and tracking, mapping, and sharing housing discrimination trends with partners locally.
"Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC) is so honored to have been selected as a grantee for Enterprise's New York State Call for Ideas. This opportunity has created the space for us to focus on and more fully explore and develop this timely idea we have been dreaming about bringing to fruition for some time. The need is great: over 95% of our housing clients are low-income and of color, almost all belong to a protected class. With the support of Enterprise, we are able to realize this ambitious project and not only ensure equity in the housing discrimination grievance process, but facilitate the development of a cadre of peer advocates, while creating a much-needed and powerful data set and source. We strongly believe these "three pillars" of FDC"s Tenant Advocacy Project will make a tangible impact on the movement to remove longstanding barriers and disrupt systematic discrimination -- an enormous step toward ensuring stable and secure housing for our community," said Sally Bowman, Deputy Director of FDC.
- Home HeadQuarters is establishing The Syracuse Equity Fund, aimed at expanding the organization’s capacity to provide home equity loans and second mortgages to predominately minority homeowners in formerly redlined neighborhoods in the City of Syracuse. Private investments will lead to increased property values and spur action from traditional lenders.
“It is liberating to be able to respond to the capital needs of homeowners in distressed neighborhoods without being constrained by marginalized appraised values. This initiative has permitted Home HeadQuarters to provide much-needed loan funds for urgent repairs, such as a roof or furnace, as well as repairs that make the home more functional and comfortable to the family, such as adding a family room or modernizing a kitchen or a bathroom,” said Kerry Quaglia, Chief Executive Officer of Home HeadQuarters.
- Hudson River Housing (HRH) is deploying its grant for its Equitable Access Initiative, aimed at providing crucial training, mentoring, and capital to emerging real estate developers of color with long-lasting ties in their communities. The program will address systemic challenges which limit the participation of people of color in the real estate development industry and support developers of color to expand their capacity to take on housing development projects.
Javier Gomez, Program Coordinator, Hudson River Housing, said, "At HRH, we recognize the historical lack of access to the real estate development industry for those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and we are committed to using our extensive experience, network, and resources to provide access to opportunities for local BIPOC interested and invested in growing as affordable housing real estate developers."
- New York Mortgage Coalition is implementing its “Appraising a Brighter, Fairer Future” program to combat housing appraisal bias and increase wealth in the minority community by removing barriers to BIPOC individuals joining the appraisal profession to create a more diverse workforce that will result in fairer appraisals in minority/majority neighborhoods. Working with Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, NYMC will raise awareness of the profession, diversify talent recruitment and training, and provide mentorships and scholarships in an effort to create generational wealth and raise the standard of living for underemployed residents of NYC. The New York Mortgage Coalition’s program was inspired by, and is collaborating with, the Appraiser Diversity Initiative, sponsored by Fannie Mae, the National Urban League, and the Appraisal Institute.
“The New York Mortgage Coalition was concerned about appraisal bias long before the issue began receiving national attention,” said Rebecca Senn, NYMC Executive Director. “Being chosen by Enterprise Community Partners as one of the awardees for this grant will allow us to launch this program which we hope will become a national model.”
All of the programs funded are currently underway. The community-based organizations will continue to build out and implement their programs through 2022.
As part of the Call for Ideas program, Enterprise will be hosting webinars as the community innovations advance and participants are able to share best practices and lessons learned. Interested webinar participants can contact Lydia Tom, for information about upcoming sessions.
About Enterprise Community Partners
Enterprise is a national nonprofit on a mission to make home and community places of pride, power and belonging for all. To make that possible, we operate the only organization designed to address America's affordable housing crisis from every angle: we develop and deploy programs and support community organizations on the ground; we advocate for policy on a nonpartisan basis at every level of government; we invest capital to build and preserve rental homes people can afford; and we own, operate and provide resident services for affordable communities. All so that people not only make rent, they build futures. With this end-to-end approach, 40 years of experience and thousands of local partners, Enterprise has built and preserved 793,000 homes, invested $61 billion in communities and changed millions of lives.