JP Morgan Chase helped finance Killian Terrace, the newest affordable living community in Columbia, South Carolina.
Fitch Irick JP Morgan Chase helped finance Killian Terrace, the newest affordable living community in Columbia, South Carolina.

There’s a good chance multifamily developers, owners, and renters in several Southeastern states will look back on 2021 as a key year for affordable housing.

If so, they may have Caitlin Gossens and her team to thank for it, in part.

Caitlin Gossens
Caitlin Gossens

The vice president of community development banking for JPMorgan Chase is part of the firm’s expansion efforts throughout Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

“We’re doubling down on our efforts to increase funding for the production and preservation of affordable housing units,” Gossens reports. That doubling down starts with a major branch expansion. JPMorgan Chase recently opened 70 branches throughout the region, with another 50 locations expected to open soon.

This is just the beginning. Gossens recently sat down to discuss the firm’s growing commitment to affordable housing across the Southeast and the rest of the country.

JPMorgan Chase is expanding rapidly across the Southeast. What initiatives should affordable housing developers, owners, builders, and community leaders count on?

Families are hurting not only in the Southeast but across the country. We understand what a lack of safe, secure affordable housing means to lower-income households, especially Black and Latinx families. That’s why JPMorgan Chase is working hard to support an inclusive recovery program. Part of that commitment is the firm’s Our Path Forward program, a five-year, $30 billion initiative to address racial inequity. Over $2 billion is dedicated to the production and preservation of affordable rental units in the region and across the nation.

How else will JPMorgan Chase help?

We have the resources to help in a wide variety of ways. I’ve worked on everything from small, mission-driven projects to large, complex bond transactions. For example, I’ve used a variety of tools, ranging from a direct bond purchase, a Year 15 refinance, a taxable construction to perm loan, to tax-exempt construction loan with a GSE takeout.

Many of us, including myself, come from nonprofits, community development financial institutions, the public sector, and other mission-oriented backgrounds. We know what’s at stake and want to help grow the region’s affordable housing supply.

For example, we helped finance a $28 million project recently in Columbia, South Carolina. It’s a 288-unit multifamily community for households at or below 60% of the area median income. It finished on time and on budget in the middle of the pandemic. It’s now 100% leased with a significant waiting list, and we’re proud to have been a part of it.

What encourages you about the region’s affordable housing efforts?

The 4% floor that was fixed at the end of 2020 should help developers fill their capital stack and help with project feasibility.

Georgia has a low-income housing tax credit that supplements the federal program. States like South Carolina use the Georgia model to substantially increase the production of affordable housing. Additional equity from the state credit should help developers target new markets, including rural areas, and produce and preserve affordable housing in urban markets where additional subsidies aren’t available. JPMorgan Chase has been involved in several deals that have benefited from state credits.

While interest rates are edging up, they are still low enough for developers to build their capital stack with a large amount of supportable permanent debt. The Carolinas encourage adaptive reuse with historic tax credits. Because the pandemic has reduced tax revenues, states and cities are working on new solutions to finance additional affordable housing.

Learn more about JPMorgan Chase Community Development Banking.