Image by Clay Banks

Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund Case Study

Maximizing Public & Private Dollars To Reach Deeply Affordable Housing Targets

In interest to address the city’s affordable housing crisis and leverage City of Charlotte Housing Trust Fund, the Foundation For The Carolinas (FFTC) and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) formed the Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund (CHOIF). LISC manages and deploys CHOIF dollars through its tailored investment products geared to maximizes HTC’s dollars alongside low cost debt, housing vouchers,
and private capital. These products are unique in that they meet diverse investor’s impact and CRA requirements, fill gaps in affordable housing, and can be scaled in Charlotte and cities across the U.S.

Image by Clay Banks

LISC INVESTMENT:

 

$10.6 Million recommended in round one

$10.2 Million leveraged in round one

20% Units at 30% AMI or lower

87% Units at 80% AMI of lower

1,669 Total affordable units requested in round one

TOPLINE:

Diverse investors pooled fund of public, private, low-cost debt, housing voucher capital managed by LISC Goal is to achieve impactful affordable housing outcomes

Challenge

 

The City of Charlotte increased the housing bond program of the city Housing Trust Fund (HTF) to 50 million to address the affordable housing crisis in 2017. The Foundation For The Carolinas (FFTC) conceptualized a private fund that could work together with city funds and raise external capital to match the city HTF. However, developing a product for investors who have different investment requirements and needs was a huge challenge. Additionally, this product needed to be effectively deployed in a heavily regulated and non-regulated environment.

Opportunity

Creating a product that could maximize the HTF dollars to make investments in and loans to developers of new construction, rehab, and naturally occurring affordable housing AND produce financial returns sufficient to attract investors, would make the greatest impact in affordable housing for Charlotte residents. Further, if this product is effective and scalable, it could be replicated in cities across the US that are also experience rapid growth and affordable housing
issues.

Our work is always informed by what we learn from the people who are going to be impacted by the investments we make in their community. So, we make sure they are at the table when programs or initiatives are being designed.

 

– Maurice Jones, CEO of LISC

Background

 

A 2014 study on economic mobility in America’s 50 largest cities conducted by Harvard University’s Equality of Opportunity Project ranked Charlotte as last. This study showed that children born into the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution in Charlotte ha just a 4.4 percent chance of making it to the top 20 percent of the income distribution. According to a separate study conducted by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, more than one in five renter households in
the Charlotte region are “severely housing cost-burdened,” spending more than 50 percent of their income on a place to live. The City of Charlotte was roused by these findings to take action to address its crisis of affordability. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) was invited by the municipal, philanthropic, and corporate communities to help address these concerns.

Outcome & Impact

 

CHOIF’s primary goal is to address this affordable housing crisis and focuses on constructing or preserving mixed- income, multi-family rental developments, targeting families at 30-120 percent area median income (“AMI”). The below-market terms of the capital allow for the creation of an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 units of housing. CHOIF requires housing developments that have a minimum of 20 percent of the units will serve those with incomes at or below 30 percent AMI, and a minimum of 50 percent of the units will serve those with incomes at or below 80 percent AMI. To further maximize impact and provide housing to those in need, LISC will link the 30 percent AMI units to families who are on the Charlotte Housing Authority’s waitlist–some of whom have been waiting a decade for a safe, affordable home – helping to bolster fluidity in the Charlotte housing market. CHOIF will play an important role in increasing the quantity and quality of stable housing for families in Charlotte and propelling economic mobility. The first round of planned CHOIF investments will create 531 units with the following AMIs.