Merritt Community Capital has closed the first round for its Fund XXII, so far raising $102 million that will finance nine developments and create 452 affordable homes across California.
This is the initial close for the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) fund, with Merritt expecting to add investors through the third quarter. The fund has 11 investors, including both existing and new investors.
In addition to being the largest fund to date, the closing of Fund XXII helped the housing credit syndicator reach the milestone of surpassing $1 billion of affordable housing investment in California since its inception in 1989.
Since taking the helm at Merritt two years ago, Ari Beliak, president and CEO, has positioned the organization for growth with a goal to increase impact across the state. Merritt has placed $200 million of that total under Beliak’s leadership.
“At Merritt, we lead with mission—it’s the belief that drives everything we do,” he said. “From the people we work with, to the projects we invest in and how we asset manage, to choosing investors, and to helping to build the next generation of affordable housing practitioners. Reaching the $1 billion milestone is exciting as we build momentum, accelerating Merritt’s impact. We look forward to continuing to grow and support the most needed and challenging projects in the state.”
Six of the nine properties financed by Fund XXII will serve residents experiencing homelessness, who have special needs, or are seniors. Eight projects will be new construction, and the partners represent a mix of both urban and rural developers.
The new partners include A Community of Friends (ACOF), the sponsor for West Terrace, a 64-unit permanent supportive housing development in Los Angeles that benefited from a new state law that aims to streamline the local approval process for affordable housing projects (SB35).
West Terrace includes a mix of 14 studio, 29 one-, and 20 two-bedroom units for extremely low- and very low-income households, many of whom are experiencing homelessness and/or have a mental health disability. Residents will have access to enhanced wraparound on-site supportive services, a community garden, and a safe and secure playground for families.
“Together with SB35, Merritt’s flexible terms made it possible for West Terrace to become ACOF’s fastest projects to go from conception to development,” said Dora Leong Gallo, ACOF’s president and CEO. “As a result, 63 people experiencing housing insecurity in Los Angeles will now have access to a beautiful permanent place to call home much faster than anticipated.”
Fund XXII’s second round is anticipated to add three projects with 150 additional units.
Merritt also invests in the state’s affordable housing industry, with an emphasis on educating the next generation of diverse leaders. Last year, the nonprofit dedicated approximately 10% of its budget to activities supporting the affordable housing industry and tenants.