The Lincoln Community Foundation (LCF) recently awarded $850,000 in grants from its Affordable Housing Fund to seven organizations working to create and preserve affordable housing. These organizations include Community Development Resources, Family Service Lincoln, Habitat for Humanity Lincoln/Lancaster County, Lincoln Housing Authority, Nebraska Housing Resource, NeighborWorks Lincoln and South of Downtown Community Development Organization.
“Housing that is affordable leads to healthier and more stable families and neighborhoods and promotes economic mobility,” said LCF President/CEO, Alec Gorynski. “These grants serve as a demonstration of all the ways in which grant funding can support access to affordable housing.”
The City of Lincoln’s Affordable Housing Coordinated Action Plan calls for the addition of 5,000 rental units and 4,000 ownership options of affordable housing by 2030. Recognizing the complexity and significance of the program, affordable housing was identified as a focus in the Prosper Lincoln community agenda.
In alignment with this priority, LCF created and seeded an Affordable Housing Fund with the purpose of supporting the development of affordable housing to include the purchase, renovation, and construction of single-family and multi-family, rental and owner occupied, housing that is affordable for low-, moderate-, and middle-income families in Lincoln. Housing is defined as affordable when the annual housing cost does not exceed 30% of a family's annual income.
Eleven local banks also contributed to the Affordable Housing Fund including Cornhusker Bank, Exchange Bank, FNBO, Five Points Bank, Frontier Bank, First Interstate Bank, i3 Bank. Pinnacle Bank, Security First Bank, Union Bank & Trust, US Bank and West Gate Bank.
Locally, for-profit, and nonprofit housing developers are working to create and preserve quality affordable housing for the community. In order to keep rental and mortgage payments at a level affordable for low-, moderate-, and middle-income families, various forms of subsidy are required, including government funds, philanthropic grants, and low-interest loans.
The organizations that received grants from the Affordable Housing Fund support a wide array of housing types, including single-family owner occupied housing and multi-family rental. The grants are being used in a variety of ways such as funding a portion of development costs, property acquisition costs, down payment assistance, and funding for loan funds to, in turn, provide financing for housing development.
Community Development Resources (CDR) is a local Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). In 2021, CDR expanded its mission to include affordable housing lending in the city of Lincoln. LCF funds will support a loan/loss reserve for capital pools that will be used for construction of multi-family affordable housing. The target population for these multi-family units are households at 60%-80% of AMI, and they hope to generate sufficient capital to build 50 units of housing per year.
Family Service Lincoln has been working in Lincoln for more than 100 years. In a new venture, they are developing the block bounded by 51st and Holdrege Streets into FiftyOne Commons, a project that will include a neighborhood center, 10 row-style homes, a community garden and green space. LCF’s grant will support the construction of the row-style homes which will be owned by Family Service Lincoln and leased to low-income renters, with a focus on immigrant and refugee households.
Habitat for Humanity Lincoln/Lancaster County has built or repaired nearly 200 homes in Lancaster and Seward Counties since the local chapter was founded 1988. Habitat for Humanity will provide down payment assistance and closing costs to buyers of their homes with this LCF grant. This assistance fills the gap between the cost to construct or rehabilitate the home and the amount of mortgage for which the buyer qualifies. Habitat homes prioritize buyers who earn 30%-80% of AMI and they anticipate closing on six homes through 2024.
Lincoln Housing Authority (LHA) is a governmental entity established under state law with a mission to provide affordable housing to the residents of Lincoln. They currently own and/or manage 1,400 units of rental housing and administer programs for tenants and homeowners. This LCF grant will support construction of the Emerald View Apartments at South Folsom Street and West Old Cheney Road in west Lincoln. The project will contain 64 units of multi-family housing. Their target population is 60% AMI for this new development.
Nebraska Housing Resource (NHR) assists home buyers with down payment assistance and provides funding for builders and developers creating local affordable housing. Funds granted from LCF will help capitalize NHR’s Middle Income Workforce Housing new construction revolving loan program for builders. This program will be ongoing and is anticipated to provide construction loans for five single-family homes annually within their target population of households earning less than 150% AMI.
NeighborWorks Lincoln (NWL) is a community housing development organization that actively partners locally to increase the supply of affordable housing and strengthen neighborhoods. Funding from LCF will create a sales loss reserve fund, a Community Land Trust (CLT) property tax bridge fund, and a CLT affordable home preservation fund. CLTs preserve investments and create permanent affordable housing in the community. NWL’s projects target households at less than 80% AMI, and they anticipate creating or rehabilitating at least 25 units of affordable housing with this grant.
The South of Downtown Community Development Organization focuses on affordable housing and redevelopment work in the neighborhoods south of downtown in Lincoln. LCF’s grant will fund acquisition, pre-development and development expenses for “troubled properties” in the South of Downtown neighborhoods. Housing in this area will be purchased and rehabilitated to a safe and quality standard, and the affordability of the property will be maintained for current and future tenants.
Lincoln Community Foundation, established in 1955, provides leadership and tools that connect donor generosity to local needs and passions. The Foundation has distributed more than $230 million in grants to nonprofit organizations that have improved the lives of thousands of residents.