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Building Stronger Communities: Businesses and Homelessness Solutions

In every thriving community, businesses play a vital role in economic growth, job creation, and local prosperity. But what happens when a community also faces the complex issue of homelessness? Collaboration between businesses, nonprofits, and local government is key to solving homelessness. Let’s look at some of the ways communities are collaborating to address the complex issue of homelessness.  

UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND ITS CAUSES

Before we dive into how businesses can make a difference, let’s first understand homelessness and its underlying causes. Homelessness is a multi-faceted issue that can affect anyone, regardless of their background. It’s often the result of a combination of factors. Understanding these factors is crucial to developing effective solutions that address the root causes of homelessness.¬†

We have been completing the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of individuals and families experiencing homelessness for fifteen years.  High-level takeaways for 2023:

  • #1 cause of homelessness reported: Lack of Affordable Housing
  • #1 need reported: Housing Placement
  • 14% are currently employed
  • 22% have been in the foster care system
  • Only 30% reported mental health struggles as a cause of homelessness
  • 54% stated domestic violence was a factor related to their experience

Complex Problems Require Comprehensive Solutions

One approach that has gained recognition for its effectiveness in addressing homelessness is connecting people to housing AND supportive services at the same time. Here are some benefits of housing with wrap around services: 

Businesses Investing in Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is a fundamental need that transcends political affiliations and ideologies. In various states across the country, businesses have stepped up to address the pressing issue of affordable housing. Their involvement demonstrates a shared commitment to creating stronger and more inclusive communities. Let’s explore how some businesses are making a difference:¬†

Homebuilders and real estate developers in states across the nation are actively engaged in affordable housing projects. These businesses collaborate with local governments, nonprofit organizations, and financial institutions to construct affordable housing units tailored to the unique needs of their communities.

Dominium: This national owner and developer is highly focused on affordable and workforce housing, particularly for households earning 60% of the area‚Äôs median income. In 2022, Dominium started 4,609 units and was ranked No. 11 on the NMHC‚Äôs Top 25 Developers list. One of their significant projects is Aviara Flats in Phoenix, which will provide 372 affordable housing units for families. They also partnered with April Housing, Blackstone‚Äôs affordable housing portfolio company, on another development in Phoenix called Casa Azure, which will create 196 affordable housing units for seniors. Additionally, Dominium has broken ground on Matlock Flats in Arlington, Texas, a 192-unit development that will serve low- and moderate-income families‚Äč‚Äč.¬†Learn more.

Banks and financial institutions have played a pivotal role in supporting affordable housing development. They provide essential financing options, such as loans, grants, or low-interest financing, which are essential for making affordable housing projects financially viable.

Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBank Indianapolis): FHLBank Indianapolis awarded $15.12 million in affordable housing grants to 32 developments in Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky through its 2023 Affordable Housing Program (AHP). These grants, which can reach up to $600,000 each, support the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of properties for use as affordable homes. More than 1,150 units of affordable housing will be created or rehabilitated as a result. The AHP grants are offered through a competitive application process, with local non-profits, economic development groups, or developers partnering with member financial institutions to submit applications. Notably, 94% of the awarded projects aim to stabilize neighborhoods through various means such as preservation, infill development, and blight elimination, and 67% of homeownership and 19% of rental projects awarded will serve low-income minority areas‚Äč‚Äč.¬†Learn more.

Many large corporations have recognized the importance of affordable housing for their communities. They invest in initiatives aimed at creating affordable housing options, contributing both funding and expertise.  

JPMorgan Chase: In 2022, JPMorgan Chase‚Äôs Community Development Banking deployed $4.4 billion in capital towards affordable housing. This investment is part of the firm‚Äôs $30 billion Racial Equity Commitment, which includes $14 billion specifically earmarked for the creation and preservation of affordable housing. Over the last two decades, JPMorgan Chase has provided more than $2 billion in direct financing to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). They also have a Community Impact Investing group that lends to CDFIs at below-market rates. Additionally, JPMorgan Chase works with tax-oriented investment Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity partners, Fannie Mae¬ģ, Freddie Mac, and other groups to service not just housing, but other community needs, including education and job training. They have recently launched a Capital Solutions business focused on housing for essential workers, teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses, and others who fall in the 60% to 100% area median income (AMI) bracket‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč.¬†Learn more.¬†

Key Takeaways

Homelessness is a complex issue, but with understanding, empathy, and collaboration, we can work together to make a positive difference. Businesses have a unique opportunity to contribute to evidence-based solutions that address homelessness while strengthening the fabric of our communities. Let’s build a future where everyone has a place to call home, and our businesses thrive in a more prosperous and compassionate society.¬†

  • Collaborate Across Sectors: Partner with non-profits and local governments to create innovative solutions for homelessness. Together, we can achieve more!
  • Invest in Affordable Housing: Actively participate in building and financing affordable housing projects. Every unit counts towards a more inclusive community.
  • Support Comprehensive Solutions: Provide more than just a roof. Support initiatives that combine stable housing with healthcare, mental health services, and job training for a holistic approach.
  • Partner with Financial Institutions: Banks and financial institutions are key players. Offer loans, grants, and low-interest financing to make affordable housing projects feasible and effective.
  • Commit to Community Development: Investing in homelessness solutions is investing in our community’s future. Strong, inclusive communities lead to sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all.
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