Twenty years ago, the law establishing the CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) Fund was enacted. That same year, an associated conference convened for the first time; the CDFI Institute drew community development stakeholders from across the country to discuss issues important to economically distressed communities and populations.
To mark this important milestone, the CDFI Coalition has published a 20thAnniversary Report, highlighting the accomplishments and contributions of CDFIs across the country. The publication details the impact of CDFIs nationwide, offering both overview and specific information.
VCC, a CDFI Coalition member, is profiled in the report with a summary of our work since 2008 and a short feature on one of our current projects: conversion of the former Armstrong Elementary School into a 28-unit affordable housing development.
“The Armstrong Place project in Lynchburg offers a perfect example of the way CDFIs positively impact communities,” explains Monique Johnson, Senior Loan Officer at VCC and in charge of the Armstrong Place account. “A VCC loan combines with grant funds and tax credits to give a second life to this important historic structure while expanding housing opportunity, particularly for people with disabilities.”
Constructed in 1954, the exact year of the U.S. Supreme Court Brown vs. Topeka decision, the Armstrong Elementary School is a so-called “equalization school” built to stave off integration by offering “separate but equal” amenities for African American students. Operating as part of the Lynchburg School System from 1954 to 1977, the facility served as a private school for children with disabilities until 2002. Appreciating the past and potential of the building, Rush Lifetime Homes purchased it from the city and worked with VCC and other partners to proceed with a comprehensive adaptive retrofit last year.
Today, more than 800 certified CDFIs work in communities across the United States, including 492 loan funds, 177 credit unions, 176 bank holding companies, banks or thrifts, and 13 venture capital funds. In 2013, CDFI Fund grantees made over 24,000 loans or investments totaling almost $2 billion. This capital financed over 17,000 units of affordable housing, 6,500 businesses and created some 35,000 jobs.