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Jan22

Real estate lending transitions

Posted on Jan 22, 2013 by Eric Weaver

Opportunity Fund’s leadership and Board of Directors recently made the strategic decision to wind down our affordable housing loan program. This decision came out of a series of planning and visioning sessions over the past year that set out to examine and define Opportunity Fund’s long-term vision. The transition reflects both the changing landscape for affordable housing financing and Opportunity Fund’s vision to be a large-scale, consumer-focused microlending and microsavings institution, with our attention and resources focused on programs that directly touch and financially empower working families.  

Prior to reaching this decision, Opportunity Fund conducted extensive due diligence to ensure that our exit from the affordable housing financing market would not have a significantly negative impact externally, on affordable housing projects, or internally on our staff and operations. Opportunity Fund will continue to invest in high-impact community real estate projects through our New Markets Tax Credit Fund, which enables us to help move large-scale community projects forward while also providing earned income to subsidize our microfinance programs.  

We are deeply proud of our body of work in affordable housing lending—over almost 20 years, we have invested $110 million to help finance 8,600 new units of affordable housing. More importantly, we helped create safe, affordable, and stable places to live for people like Sharon, a single mother and former foster youth, and Edward, a senior facing retirement on a very limited income. As we wind down our affordable housing lending, this is the legacy of impact that we are proud to leave behind.

Opportunity Fund’s successful affordable housing lending would not have been possible without the remarkable contributions of many staff members over the years. In particular, we are grateful to Toby Lieberman, Martha Lopez, and the rest of their team for their careful, thoughtful, and passionate commitment to expanding access to affordable housing for the Bay Area’s working families; homeless youth, individuals, and families; seniors in poverty; youth aging out of foster care; and others in need of housing support in one of the most expensive places to live in the country.

We did not do this work alone. We deeply appreciate the stellar social service organizations and housing developers with whom we collaborated to achieve these outcomes. And our long-term funders–The Sobrato Family Foundation, The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, and many national and local banks and community development finance institutions–were true partners who shared a common vision.

We believe this transition positions Opportunity Fund to have the highest impact in pursuit of our mission to advance the well being of working people by helping them earn, save and invest in their future.

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