Affordable housing firm Comunidad Partners is starting a new impact credit platform, Comunidad Credit Capital (C3). Set to officially launch in the spring, C3 will be led by multifamily housing industry leader and Freddie Mac veteran Debby Jenkins.
“The secular demand of affordable workforce housing and the current market environment lends itself to an impact-oriented capital markets provider, as there has never been a more opportune time, nor a more proven leader than Debby Jenkins, to introduce an innovative credit platform led and owned by diverse leaders,” said Antonio Marquez, founder and managing partner of Comunidad Partners, a real estate investment firm and owner specializing in workforce and affordable housing in culturally diverse communities throughout the United States.
The launch of the new entity is well aligned with Comunidad’s mission and values of enhancing community and creating opportunity for the underserved, explained Jenkins, CEO and partner of the platform.
“Not only does this align with Comunidad’s values, but it is also well-aligned with my personal and professional values and experience leading the nation’s largest multifamily finance platform,” said Jenkins, who served as executive vice president and head of multifamily at Freddie Mac before joining Kayne Anderson Real Estate. “The chronic lack of capital being invested into workforce and affordable housing threatens the existence of these properties, which ultimately negatively affects the diverse tapestry of residents who reside in these communities.”
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently announced that in 2023, multifamily loan purchase caps for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will include a mission-driven category for workforce housing properties, providing incentives for borrowers to maintain rents at affordable levels for extended periods of time, Jenkins noted.
“Given FHFA’s strong focus on affordable and equitable housing, I believe this is an opportune time to introduce a platform that will keenly focus on these important issues,” she said. “Despite the significant increase in interest rates and economic uncertainty going into 2023, we believe the rental housing sector, and specifically workforce housing, is positioned well. This market sector has proven its resiliency during the last financial crisis as well as the recent pandemic. It is our intention to contribute to this by aligning with FHFA and the multifamily industry by providing a consistent source of capital to workforce and affordable housing borrowers.”
The new platform is expected to offer structured finance products for affordable and workforce borrowers. Additionally, C3 leaders plan to institute Impact programming at the properties they finance as well as aligning with FHFA's definition of workforce housing in the 2023 scorecard and equitable housing plans, according to Jenkins.
Increased interest in ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing, lack of capital available for diverse borrowers, and changing market conditions present ideal circumstances for launching C3, according to Marquez.
“Our platform offering matches the market opportunity now and long into the future while filling a true void in the marketplace, addressing scalable impact solutions for workforce and affordable housing by a seasoned and diverse leadership team," he said. "Debby is the ideal leader for this new platform, as she brings a wealth of knowledge and deep expertise in multifamily capital markets finance but also has been incredibly successful in catalyzing affordable workforce housing capital and impact capital in diverse communities throughout the country."