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Rural LISC, Capital One and the Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) have joined together to create the Rural CHDO Training Program, a program designed to increase the capacity of community-based organizations (CBOs) and Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs) to develop affordable housing in rural Louisiana.
“Capital One’s support was instrumental in Rural LISC’s development and implementation of the Rural CHDO Trainings,” said LISC Vice President and Rural LISC Director Suzanne Anarde. “Rural community developers are in need of thoughtful, practical training opportunities so they can better serve the low income individuals and families who call rural Louisiana home. We are pleased to provide this opportunity to organizations and partners in rural Louisiana with the support of Capital One and the Louisiana Housing Corporation.”
The training began in 2016 as a “deeper dive” intended to increase the capacity of participating organizations to develop affordable housing for low income residents. The program focused on accessing funding programs through the state of Louisiana, including the HOME program. Three trainings were held with the fourth and final training bringing the series to a close in October 2018. Rural LISC, Capital One and LHC expect that the organizational capacity to develop affordable housing has been substantially increased thanks to the training, which will result in more affordable housing development for low to moderate income individuals and families who call Louisiana home. Affordable housing development in rural America has historically been challenging.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Louisiana is home to 4,670,724 people, 762,781 of whom live in rural parishes. Community development in rural Louisiana has many challenges, including persistent poverty, substandard housing and a weak economic environment. Solving these problems requires innovative solutions. Rural LISC determined that the CHDO Training would be an effective response to the challenge of developing affordable housing in rural Louisiana. There had not been a similar training offered in many years, especially for rural groups, and because of this, rural CHDOs were suffering a significant knowledge and skills deficit. Rural LISC surveyed Louisiana CHDOs to determine where the greatest needs lay and found that training offered through a program such as the Rural CHDO Training Program would fill a critical gap. Now, at the conclusion of the program, a total of 20 individuals representing 12 organizations have participated, gaining the skills and knowledge needed to complete multifamily housing projects.
Additionally, with the support of Capital One, Rural LISC was able to invest $60,000 in predevelopment funds in the 12 organizations participating in the program, a crucial boost in helping to get projects off the ground. With further support from Woodforest Bank, LISC has approved over $4 million in loans to Louisiana CBOs, CHDOs and individual landlords enrolled in LHC’s Neighborhood Rental Program. LISC is currently working on closing over $1 million in loans to these organizations.
“This investment is critical in developing affordable housing for low income individuals and families in rural Louisiana,” Anarde said. “With the support of Capital One and Woodforest Bank, local community-based organizations are better equipped to serve the needs of rural Louisiana.”
ABOUT RURAL LISC
Launched in 1995, Rural LISC is the rural component of the largest community development support organization in the country, called LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation). For 23 years, Rural LISC has partnered with rural communities, helping to forge innovative solutions that lead to prosperity and opportunity. Rural LISC provides a wide range of services, including financial support, training, technical assistance and information to help rural community developers address the problems rural communities face. This assistance comes in the form of loans and grants, national policy support and technical and management assistance. Since 1995, Rural LISC’s investments in rural America have totaled $1.22 billion in grants, equity and low-cost loan funds. Rural LISC has leveraged this investment resulting in $3.2 billion from public and private sources, to produce 35,473 affordable homes and apartments, create 4.2 million square feet of commercial and community space, assist 680 businesses, create 11,000 jobs and support 20 early childhood centers. By generating resources and investing in the grassroots efforts of its 86 partner community-based organizations, Rural LISC is committed to making rural communities good places to live, work, do business and raise children. Learn more at www.lisc.org/rural.