Community development finance is a proven approach to catalyzing economic opportunity in disinvested areas that also provides investors a reasonable financial return. Since 1987, National Equity Fund has worked with investors to capitalize, deploy, and manage more than 190 affordable housing investment funds, which over time have met or exceeded their goals for financial performance and housing impact.
NEF is a mission-driven non-profit as well as a highly sophisticated financial intermediary. Our teams have long been active in hundreds of Opportunity Zones through our Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) investments, establishing local partners and collaborating with developers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, philanthropic groups, investors and community-based organizations to drive revitalization plans that meet the needs of area residents. In fact, we have already invested in excess of $2 billion in properties located in more than 900 designated opportunity zones.
NEF opportunity zone Funds
NEF is leveraging the Opportunity Zones initiative with a keen focus on creating investment funds that fuel workforce rental housing for families earning 80-110 percent of the area median income (AMI) while striving to support the CRA needs of conventional investors. We are building on expertise gained from more than 2,700 LIHTC project investments to help investors create Opportunity Funds and then managing those funds over time. These new funds align with our long-time LIHTC investments, which support housing for people earning 40-60 percent of AMI, helping us meet a range of investor priorities while also addressing the heart of the nation’s affordable housing crisis.
Through NEF Opportunity Funds, investors can have an impact that goes well beyond the bricks and mortar of development. For every 100 affordable rental homes built, communities gain:
- $11.7 million in local income
- 161 local jobs in the project’s first year alone
- $2.2 million in local tax income
- Stronger local businesses, educational outcomes and health outlook
NEF is working with for-profit and non-profit developers to evaluate and help structure potential deals, while at the same time seeking out Opportunity Zone investors that may have an interest in these types of projects.
NEF Opportunity Fund I, for example, was capitalized with $25 million from Fifth Third Bank, a long-time NEF partner. The fund is expected to fuel five housing developments for middle-income residents, with set-asides for people earning 80 percent or less of AMI.
Developers have made clear their need for flexible, affordable capital to ensure that workforce housing developments are financially viable. That includes mixed-use projects that fold in economic development options like local retail or community services.