The American Indian Community Development Corp. (AICDC) was recently awarded nearly $7 million in grants from the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund of the United States Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
AICDC will use the funds to begin the process of establishing a CDFI and building a 47-unit apartment complex for American Indian, or Native American, community elders.
A CDFI, according to the CDFI Fund website, is designed to spur economic growth in urban and rural low-income communities by providing more access to capital.
AICDC received $108,322 from the CDFI Fund and was one of 45 organizations in 19 states to be awarded the funding, according to Indian Country Today newspaper. By creating a CDFI, AICDC hopes to be able to offer more financial options to help increase homeownership among American Indians in Minnesota.
“A CDFI provides another access to funding for home ownership to an under-served community,” said Mike Goze, CEO of AICDC. “The grant that we received will allow us to hire an executive director to put together a market study, a business plan, and home ownership training, along with all the related documents and guidelines for a homeownership portfolio.”
The AICDC CDFI would be able to borrow money from the U.S. Treasury fund like a normal bank, but since AICDC – like many other similar organizations – is smaller and has less overhead costs, it can lend money at lower interest rates and with less stringent requirements, Goze said. The CDFI will be able to lend money for both micro-loans and, hopefully, full mortgage loans.
“[The CDFI loans] can help [people] strengthen their credit,” he said. “The ideal would be that we would be able to place mortgages for the full amount of the property.”
The grant money received for this project will help begin the application process to become a CDFI, Goze said.
“We currently have an ad out for an executive director,” he said. “[Once we have an executive director] we can prepare for the process of the application.”
In addition to the CDFI grant, Goze said AICDC – in partnership with CommonBond Communities, a non-profit affordable housing organization – received a 202 grant from HUD totaling $6.778 million. The grant will provide nearly all of the funding to build the Bii Di Gain Dash Anwebi (Ojibwa for “Come and Rest”) elder housing complex on 24th and Bloomington in the Minneapolis Phillips neighborhood.
“Elder housing is a growing concern for all communities,” AICDC stated in its project concept. “The City of Minneapolis recognized the need as early as 2001 in its Senior Rental Housing Policy.”
The new apartment building will have 47 one-bedroom apartments for individuals and couples who are 62 years of age and older and whose income does not exceed 50 percent of the median housing income for the metro area, according to the concept plan.
The building will be managed by CommonBond Communities and will house an Advantage Center. The Advantage Center is there to, according to the plan, “enhance the quality of senior life and maintain seniors in an independent living style for as long as possible.” The center will also provide residents with internet access, regular wellness and prevention services – including flu shots and foot care clinics – and more.
“Many of the urban Native Americans have been living in the Phillips neighborhood for decades,” said Amanda Novak, senior project manager for CommonBond Communities, in an email. “This project will allow people to stay in their neighborhood; in an affordable home; that supports independence and advancement within a flourishing community.”
For more information about the CDFI or elder housing projects, go to www.aicdc-mn.org or www.commonbond.org.