Mercy Loan Fund and POAH partner to preserve affordable housing in Massachusetts

Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and Mercy Loan Fund (MLF) have partnered to preserve Central Annex / Union Court Apartments, a 101-unit affordable housing development for the elderly and those with special needs in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A $2.4 million loan from MLF will allow POAH to maintain the physical asset of the property and ensure the long-term affordability and viability of the property for the future.

POAH is based in Boston and was created in 2001 and is dedicated to the acquisition, long-term ownership, and operation of existing affordable housing properties. MLF, a subsidiary of the national affordable housing organization Mercy Housing, provides financing to hundreds of local nonprofit organizations, enabling them to build or preserve affordable housing in their communities.

The financing for Central Annex / Union Court provides socially motivated capital for economically strong affordable housing projects that, due to their regulatory structures, do not fit the collateral standards of typical financing providers.

“The financial tools available to an owner of affordable housing wishing to preserve its property as affordable are limited,” said Amy Anthony, president of POAH. “Double bottom-line lenders such as Mercy Loan Fund, with missions similar to our own, understand the affordable housing business. As a result they can provide a capital source with favorable terms – which benefits us, the residents, the community and the state.

“Central Annex / Union Court Apartments were originally developed with significant public funding and these properties represent irreplaceable existing investments. This is a great example of how state government can encourage a socially-motivated capital provider to join the effort to preserve much needed affordable housing,” said Anthony.

The Central Annex building was formerly Central High School of Pittsfield built in 1896 and the Union Court building was a hotel built in 1930. After being listed on both state and national historic registers, the two buildings were “joined” and converted to 101 units of affordable housing in 1980 and have been operating as one project since that time. Before POAH purchased the Property in 2007, the buildings were beginning to suffer from deferred maintenance and general inattention.  The property has historically maintained a waiting list of income-eligible seniors and those with special needs. Most of the residents survive on income from Social Security, with an average income of $12,223 – well below 30% of Area Median Income.

Central Annex / Union Court Apartments also feature resident services to ensure that the residents are able to maintain their housing stability, build on their financial, social and emotional assets, and have the opportunity to be contributing members and leaders in their neighborhood and community. Residents are connected with the community supportive services they need to continue to live safely and independently in their apartments.

“This financing represents an important collaboration between two preservation-minded non-profits,” said Julie Gould, president of MLF. “Sound business opportunities do not always fit established molds. That’s why Mercy Loan Fund is so proud to be able to provide flexible financing to organizations like POAH. Doing so enables us to fulfill our commitment to supporting and improving communities and helping to preserve much-needed housing that otherwise would not be eligible for financing.”

About Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)

Preservation of Affordable Housing, based in Boston, is a mission-driven, entrepreneurial nonprofit committed to preserving affordable housing resources throughout the United States. POAH acquires, preserves and stewards these resources with creative financial restructurings, physical rehabilitation or redevelopment and long-term management. POAH owns close to 8,000 apartments in nine states and the District of Columbia, serving the working poor, families, individuals, and seniors. For more information about POAH, please visit www.poah.org.

About Mercy Loan Fund

Mercy Loan Fund, a subsidiary of the national affordable housing organization Mercy Housing, provides financing to hundreds of local nonprofit organizations, enabling them to build or preserve affordable housing in their communities. Since 1985, the organization has made 439 loans in 37 states totaling $221 million, resulting in 18,200 affordable homes for over 50,100 residents. These loans have leveraged more than $1.5 billion in total development funding. Mercy Loan Fund is certified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Mercy Loan Fund was formed with the goal of supporting the mission of Mercy Housing by making loans for affordable housing developments when conventional financing is not possible or affordable. For information about Mercy Loan Fund, please visit www.mercyloanfund.org or www.mercyhousing.org.

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