Mercy Community Capital’s First Loan in Puerto Rico

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release:  September 9, 2020

Contact:  Kate Peterson | 303.830.3443 |  kpeterson@mercyhousing.org

With a $685K predevelopment loan, Mercy Community Capital will finance Villa Pacifica, affordable homes for families in Mayaguez.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—Torrado Development (Torrado) will help develop 43 single-family homes for participants in the ‘Community Development Block Grant—Disaster Recovery’ program with the help of Mercy Community Capital (MCC). The program targets homeowners that have suffered damage to their homes from weather-related disasters. MCC is a leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in the U.S., and this predevelopment loan marks its first in Puerto Rico.

The future residents will be housed through vouchers granted to residents to purchase an existing home or buy a newly built home due to the damage their home received from previous storms or because their current location is in a flood zone. Program recipients that are relocating to new homes under the Home Repair, Reconstruction or Relocation Program known as “R3.” R3 is a greatly needed program that will help relocate more than 90,000 homeowners living in flood zones and high-risk areas, including tsunami zones.

The site of Villa Pacifica is near El Mani, one of the largest communities in Puerto Rico located in a flood zone. This community has historically suffered due to storms, including Hurricane Maria in 2017—causing significant landslides across Mayaguez on the western coast of the island. In addition to natural disasters, textile factory foreclosures and a struggling tuna industry caused over 11,000 jobs to be lost in the 1990s, making it the U.S. city with the second-highest number of industrial job losses.

“For over 30 years, Mercy Community Capital has provided essential financing to support affordable housing for families in need, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Torrado Development to support Puerto Rico for the first time in our organization’s history”—Jason Battista, Mercy Community Capital President

Much of the housing in El Mani is substandard and lacks sewer systems. Current dwellings are dangerous for residents and potentially generate a high number of FEMA claims.

Many of the 886 families living in the community have already suffered from floods and weather-related damage to property, and they are a major focus of this housing project, but anyone in Puerto Rico with a relocation purchase voucher is eligible. This is a very low-income area of an island that has suffered a lot in recent years. The median household income in the census tract of this development is only $15K a year while the poverty rate is almost 60%. The 43 families that will move into new homes as a result of this collaboration between MCC and Torrado, will see a dramatic improvement to their quality of life.

About Mercy Community Capital

For more than three decades, Mercy Community Capital (MCC), a leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), has provided financing to support affordable housing and community development across the nation. MCC has focused exclusively on funding affordable housing and essential community infrastructure projects that support affordable housing. By collaborating with socially responsible developers, MCC has helped finance the development of single and multifamily homes for rental and homeownership. These developments help underserved communities, including people with low incomes, veterans, seniors, farmworkers, people who have experienced homelessness, and people with disabilities. MCC is a subsidiary of the affordable housing nonprofit Mercy Housing, Inc. (MHI), headquartered in Denver, CO. For more information, please visit mercycommunitycapital.org.