Home New loan Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago Announces New Grant Programs Aimed at Increasing Diversity in Affordable Housing Development and Small Business Growth

Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago Announces New Grant Programs Aimed at Increasing Diversity in Affordable Housing Development and Small Business Growth


CHICAGO, April 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (FHLBank Chicago) today announced three program offerings designed to address critical affordable housing and community economic development needs in Illinois and Wisconsin. Two new programs target development and access to affordable housing, while an enhanced capacity building program will provide needed support for small businesses.

FHLBank Chicago (PRNewsfoto/Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago)

Community First Diverse Developer Initiative, Housing Counseling Resource Program, Accelerate Grants for Small Business

“Our 2022 Targeted Community Lending Plan has identified opportunities for additional investments in the diverse communities we serve across Illinois and Wisconsin,” noted Katie Naftzger, Vice President, Head of Community Investments, FHLBank Chicago. “To improve outcomes and expand access to opportunities for new real estate developers, home buyers and small businesses, we are bringing new resources to the table. Our three new programs will create lasting impact for individuals and communities. and increase market scale, from which all FHLBank Chicago member financial institutions will also benefit.”

Community first® Diverse Developer Initiative and community first® The Housing Counseling Resource Program provides grants and support to bring diverse and underserved developers and homebuyers into the housing market. FHLBank Chicago will also move its existing Community First® Capacity building grants program to focus on small businesses in 2022, with new Community First rolling out® Accelerated grants for small businesses. This program will provide flexible grant funds to strengthen small businesses located in Illinois and Wisconsin.

In total, FHLBank Chicago has committed $11.25 million to support these programs for three years (2022-2024). These programs reflect an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and will have lasting impact for individual beneficiaries, members and their communities. Since 1989, FHLBank Chicago has awarded more than $790 million in grants and funds to help provide housing for eligible low- and middle-income households and support small businesses. These new programs will expand that support.

“We continue to innovate and create new programs to meet the needs of our members’ communities across Illinois and Wisconsin,” noted Michael Ericson, President and CEO of FHLBank Chicago. “These new voluntary programs build on the success of our general affordable housing program fund, Downpayment Plus®community first® Community First Fund® Capacity Building and Community First Grant Program® Disaster relief program. It’s just one more way for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago fulfills its mission to support the community investment activities of our members. »

Community first® Diversified development initiative
Community first® Diverse Developer Initiative will provide grant funds to support career/talent development initiatives for diverse affordable housing developers across Illinois and Wisconsin. This program was born out of discussions with FHLBank Chicago’s Community Investment Advisory Council, a group of industry leaders Illinois and Wisconsin that informs FHLBank Chicago’s affordable housing and community lending strategy. The Advisory Council’s Racial Equity Task Force has identified a critical need for resources to advance diversity and equity within the affordable housing development industry.

“It is inspiring to see the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago not only to lead initiatives to support equity and inclusion, but to do so in a creative and intentional way that is linked to tangible, objective goals and outcomes,” said Kevin Newell, founder and CEO of Royal Capital. “I am confident that this diverse development initiative will serve as a guide for future efforts to increase minority representation in housing development and improve the landscape and trajectory of our communities.”

Eligible recipient organizations include, but are not limited to: Various development companies seeking to expand their expertise; Talent development programs dedicated to increasing diversity within the affordable housing industry; Trade/professional associations that support various developers; and Established development companies looking to provide internship opportunities for various developers. Grant funds can be used to support various developers in one of three avenues: internships, training, or mission-driven investments. The competitive application round for the Diverse Developer Initiative will open Monday april 4thand close Friday May 13.

Community first® Housing Counseling Resource Program
Community first® The Housing Counseling Resource Scheme (Housing Counseling Resource Scheme) will provide grants to housing counseling agencies in Illinois and Wisconsin to facilitate expanded service to minority and low-to-middle income homebuyers. Two associates of FHLBank Chicago, Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), will administer the Housing Counseling Resource Program on behalf of FHLBank Chicago.

Eligible recipient organizations include HUD-approved housing counseling organizations in Illinois and Wisconsin. Organizations may use grant funds for capacity-building activities that expand organizational reach to minority and low-to-moderate income homebuyers, including, but not limited to: marketing activities and awareness; Program staffing (eg, hiring an additional housing counselor or bilingual staff member, allocating a percentage of staff time to work in underserved communities, etc.); and technological upgrades that facilitate expanded service to these underserved populations.

“IHDA is committed to removing barriers and making housing safe, affordable and stable for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity or income,” said IHDA’s Executive Director. Christine Faust. “The Housing Counseling Resource Program will provide vital education and resources to help households who continually feel homeownership is out of reach. IHDA is proud to partner with FHLBank Chicago to make the dream of ‘homeownership a reality in communities across the state.’

Community first® Accelerated Grants for Small Businesses
FHLBank Chicago will also roll out Community First® Accelerate Grants for Small Business (Accelerate Grants) in 2022, as a pivot of its previous Community First® Capacity building grants program focused on non-profit community lenders. Accelerate Grants will provide flexible grant funds to strengthen small businesses located in Illinois and Wisconsin. The application round will open on monday august 1st and close on friday september 9.

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago

The mission of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago is to partner with our members in Illinois and Wisconsin provide them with financing at competitive prices, a reasonable return on their investment in the Bank and support for community investment activities. FHLBank Chicago is one of 11 federal home lending banks chartered by the US Congress in 1932 to promote home ownership. Our members include banks, savings and credit unions, insurance companies and community development financial institutions throughout our district. To learn more about FHLBank Chicago, visit fhlbc.com or follow @FHLBC on Twitter. “Downpayment Plus” and “DPP” are registered trademarks of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.



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SOURCE Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago