Frequently Asked Questions
Home Funders was launched in the fall of 2003 with the goal of raising $26 million to create 1,000 housing units for very low income families and 3,000 mixed income units over 10 years.
What makes Home Funders unique?
Home Funders is tapping the power and scale of the investors’ endowments to drive significant change in the housing finance system.
The Fund represents a new philanthropic strategy: rather than small-scale grants to individual projects, the Fund is working closely with municipalities, the State, developers and existing financing programs to demonstrate that with the right mix of resources, focus and will, solutions are possible.
Why does Home Funders focus on very low-income and homeless families?
Home Funders is helping house to families earning less than 30% of area median income (AMI). In 2015, in the Boston area, the household income for a family of four at 30% AMI was $29,550. That’s a family where two adults work minimum wage jobs or where a single parent with three kids makes $14.77 per hour. Average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the Boston area in 2015, on the other hand, was $2,602 – more than the entire monthly earnings of such a family.
A large portion of extremely low income families face the worst case housing burden scenario – that is, they pay more than 50% of their income towards housing costs. These families are also at great risk of becoming homeless. In Massachusetts, over 158,000 low-income renter households are severely cost-burdened; 40% of these households, or 63,000 households, are families with children.
Despite the tremendous need, each year an insufficient number of permanent housing units are created for ELI and homeless families.
Home Funders is making the local affordable housing finance system more responsive to the state’s lowest income families. Creation of a specific loan pool targeted to families earning less than 30% of area median income is spurring the development of very low-income housing units. Rather than “”reinventing the wheel,” however, Home Funders is using the existing housing finance infrastructure in order to streamline and minimize bureaucracy.
Home Funders does what the private market is best at – creating incentives in the marketplace to achieve certain objectives; in this case, creating housing for very low income families. Home Funders resources are only available to projects in communities where there is a commitment from the local city to allocate public resources.
FUNDERS, PARTNERS AND COLLABORATORS
Which funders have signed on to Home Funders so far?
Those participating in this initiative are listed on our Staff, Investors and Partners page.
Why does Home Funders use CEDAC and MHP as intermediaries?
The fund chose to utilize existing capacity in the housing system rather than creating a new entity or layering more bureaucracy. After extensive interviews to determine the best intermediaries for the Fund, Home Funders choose CEDAC and MHP. Both organizations have an excellent track record in underwriting and portfolio management and complement one another. CEDAC provides technical assistance and early project financing and is able to encourage developers to incorporate extremely low-income housing at a project’s conceptual stage, while MHP provides long term permanent financing. Both organizations are experienced in managing investor or other funds and possess the judgment, flexibility and innovation to manage such a multi-purpose fund as Home Funders. Both have been in the affordable housing lending business for over 20 years and have impressively low loss rates.
What is Home Funders impact?
Home Funders has greatly enhanced Massachusetts’ existing housing resources by adding a new $21 million targeted pool of funds to increase the supply of housing available to extremely low income and homeless families. It has focused attention on the affordable housing crisis and its impact on the state’s most vulnerable families and has leveraged resources from the public sector.
As of December 2015, Home Funders has provided financing for 1,197 homes for ELI families in 89 developments in 36 Massachusetts communities.
How much has been raised to date?
The Home Funders loan capital is currently at $19.4 million; $1.8 million has been repaid to investors. The capital has produced over $50 million in total loans, and has leveraged over $600 million in other funding from federal, state and local sources. The majority of funding has been in the form of Program Related Investments (PRIs) offered by private foundations.
WHY SUPPORT HOME FUNDERS
Why should a funder give or lend to Home Funders instead of directly to CEDAC or MHP or to a nonprofit housing developer?
By being a part of a large group of private funders, collectively we have significant impact and a stronger voice to influence public funders and policymakers. In addition, pooling the funds spreads the risk among the investors and simplifies administration and tracking of the investments. By being a part of Home Funders, funders are also part of a national model – a different way for private philanthropy to impact homelessness and affordable housing. Together, we can demonstrate that a solution with tangible, local results is possible.
Does Home Funders accept grants?
Yes! Home Funders utilizes grant funds to support its operations, advocacy work and for special programs such as the 2015-16 Innovation Competition. All grant funds are administered through a designated fund at The Boston Foundation.
How do I contact Home Funders?
To learn more about supporting Home Funders, click here to contact us.
MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
Who manages the LLC?
An elected LLC Management Board made up of Home Funder investors make policy decisions. The day-to-day management of the fund is handled through Home Funders’ Executive Director.
What is the role of the Home Funders Management Board?
The Management Board is responsible for setting policy, approving annual budgets, overseeing the Executive Director, and monitoring and evaluating the initiative. The Board also plays a strong role in recruiting new members and encouraging outreach and public education regarding Home Funders and the issues of family housing and homelessness.
Why did Home Funders create a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)?
The LLC provides a vehicle that lowers risk for all investors, simplifies administration of the fund, and codifies the agreements among the funders regarding their obligations to each other and to the goals of the fund, how decisions are made and how the funds flow. The LLC also provides a long-term, stable mechanism to insure the success of the program over its lifetime.