Housing Families First will use credit line to improve its campus to better serve clients
Borrower : Housing Families First
Where : Richmond, VA
Loan Amount : $250,000
Project Type : Line of Credit
Since 2001, Housing Families First has helped families experiencing homelessness obtain the tools and resources to find – and maintain – stable housing. Building Neighbors, one of three programs, is designed to place vulnerable families – living in any of Richmond’s family shelters or the streets – in safe, affordable, and permanent homes. Hilliard House, an on-site emergency shelter, is the largest for families in the Richmond region. Initially opened to house homeless women and their children, today it provides short-term safety and support for up to 10 families at a time, including single-parent, two-parent, and multi-generational households. The newest program, launched in 2018, is a prevention initiative in partnership with the regional Homeless Crisis Line, which helps families draw on their own resources to avoid homelessness altogether, when possible.
Families who participate in the housing programs meet regularly with case managers and a hosing navigator to work on individual plans to quickly find long-term, stable housing. Case managers connect families with additional benefits and resources, including job leads and training, so they can build essential financial and emotional skills to maintain their housing. Eighty-five percent of families referred to Housing Families First’s programs move into permanent housing. Most importantly, 89% don’t return to homelessness over the next year.
In late 2018, Housing Families First received one of the inaugural Bezos Day 1 Families Fund grants, which totaled $97.5 million awarded to 24 U.S. nonprofits fighting against family homelessness. The Richmond agency received $2.5 million, to be matched through a capital campaign to support a two-phase improvement project on its campus located at 3900 Nine Mile Road in Richmond. However, the organization wanted to leverage the grant to make immediate improvements that would help them better serve clients.
Housing Families First already had a business relationship with VCC, through a money market deposit account with the financial institution. VCC wanted to partner with the agency to help it continue to meet an important need in the community. A line of credit would provide financial flexibility to achieve some short-term operational improvements. Housing Families First deposited $250,000 of its grant money to serve as collateral.
The line of credit will support the first of the two-phase project. This work will include new furniture flooring, exterior and interior painting, and general site improvements.
The second phase, once the full funding is secured, will include expanding and renovating the current campus. Projected work will consist of updating the facility to offer families more trauma-informed shelter spaces, as well as adding much-needed staff offices, a multi-purpose room, and an additional ADA-compliant bedroom and bathroom. Additionally, the organization plans to replace the gutters and install new signage.
The line of credit strengthens the relationship between VCC and Housing Families First to support the shared mission of enhancing communities. VCC serves as an important partner in helping provide effective housing services and resources for underserved residents, including assisting them to gain new job skills and find stable employment. Updating the campus allows Housing Families First to better support their clients and contributes to the overall revitalization in the community, while also serving as a catalyst for future private investment.