Two nonprofits to receive grants to boost affordable housing

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Two Rochester nonprofits that lend a hand with homeownership and building community are slated to receive grants from Enterprise Community Partners. 

City Roots Community Land Trust and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Rochester will get individual grants that range from $200,000 to $400,000. These funds aim to support initiatives to uproot barriers to fair, equitable, and healthy housing stemming from historic and systemic racism in communities. 

A national nonprofit, Enterprise works to address the affordable housing crisis. The organization supports local agencies, advocates for policy, invests capital to build and preserve affordable rental homes, and operates and provides resident services for affordable communities. Enterprise has built and preserved 793,000 homes and invested $61 billion in communities through its history. 

Through its Call for Ideas Program, Enterprise will give a total of $2.9 million to 10 agencies statewide. Other recipients include nonprofits in Brooklyn, New York City, Poughkeepsie and Syracuse.

“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,” says Elizabeth Zeldin, senior program director of 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.”

City Roots Community Land Trust, which works to establish and promote permanently affordable, equitable housing in Rochester, 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 nonprofit’s 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’s Home Asset Protection Initiative aims to assist those who are unable or unwilling to obtain a traditional mortgage but have found other means of purchasing a home. 

“We are thrilled to spearhead this initiative to address this important gap in our community,” says Chad Rieflin, director of programs and grants at CCCS Rochester. “Through the protections offered by HAPI, we know that homebuyers will secure their assets and maintain stable housing for years to come.”

The funded programs are already underway. The nonprofits will continue to build out and implement their programs through 2022. 

Nationally, there is a shortage of more than 7 million affordable homes for extremely low-income families, according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. There is no state or county, the organization asserts, where a renter working full-time at minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom apartment. 

New York has 964,088 extremely low-income households with 354,863 affordable and available rental homes. Renter households spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs and utilities, NLIHC reports.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor.

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