Better Housing Coalition Expands Workforce Housing Development Capacity with Mercy Loan Fund

Move expands on long term partnerships

(RICHMOND, VA) — Building on over a decade of partnership, Better Housing Coalition’s expansion of single family home construction for low income homeowners will be financed by Mercy Loan Fund (MLF). With this new funding, more than 35 individuals and families making 80% of the Area Median Income ($60,500 for a family of four) or less will be able to purchase their first homes—and many of them will be the first in their families to do so. Support from Capital One and the Bon Secours Health System helped MLF finance the expansion.

“Owning a home is still a goal for many renters, but nonprofits like the Better Housing Coalition make it possible for low income people by helping them find sustainable financing and offering training in the responsibilities of homeownership,” said Julie Gould, president of Mercy Loan Fund. “Given the need for workforce housing in Richmond, we are pleased to support the Better Housing Coalition’s increased developer capacity.”

BHC is a non-profit organization that develops and rehabilitates affordable housing properties for homeownership and rental opportunities in Richmond. They also work to provide social services to the residents, including youth services, financial education, vocational training and a variety of health services for seniors. BHC’s high quality, eco-friendly housing transforms neighborhoods, increasing community investment and reducing crime and blight.

David Herring, BHC’s Director of Single Family Development, introduced us to recent BHC homebuyer Kenya Wheeler, saying “Kenya is part of an entirely new group of diverse residents moving into the Blackwell neighborhood, taking it from its previous life as former public housing site, and transforming it into a thriving, vital neighborhood where families once again call it home.”

Kenya is one of the thousands of disabled veterans whose fear of predatory lending made her shy away from home ownership. When she saw promotional materials from the Better Housing Coalition offering down payment assistance and grant funding, it sounded too good to be true. “After working with home buying counselors from BHC and Housing Opportunities Made Equal, I realized how authentic BHC was,” said the Army veteran. “They wanted to set me up for success and were always a phone call away.” Wheeler fell in love with a new bungalow with a first-floor master bedroom that BHC built on E. 12th Street. A resident since August 2012, she enjoys being part of a growing community of BHC homeowners. So far, Wheeler’s energy bills are low and maintenance is easy. Best of all, her mortgage is $100 less per month than her former rent on her two-bedroom apartment. Having served her country, Wheeler now serves as a volunteer social worker with her church, and she has applied to become a foster parent. “Living here is like living in any suburban neighborhood,” she says. “I am blessed to be able to give another child a good home.”

The original partnership between Bon Secours Health System, the Better Housing Coalition, and Mercy Loan Fund is still going strong. Mercy Loan Fund has provided over $1.3 million of financing to BHC, which has led to the development of thirty-seven single family homes for low-income families in Richmond. BHC has used the funds to revitalize the Blackwell and Church Hill neighborhoods, using land and community support from Bon Secours, who sees the revitalization as a key part of their mission to increase health and wholeness in the area their hospitals serve. “We are so pleased that BHC and Mercy Loan Fund are expanding on their initial partnership,” said Rich Statuto, President and CEO of Bon Secours Health System. “Healthy neighborhoods are key to healthy people, and we eagerly anticipate the great changes that BHC will be able to undertake with expanded financing from Mercy Loan Fund.”

“We recognize that our communities are stronger when people have quality affordable housing that is sustainable for them over the long term,” said Mariadele Priest, Vice President of Community Development Banking at Capital One. “Whether through our lending and investments, or partnerships with local and national organizations providing critical housing services, we are committed to helping more people access safe, affordable places to live.”

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 454 loans in 38 states totaling $245 million, resulting in 19,400 affordable homes for over 52,200 residents. These loans have leveraged more than $1.7 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.

About The Better Housing Coalition
Founded in 1987, the Better Housing Coalition, a not-for-profit community development corporation, has been revitalizing the Blackwell neighborhood in Richmond, Va., since 2008. The organization has completed all 40 homes in the Blackwell neighborhood of historic Manchester, one of Richmond’s oldest neighborhoods that was actually a separate city until annexed into the City of Richmond in 1910. All the homes in Blackwell have been designed in keeping with the architectural heritage of area and have features that maintain the neighborhood character. Designed by Watershed Architects, these homes are designated for low-to-moderate-income first-time buyers and are EarthCraft-certified for energy efficiency to curb utility and maintenance expenses. New Home Photos

About Bon Secours Health System
Bon Secours Health System, Inc. based in Marriottsville, Maryland, is a $3.4 billion dollar not-for-profit Catholic health system that owns, manages or joint ventures 19 acute care, 5 long term care, 4 assisted living, 6 retirement communities/senior housing, 14 home care and hospice services, and other facilities, primarily on the East Coast. Bon Secours Health System consists of more than 23,000 caregivers helping people in six states. Its vision is to be a prophetic Catholic health ministry partnering with communities to create a more humane world, build health and social justice and provide exceptional value for those served.

About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, is a Fortune 500 company with more than 900 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Its subsidiaries, which include
Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Capital One applies the same principles of innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. Capital One recognizes that helping to build strong and healthy communities – good places to work, good places to do business and good places to raise families – benefits us all and Capital One is proud to support this and other community initiatives. www.capitaloneinvestingforgood.com

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