Think of the Gates Foundation and housing is probably not an issue that comes to mind. But the foundation has actually spent millions to reduce homelessness and boost affordable housing options for low-income people, with nearly all this money going to support work in Washington State.
LGBT seniors in Philadelphia now have a new housing option in the “Gayborhood,” the nickname for the neighborhood where the William Way Residence opened. The 56-unit housing development, funded by the Dr. Magnus Hirshfeld Fund, is a haven for elderly LGBT folks who need affordable housing.
Doing right by America’s veterans is one of philanthropy’s biggest projects right now, and among the most complicated. Under Vikki Spruill, the Council on Foundations has put itself at the center of that action.
One irony that some housing groups face is that they’re renters, not owners, of their office spaces—and are prey to the whims of the real estate market just like many of the people they’re trying to help. Among other things, outlays for rent can jack their overhead, diverting money from services and making them less appealing to donors.
The Canadian lender TD Bank was one of the good guys during the housing boom. It didn’t gorge itself on subprime loans and end up in the crosshairs of government investigators. The bank prides itself on being a responsible company, and puts out an impressive corporate responsibility report discussing its work. Among other things, its philanthropic arm, the TD Charitable Foundation, funds in the housing sector, giving away $2.5 million a year in a competitive grant award program called “Housing for Everyone.”
If you are a nonprofit that focuses on housing, should you apply for CDFI money? It’s probably a good idea to look into it. Funding from CDFIs has increased since 2008, and appears to be a growing trend.
How do you kill the American dream? One way is to finance people in over their heads, in essence creating debtors out of hard-working people who, in a more sane economy, would be accruing assets. It appears we are ready to go down the path of deregulation again all too quickly. From the New York Times:
“Financial deregulation is similar to relaxing rules on nuclear power plants,” argue Anton Korinek of Johns Hopkins University and Jonathan Kreamer of the University of Maryland in a related working paper for the Bank for International Settlements. It makes it easier and more profitable for the utilities, their shareholders and executives. It might also help ordinary Americans get cheaper electricity. “However, it comes at a heightened risk of nuclear meltdowns that impose massive negative externalities on the rest of society.”
Read more at More Renters, Less Risk for Wall St. – NYTimes.com.
And, for a first-hand account of what it feels like to be ripped off by an unscrupulous bank: http://www.rifuture.org/the-mortgage-debt-crisis-murders-the-american-dream.html