Jun 072012

June 2012 Coalition Power Breakfast –  Calvin L.Holmes, President CCLF

Over the next several months, we will present a series covering areas of critical concern for our community. This series kicked-off at our June Breakfast with a focus on Housing. Our guest speaker was Calvin L. Homes, President of the Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF), which for the COAL Community of Interest, represented an interesting intersection of Housing, Community Development and Community Investment, with support for community-focused Not-for- Profits and For-Profit Small and Medium-sized Business endeavors.

Mr. Holmes stated that as a community development lender, he was interested in creating opportunities for people to live and work in healthy neighborhoods, financing emerging organizations with untested but innovative ideas, and funding non-profit and for-profit real estate projects that lead to jobs for the community.  Specifically, CCLF finances projects across metropolitan Chicago that revitalize neighborhoods, promise high positive social impact, incorporate sustainable design practices, and have the potential to leverage significant additional investments from other sources.

To facilitate this, Mr. Holmes relayed that CCLF takes a unique approach to lending. CCLF has the patience to remain committed to borrowers through lengthy public financing approval processes, are willing to partner with small, midsize and emerging groups on their first projects, or to take on difficult or unorthodox projects.

Mr. Holmes emphasized that CCLF goes to great lengths to ensure that the projects they support succeed, providing  technical assistance throughout the life of the loan. CCLF’s signature flexibility allows the CCLF team to fill gaps in the community development market as they arise to best meet the needs of Chicagoland neighborhoods.

Mr. Holmes shared that CCLF specializes in serving the needs of emerging and start-up organizations—who often have the most difficulty accessing capital—by providing reasonably priced loan products and free (or low-cost) technical assistance. Mr. Holmes also stressed that CCLF’s equity requirements are flexible and our loan-to-value ratios are more generous than many other lenders, even other community development financial institutions (CDFIs).

CCLF has assisted in the development or preservation of over 2.1 million square feet of facility and commercial space that provides job opportunities, goods and services and social service resources for the under-resourced neighborhoods, more than 6, 300 affordable and mixed income housing units, generating over 1,300 jobs.

CCLF’s underwriting is flexible enough to consider most requests that are a mission-fit. CCLF loan products:

  • Predevelopment Loans: Short-term loans for expenses incurred before construction begins, including land or building acquisition, site stabilization, interim maintenance, environmental surveys, appraisals, and legal and architects’ fees.
  • Construction and Rehabilitation Loans: Short-term loans used to build or rehabilitate a structure.
  • Housing Cooperative Loans: Custom mortgage products for limited-equity or low-income housing cooperatives.
  • Minipermanent Mortgage Loans: Mortgage products that finance the acquisition of properties for nonprofit organizations engaged in community-based social service, housing, or economic development projects.
  • Equipment and Working Capital Loans: Medium-term loans to allow nonprofits and worker-owned cooperatives to buy equipment needed to establish or expand their social enterprise or mission-driven business.
  • For-Profit Predevelopment and Construction/Rehabilitation Loans: Predevelopment or construction loans for small to mid-size development firms engaged in a housing or economic development project that will benefit low- to moderate-income people and communities.

During the very lively Q&A exchange with the Breakfast attendees, there was a question asked of Mr. Holmes regarding the state of foreclosures and what can be done to address this continuing problem. Mr. Holmes’ expert opinion is that the loss of population in Chicago (approximately 200,00 between 2000 and 2010) is a contributor and has drawn out the foreclosure crisis. Chicago must find a way to attract individuals and families to those neighborhoods with foreclosed and abandoned properties. This represents a key means of addressing the problem.

Please Note: COAL encourages both non-profit and for-profit entities involved in community-focused real estate initiatives that create affordable housing, build up our neighborhoods and create jobs for community residents to contact Mr. Homes and CCLF for consultation and potential funding.

A few pictures from the Breakfast:


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