Investing in Community

Date: July 24, 2013
Category: News

CLF partners with local organizations to address their self-identified economic and community development needs. While CLF provides critical financing, its borrowers are on the ground constructing and/or rehabilitating affordable housing units, healthy food retail outlets, and other community assets. This is the story of one family whose neighborhood is being transformed as a result of a partnership between CLF and the community-based non-profit, Metanoia.

“Homeownership has been a blessing.”
When Lisa, a single mother of two, decided to purchase her first home, she turned to CLF for help. Working through Metanoia, Lisa was connected to CLF’s Homebuyer Assistance Program. Through this program, Lisa realized the small steps she needed to take to position herself financially for homeownership, and the down payment assistance she received allowed her to realize her dream sooner than she had expected.

“Healthy food options are limited.”
The neighborhood where Lisa bought her home lacks important community assets including a grocery store. The closest option for her is five miles away, which makes grocery shopping difficult in the food desert where she resides. While the surrounding streets are lined with fast food restaurants, they are void of healthy alternatives. CLF is currently working with Metanoia, the City of North Charleston, and other community partners to attract a grocery store to the neighborhood. “What do I want in my community? A grocery store, drug store, and gas station…because that’s what I use the most.”

“Through partnerships with community based organizations, CLF is able to provide affordable lending products and services which are critical to bringing about positive, long-term social and economic change for the communities we serve” states Michelle Mapp, executive director of CLF. “We provide patient, flexible capital to enable low-wealth communities like Chicora/Cherokee to build their own assets, transform their neighborhood and join the economic mainstream.”

“I hope that this will be the beginning of change.”
Creating positive social change, Metanoia is constructing a community center, something Lisa is anxious to have available to her son. The Youth Enterprise Center will fill a gap, offering afterschool, social, and mentoring programs for the youth of the neighborhood. The change Lisa hopes for from the creation of the Center will be more facilities to meet the needs of residents, including her teenage son. “When the Center opens, my son will have a safe environment where he can learn and play.”

“We are here to be a catalyst to other investments in this community” states Patrick King, CLF lending director. “We recognize that housing is just the first piece of the puzzle. We are also here to create jobs and ultimately to help create opportunity.”

Since 2006, CLF has provided 5 loans totaling $403,809 to Metanoia for the construction, acquisition, and rehabilitation of 14 homes. Metanoia is a grassroots organization that invests in neighborhood assets to build leaders, establish quality housing, and generate economic development in the Cherokee/Chicora neighborhood of North Charleston.

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