GHF Expands Lending to Anderson and Spartanburg Counties
GREENVILLE, SC – October 25, 2011 –Buying a house, starting a small business, or going to college are all dreams that Greenville Housing Fund (GHF) strives to make a reality in the lives of the hardworking families in the Upstate of South Carolina. GHF is a local non-profit committed to building people and places to stabilize families, neighborhoods, and communities.
The US Treasury Department has recently designated GHF as the first Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in the Upstate which will further enable GHF to provide local solutions for local people to achieve financial stability. GHF currently operates in Greenville County and will be expanding to Anderson and Spartanburg Counties.
CDFIs are financial institutions that invest in low- to moderate- income communities that are typically underserved by the traditional financial institutions. In this economic climate, there is an increasing unmet need in distressed communities for financial products and services to help hard-working individuals and businesses. CDFIs such as GHF help fund low-wealth individuals, small businesses, affordable housing projects, and community facilities through low-interest loans, financial education, and other financial services. CDFIs have financed more than 60,000 affordable housing units and created approximately 35,000 jobs across the nation.
It is often difficult for traditional banks and lenders to provide direct services in distressed communities due to the higher financial risk. Banks are motivated to partner with CDFIs to fulfill their community obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act, which requires banks to lend to all segments of the area. For example, South Carolina Bank and Trust and First Citizens Bank have already invested in GHF to increase the affordable housing opportunities and financial stability of local families. With these investments, GHF will be able to offer its programs and services into other counties, including Anderson and Spartanburg.
The mission driven work of GHF means that they not only provide financial services to traditionally under banked individuals but they also partner with them on an individual level to promote financial independence equipping them with the financial knowledge and skills to succeed. GHF currently administers the United Way of Greenville County’s Individual Development Account (IDA) Program which is matched savings account to help low-wealth families build savings and purchase assets.
The Greenville IDA program embodies the mission of CDFIs as it targets financially underserved populations and focuses on developing neighborhoods to encourage goal setting, money management skills, and overall financial independence. Many of the IDA participants have never opened a bank account before or need help building their credit. Currently, there are 81 IDA participants enrolled in the program with 43 participants saving for homes, 28 saving for education, and 10 saving for small businesses. Through the program, one IDA participant was recently able to graduate with a Master’s Degree and another is currently completing his first year at Clemson University.
GHF has already been able to assist more than 340 households achieve their dreams of financial stability and provided $40 million in local economic development. Now as a certified CDFI, GHF will have an increased capacity to support these programs and community development initiatives, such as its partnership with local nonprofit developer Allen Temple Community Economic Development Corporation (CEDC). GHF was able to provide a low-interest Bridge Loan of $86,000 for the purchase of land to be used for the development of six affordable rental units for the Randolph Commons project. Once a vacant lot that served as the neighborhood dump, Randolph Commons is being transformed into beautiful homes for several local families.
Charlie Warth, Executive Director of Allen Temple CEDC, commented, “This financing made a huge difference in the success of our project, and we are grateful for the meaningful partnership that GHF has provided!”
GHF would not have been able to achieve the competitive CDFI certification without the invaluable support from the City of Greenville, Greenville County Redevelopment Authority, the Hollingsworth Fund, and the United Way of Greenville.
We are proud to be a partner with GHF throughout its short and productive history. The CDFI certification requires a minimum three-year history of success so this is especially significant since they have only been in existence for three years. We look forward to working with GHF to use these new resources to improve our community,” says Ginny Stroud, Community Development Administrator, City of Greenville.
In recognition of the impact CDFIs are having across the nation, the Starbucks Corporation has joined the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) to support CDFIs in their efforts to create and sustain jobs in underserved communities. Starbucks has already contributed $5 million to kick off the initiative and will begin to collect donations to provide funding for CDFIs. A $5 donation will provide $35 worth of financing to small businesses. GHF is proud to be a member of OFN and the CDFI industry.
To learn more about how GHF is making an impact in the lives of local families and communities, please visit www.greenvillehousingfund.org.
About Greenville Housing Fund (GHF)
GHF is non-profit organization established in 2008 to promote affordable housing and community development as a critical vehicle for fostering stable families and healthy communities in the Upstate of South Carolina. GHF strives to impact the quality of life of local residents and nurture livable communities through our partnerships with individuals and organization to provide affordable housing, education, and employment opportunities. GHF offers a variety of assistance programs including: Down Payment Assistance for first time homebuyers, Bridge Loans to local developers for the production of additional affordable housing, and IDA accounts for people interested in buying their first home, attending college, or starting their own business. Major funding support for GHF includes contributions from the City of Greenville, Greenville County Redevelopment Authority, the Hollingsworth Fund, and the United Way of Greenville County.