Housing coalition has invested $3 million in 16 months
More than $3 million in housing investment has been committed in the nearly 16 months since the Coalition for Rochester Area Housing was created with a $6 million goal.
"The coalition has had an exciting start to 2019, and we are excited to use this early momentum to continue to fund affordable housing projects in the Rochester area," Erin Sexton, director of Enterprise Community Engagement at Mayo Clinic, said in a statement announcing the latest investments.
Mayo Clinic is one of four partners that created the coalition at the end of 2017. The city of Rochester, Olmsted County and the Rochester Area Foundation joined the effort.
One of the most recent funding announcements is $1.3 million in a three-year commitment for First Homes Properties programs operated by Rochester Area Foundation. The funding will provide $300,000 to provide gap loans for homebuyers, $600,000 to create home-ownership opportunities through programs like the First Homes community land trust, and $400,000 for home rehabilitation efforts.
Another $500,000 has already been committed for building two single-family homes, according to Steve Borchardt, the RAF’s housing coalition director.
Borchardt said that part of the funding for the First Homes projects is expected to come from a portion of the $250,000 the city committed to the coalition effort, with the remainder being funded through the $4 million committed by Mayo Clinic.
The clinic’s contribution is also expected to largely cover the coalition’s other new announcement, which is providing a $340,000 revolving loan fund to Zumbro Ridge Estates, to help purchase and install five manufactured homes at the mobile home park north of Rochester.
The goal is to buy and sell the homes until all available lots are filled at the park, which is a cooperative owned by its residents.
Another coalition project funded this year largely benefited from the county’s $250,000 contribution, which went to Bear Creek Church for upgrades to preserve 43 units of housing created on the former Crossroads College campus. Another $100,000 is being provided by other coalition partners for a total of $350,000.
The coalition is also helping fund a planned 30-unit supportive housing development on land currently owned by Olmsted County on Mayowood Road. Center City Housing plans to build the facility for people with mental health needs in cooperation with the county by using state funding. The coalition has pledged $210,000 as a local match to help facilitate the effort.
Previously, the coalition also provided $320,000 for supportive housing being built by the Jeremiah Program, which works with single mothers of young children. The 40-unit project is being built on 2 acres near the intersection of 19th Street Northwest and Valleyhigh Drive.
Borchardt said direct funding isn’t the only place the coalition has had an impact on creating affordable housing.
The city recently approved $933,000 in tax-increment financing for the 128-unit Bella Grove apartments planned south of Alpha Parkway Northwest, near West Circle Drive. While not using coalition funds, Borchardt noted coalition partners played a part in encouraging the developer, Village Capital Corp., to dedicate 10 percent of the apartments as affordable for families earning 50 percent of the area median income.
The remainder are expected to be affordable to families earning 60 percent of the area median income, meaning rents would be capped at $1,222 for a two-bedroom unit and household incomes would be limited to $54,300 or below for a family of four.
Combined, Borchardt said the latest coalition efforts will generate approximately 282 new units of affordable housing in the community.
While Borchardt said some investments in the form of loans will return to the coalition for future efforts, he’s also gearing up to attract new coalition partners and investments this year.
"There’s still a ton of demand," he said.