This week, CLF’s staff is attending the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) national conference in San Antonio.  As a CDFI, this conference provides the opportunity to learn from industry leaders on the role CDFIs play on a national stage and how collectively, we are rebuilding the economy and improving infrastructure on the local level.

The theme of this year’s conference is Let’s Create Opportunities for All.  OFN’s president and CEO Mark Pinsky set the tone of the conference, emphasizing the role and value of CDFIs and their importance to the economic future of our country.

The underlying concern by many attending the conference is the possible sequestration scheduled to occur in January.  The potential funding cuts will dramatically threaten the areas in which CLF and other CDFIs focus their efforts and the communities which they serve.

It is estimated sequestration will cut $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending over the next ten years.  What does this mean to affordable housing programs in our country?  The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that these cuts will result in 185,000 households losing their tenant-based rental assistance vouchers, 4,500 families would not receive rental or homeownership assistance through the HOME program, and that CDBG cuts would impact more than 1,000,000 Americans.

For five years, CLF has been certified as a CDFI, allowing us the ability to access and secure funding that was previously unavailable to the local market; these funds were provided by individual and private sources, as well as the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund.  With the uncertainties facing the industry, CLF and the other 900+ CDFIS across the country are needed now more than ever in an effort to fill the gap between resources and community needs.

While here in San Antonio, we are learning from our peers, building strong networks, and laying the ground work to secure new funding that will benefit the Lowcountry.  Surrounding ourselves with CDFIs from across the nation of varying size and capacity has offered insight into industry best practices.

CLF…creating opportunity for all.