The full article can be found here.
One of the world’s largest property owners has made its first foray into the world of impact investing by backing a new fund.

Oxford Properties, the real estate investment fund of Canadian pension fund OMERS, which manages $64B of property assets, is one of the investors that has backed the first closing of the Dream Impact Fund, managed by Canadian fund manager Dream UnlimitedPERE reported.

Oxford has previously invested in sustainable real estate and worked with its partners to have a social impact, but this is its first investment in assets specifically targeted at having a positive impact on society. It is among the real estate investors like Nuveen and Franklin Templeton that are in the vanguard in the growing field of real estate impact investment.

The Dream Impact Fund raised $109M in its first close and Dream Unlimited hopes to double that before it closes to new equity. It is an open-ended fund, meaning investors can sell out or new investors buy in over time, a relatively rare structure for impact funds, which tend to be closed ended.

The fund will invest in affordable housing, “inclusive communities” and resource efficiency in Canada. Oxford has typically debuted new investment strategies in its home North American markets before rolling them out more widely. The fund has a gross target rate of return of 12% to 14%, and Dream said it would soon publish a framework for how it would measure the social impact the fund made.

By: Lisa Brown

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The recent closing of the Enterprise Housing Partners Fund XXXIV (EHP 34) is a nearly $200 million multi-investor Low-Income Housing Tax Credit fund, according to Enterprise Housing Credit Investments. The fund comprises seven investors and will support the creation of 1,794 affordable homes across 14 properties in 10 states. EHP 34 is the first of four multi-investor funds planned by EHCI this year.

EHP 34 investors include major national and regional banks, most of which are repeat investors with Enterprise. The 14 properties in the fund are located in California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Two properties of EHP 34 are Agrihood in Santa Clara, CA and The Montage, an affordable housing development to be built in San Antonio. The Montage will comprise five three-story buildings offering 216 new homes, serving residents at or below 60 percent of AMI.

Kittle Property Group is partnering with the Housing Authority of Bexar County to develop this property. Both developments are expected to completed and available for residents in spring 2023.

The original article can be found here.

Monday, April 6, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

The nonprofit group Affordable Central Texas is looking to raise $125,000 to assist residents in the three apartment complexes owned by the Austin Housing Conservancy Fund, which was created to preserve workforce housing in the Austin area.


The ACT Together Fund will be available to approximately 750 of the 1,200 residents in those three complexes based on income data and need due to job losses and other impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.


David Steinwedell, CEO of Affordable Central Texas, said the goal is to help residents from falling behind on rent and other expenses while waiting for local, state and federal relief programs to take shape. He said the $125,000 will likely allow for two or three months of assistance.


“If someone is having problems paying rent then they’re probably also needing help paying their utility bill, car payment, and there’s a variety of things that are going to be a challenge for them,” he said. “We formed the program to raise capital through the nonprofit and use that to meet the variety of needs that our residents might have.”


Affordable Central Texas was formed with the mission of acquiring apartment communities where rents would be maintained at a level affordable to those earning approximately 80 percent of the Austin area’s median family income. That middle ground between subsidized affordable housing for lower incomes and high-end properties is seen as endangered as Austin’s real estate market continues to grow and the demand for housing pushes rents higher.


Steinwedell said he supports the city’s recent move to stop eviction proceedings for 60 days, but cautioned that property owners would quickly become unable to make utility payments or pay maintenance staff for a complex if there were widespread rent forgiveness or a rent strike by residents.


“If we don’t receive rent then we can’t pay our mortgage or pay our utility bills or pay the five to seven staff we have at each one of our properties. So when you do one thing it has a waterfall effect relative to providing a stable home for all of our residents,” he said. “This is affecting everybody and I think there’s a realization that we’ve got to all be creative in terms of how do you work with people. It could be if there’s someone who’s lost their job and hasn’t gotten their unemployment going yet or the extra $600 per week, then let’s defer the rent until those payments come in and get you on a payment plan. There’s a whole variety of things people are willing to do in this environment because they know everyone is being affected in one way or another.”


While Affordable Central Texas is looking to have thousands of units under ownership in the coming years, the pandemic has already put a stop to one acquisition because the group can’t perform a full site visit to do proper diligence. Steinwedell said two other deals in the preliminary stages have been put on hold, and that financial institutions have put a stop to most lending and investments because of uncertainty in the markets overall.


The news that there may be assistance for Affordable Central Texas residents was welcome to Craig Edgley, a high school math teacher at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired who lives at the Bridge at Terracina complex.


Edgley is still teaching students online, but his wife’s job at a daycare center has been put on pause over the last few weeks, meaning less income for them and their two children. He wasn’t aware whether he’d qualify for assistance from the fund, but praised the intention of Affordable Central Texas to keep housing available in the city for teachers and other middle-income workers.


“Once it got bought out they let us know they were making changes and I’m loving it because they’re going in the direction of being more for the people than the profit,” he said. “I definitely think that landlords should be more understanding of the people. Because if you’re good to the people when they’re down then we’re going to be good to you when things are good and we’ll get our rent paid on time. Especially when we’re going through this crazy epidemic no one was expecting, they need to be more accepting with late rent or missing rent.”

Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

The Austin Monitor’s work is made possible by donations from the community. Though our reporting covers donors from time to time, we are careful to keep business and editorial efforts separate while maintaining transparency. A complete list of donors is available here, and our code of ethics is explained here.

The full article can be found here.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The nonprofit organization Affordable Central Texas announced Wednesday that Texas Capital Bank will be the first bank to fully invest in the Austin Conservancy Fund, according to a press release from the office of Mayor Steve Adler.

The Austin Conservancy Fund is an open-ended social impact equity fund aimed at making sure properties meet the Community Reinvestment Act requirements. By purchasing multifamily properties, the fund will theoretically maintain affordable rental rates in the city. Its goal is to preserve workforce housing apartment buildings, prevent them from being gentrified and protect existing tenants so they won’t be displaced.

“The magic of Austin is in its people. Keeping the city affordable for teachers, artists, first responders, restaurant workers and other working people is crucial to preserving what everyone loves about being here,” said Mayor Adler. “With this investment, Texas Capital Bank has shown leadership that we hope will inspire others to support the Austin Housing Conservancy Fund and its work to preserve affordable housing for the moderate-income workers who make this city special.”

The ACF launched in 2018 with the purchase of three multifamily properties totaling 792 units and 1,200 residents, per Mayor Adler’s press release. The 10-year goal of the fund is to preserve over 10,000 rental properties for 15,000 Austin residents.

“Today we are proud to announce we are growing by adding Affordable Central Texas and the Austin Affordable Housing Conservancy Fund to our family of community partners,” said Kerry Hall, Executive Director of Regional Banking for Texas Capital Bank. “In alignment with the City of Austin and the Austin Affordable Housing Conservancy Fund’s strategic goal of ensuring that people who work in Austin can live in Austin, Texas Capital Bank is proud to announce a $500,000 institutional investment into the Affordable Housing Conservancy Fund.”

While Texas Capital Bank is the first bank to become an investor in the ACF, in September Wells Fargo and the U.S Conference of Mayors made a $150,000 donation to the fund.

Thank you for considering a donation to Affordable Central Texas, the non-profit sponsor and investment manager of the Austin Housing Conservancy Fund. Your donation will help support the sustainability of Affordable Central Texas, ensuring that affordable housing is preserved for our community’s teachers, first responders, medical professionals and others vital to Austin’s livability and success.

The original report can be found here.

Whether you think Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Airbnb have gotten too much credit or not enough for recent commitments that exceed $2 billion combined for affordable housing and homelessness efforts, mainly in Seattle and San Francisco, their pledges are only the splashiest in what looks like a rising tide of business leadership on the housing affordability crisis.

In Charlotte a “wave of donations” from civic leaders has eclipsed a $50 million goal and “means that more than $250 million in public and private money has been committed since 2018,” the Charlotte Observer reported earlier this month. The Washington Housing Initiative has raised more than $90 million for a loan fund and related community services in the District of Columbia.

The Austin Housing Conservancy has secured commitments from about 25 investors to acquire and preserve the affordability of apartments that are home to more than 1,200 people. The Twin Cities Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing Impact Fund has raised $32.5 million so far, mostly from Minnesota companies and foundations (and Minnesota Housing).

It’s not just financial institutions. A sandwich shop donated land to the Charlotte effort.

Yesterday in Indianapolis — where local leaders recently launched a $15 million fund to preserve affordable housing along transit lines, following the success of similar vehicles in Denver and the Puget Sound and San Francisco Bay areas — Indiana HCDA announced plans to co-invest in workforce housing initiatives with an industrial machine supplier, a medical device manufacturer, a nonprofit health system, and a resort in four different communities in the state.

“By participating in this new program, these organizations further prove how important housing is in attracting and retaining talent,” said Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch (R).

Affordable housing is a tough business for anyone — it was reported this week that a once-promising Dallas initiative may have stalled — and nobody should expect that the private sector alone can solve a problem as massive as the affordability crisis. But business leaders appear ready to do more, if approached the right way.

Chicago executive and civic leader King Harris, chairman of Illinois HDA, offered this advice from experience in a Brookings Institution essay last year:

“[W]hen you are able to target leaders who are receptive to the conversation, and you present them with information that resonates with their experience and the needs of their workforce, you may find yourself with some new, strong allies … You never know which CEO is going to be your region’s next housing advocate!”

There’s evidence that business leaders are feeling greater pressure to take on what they see as society’s most pressing problems.

It’s up to us to make sure housing is on their list.

Stockton Williams | Executive Director