A new $6 million social capital product aimed at accelerating neighborhood transformation has made its first two investments at large-scale public housing in San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as a New Orleans community still rebuilding a decade after Hurricane Katrina.
Launched by the national nonprofit Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) in partnership with JPMorgan Chase, “Equity with a Twist” (EQT) provides flexible, low‐cost financing to support and incentivize integrative, outcomes‐driven solutions to poverty.
Through EQT, LIIF and JPMorgan Chase are providing two strong nonprofit organizations, BRIDGE Housing and the Bayou District Foundation (BDF), with $2 million each in low‐cost, 10‐year financing for their multi-sector efforts to tackle poverty in California and Louisiana, respectively.
BRIDGE and BDF are undertaking large‐scale revitalization efforts that incorporate mixed‐income housing, K‐12 educational achievement, and high‐quality, early-learning programs. EQT financing will enable the organizations to knit these strategies together.
BRIDGE will use its EQT financing to accelerate two of its comprehensive, large‐scale redevelopment projects: the Potrero Terrace and Annex in San Francisco, a HOPE SF site, and Jordan Downs in Los Angeles. These projects aim to transform dilapidated, isolated public housing developments into vibrant mixed‐income communities, offering programs and services for residents from infants to seniors. Both are scheduled to break ground in 2016.
BDF, a New Orleans–based nonprofit founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, will use EQT financing to support its comprehensive revitalization of Columbia Parc in the Bayou District of New Orleans. Following the Purpose Built Communities model, the Columbia Parc redevelopment includes more than 685 mixed‐income housing units, a health clinic, a high‐quality early childhood education school, and a planned K‐8 charter school.
In return for this catalytic capital, BRIDGE and BDF will measure the impact of their work on resident health, neighborhood safety, child development, education, and local market strength—as well as provide investors with a financial return.
“Neighborhoods that provide low-income families with healthy, affordable places to live, learn, work, and play create opportunities for people to climb out of poverty,” said Nancy O. Andrews, LIIF president and CEO, in a statement. “Transforming distressed places into opportunity‐rich neighborhoods requires a silo‐busting approach, long‐term commitment from partners, and an organization willing to be accountable for change. Equity with a Twist is a flexible and patient social capital tool that supports high‐impact work with strong social returns, while also generating a modest financial return for investors.”
“Local leaders need flexible tools they can tailor to meet the needs of their individual neighborhoods and adapt to complex challenges,” said Janis Bowdler, head of community development and small business initiatives for the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. “JPMorgan Chase is proud to work side by side with local change agents such as LIIF, BRIDGE Housing, and Bayou District Foundation who are at the forefront of testing new approaches to helping communities expand inclusive economic growth.”