Community Connections
Housing Development
 
Often marketplace landlords and developers are wary of housing persons with disabilities. In response to difficulties finding and keeping housing for our consumers, we began to create housing options for consumers. For the past twenty years, Community Connections has developed a range of housing options; today we own and operate over 50 properties. Many people ask us how we found financing sources for these acquisitions. Here we list several options for non-profits to explore.
  1. Federal funding: The Department of Housing and Urban Development has sponsored several rounds of housing funding through its Stewart B. McKinney Program. This grant program, called SHP, is now combined with several other initiatives to for the annual Super Nova. The Super Nova is a national program and requires local jurisdictions to develop a Continuum of Care Plan, which is a strategic plan for developing special needs housing. Non-profits and faith-based organizations may apply for HOPWA, SHP, and Section Eight all under the Super Nova process. Agencies must coordinate applications at the local level and conform to the needs of the continuum of care. For more information, contact HUD.

  2. Section 8 Mainstream Housing for Persons with Disabilities: The housing voucher program now accepts applications from non profit social service agencies to apply for Section 8 vouchers. The awards are selected by lottery from a pool of qualified applications. Once approved, the social service agency becomes a housing authority. The pool of vouchers is intended for persons with disabilities specifically.
  3. Nonprofit Capital LLC offers bond financing to non profits that qualify. To obtain more information on this process, contact them at 203-359-5809.

  4. Banks are required to use some of their resources for community purposes. These community reinvestment funds can often be used as a match for other local funding. Contact your local area banks to understand how they use these funds.

  5. There are several other sources of low interest financing for non profits. The Low Income Housing Fund, headquartered in San Francisco, provides loans at below market interest rates. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is another national organization that provides both grants and loans to develop low income housing.

  6. The Fannie Mae Foundation also sponsors and encourages the development of creative housing solutions. There are both regional offices of Fannie Mae and a District of Columbia office. Fannie Mae has a series of packages for group homes, first time homebuyers and other unique housing opportunities. They also accept grant applications.

  7. Local foundations may also be willing to give grants or loans for the development of special needs housing. Contact your local grant makers or link here to the Foundation Center in Washington, DC. This clearinghouse has information and resources to help you get started on the foundation appeal.

  8. In the District of Columbia a local financial intermediary, Cornerstone, was created to provide seed money and finance packages for non profits that are developing housing for the mentally ill. Cornerstone's mission is to link service providers with banks, funding sources, and to provide low interest loans and rehabilitation money to projects that agree to provide housing for the mentally ill for a period of years. The Cornerstone concept may be of interest to a local jurisdiction. Write them at 1828 Jefferson Place, NW Washington, DC 20006 for further information.

  9. The Technical Assistance Collaborative (TACINC.org) is another useful resource for housing development. This group has provided technical assistance in states nationwide to create new opportunities in housing for social service groups and local departments serving the mentally ill. 
See Employment for current opportunities to join the staff at Community Connections.
 
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