Dear Neighbors and Partners,
We believe safe, stable affordable housing opens the door to better lives for everyone. In support of this belief, we carry on our work as a nonprofit lender and our job is to be here for our borrowers and our community – supporting those who require unique and flexible financing to create opportunities for those most in need. We remain dedicated to closing loans already in process, providing financing for our partners, and making sure the creation and preservation of affordable housing continues.
While COVID-19 and the Shelter-in-Place order is impacting where we work (from home rather than our office), it won’t stop our work and will drive us to find new solutions for new challenges faced by our borrowers in the coming weeks, months and beyond. Whatever adjustments we all may have to make, we’ll still lead with community lending and enable all of us to help those disproportionately affected the most by this crisis.
Housing Trust commits to the following:
- Housing Trust is contributing $150,000 to the COVID-19 financial assistance program launched earlier this week by Destination: Home and led by Sacred Heart Community Service. This collaborative relief fund in Santa Clara County will provide vulnerable, low-income residents with immediate financial assistance to help pay rent or meet other basic needs.
- Housing Trust is accepting proposals for the Apple Affordable Housing Fund to move forward shovel ready projects – our team has extended the deadline to April 9th to make sure those challenged by the pandemic have the time to submit.
- We will continue to lend and will work patiently with borrowers during this difficult time. Homeowners who wish to reach us about their down payment assistance loans from Housing Trust should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Developers who work with our multifamily lending programs should contact their primary lending contact or our Chief Lending Officer, Fathia Macauley, at email@example.com.
And, now we ask you all for action:
- We were heartened to see local officials and the State of California have reaffirmed that affordable housing construction is an essential activity and can continue. Now more than ever, we see how important it is that everyone has a safe place to live, especially those most vulnerable, and starting and finishing housing developments for our very low income and extremely low income neighbors will help address this crisis. We call on all of our city partners to support this order and provide for continued housing construction.
- Given the growing economic hardship arising from COVID-19, actions are necessary to avoid the devastation that occurred last decade when the country faced an unprecedented foreclosure and eviction crisis. To our local city and county partners we are grateful for the steps you are taking to protect vulnerable renters by halting evictions during this crisis and providing rental and emergency assistance. We call on every city and county who have not yet enacted these measures to follow the lead of San Jose and Santa Clara County and protect renters now.
- To our partners at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA we are grateful you are applying lessons from the last recession and stopping foreclosures during this time. To our banking partners, we are encouraged by the efforts of many mortgage lenders to defer payments for 90 days for anyone facing hardships – and we are calling on these and other financial institutions to go a step further by supporting affordable rental housing under development – to honor their commitments for construction and permanent loans, to preserve tax credit pricing – and for properties already occupied by low income residents, consider deferred payment periods for owners of affordable housing properties.
- To all corporate and philanthropic organizations, the outpouring of support has been incredible – from employers committing to paying those who cannot work from home to donations in support of relief efforts. In addition to the Santa Clara County COVID-19 financial assistance program, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation has established the Silicon Valley Strong Fund and the City of San Jose has helped establish the Silicon Valley Strong site, which is a clearinghouse of updates and critical information about COVID-19, as well as a portal for volunteers. We urge you to support these and other initiatives.
Adapting to new realities like the one we are all facing now is very much in Housing Trust’s DNA. Twenty years ago, the organization was founded in the dot-com boom and bust to meet the housing needs in that moment, rose to the challenges of the Great Recession and Foreclosure Crisis and, most recently, we are scaling to meet the needs of the current housing crisis. More than 20% of the $335 million we’ve invested in affordable housing over the last two decades has been invested in just the last year. Our board and staff are committed to redoubling our efforts and not back down from supporting the affordable housing community. We will meet this new challenge and are committed to continue working with all of you to help solve our region’s housing crisis.