Opportunity Fund Advocates for Extension of New Markets Tax Credit Program

Recently, Opportunity Fund staffers Gabe V. and Chris H. visited the district offices of Congressional representatives where Opportunity Fund has New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) projects, to advocate for an extension to the NMTC program, which expires at the end of the 2019 government fiscal year.

The NMTC program is an incredibly successful community economic development program run by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund. Since program inception in 2000, $42 billion in private sector capital has been invested through the program into low-income urban and rural communities throughout the country. Over 1,000,000 jobs were generated through NMTC investments between 2003-2015, including 2,000 hospitals, schools, daycare centers, homeless services facilities, and other community facilities.

At the Budokan Community Recreation Center construction site
At the Budokan Community Recreation Center construction site, with Chris H. (left), Steven Chow from Rep. Jimmy Gomez’s office (second from left), and the Little Tokyo Service Center staff.

Opportunity Fund has financed 24 projects throughout California, totaling $295 million invested, including non-profit community facilities, a “food desert” retail project, and Native American jobs projects using NMTC. In FY2018, Opportunity Fund’s projects served almost 400,000 unique low-income clients.

Gabe and Chris spoke with staff of Reps. Adam SchiffJimmy GomezTony CardenasJuan Vargas, and Barbara Lee to educate them about the benefits of the NMTC program for low income communities and advocate for the program’s extension. Examples of the projects and their impacts in the districts of these Congressmen are the Dream Center and LA Family Housing.

Visiting the projects with the staff of Congressional representatives helped illustrate the impact of the work of our non-profit partners and helped connect the dots to why the NMTC program is so important to our non-profit partners in low income communities, and why this program must be extended and made permanent.

Gabe V. (far left) and Chris H. (far right) with the FHCSD staff and Janine Pairis Bryant from Rep. Vargas’ office
Gabe V. (far left) and Chris H. (far right) with the FHCSD staff and Janine Pairis Bryant from Rep. Vargas’ office.

For example, Opportunity Fund and Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) met with Janine Pairis Bryant from Rep. Vargas’ office at FHCSD’s FamilyHealth – Youth Counseling Center, which opened in November 2017, and for which Opportunity Fund provided $8,000,000 in NMTC investment to finance construction.  The Youth Counseling Center provides provides caring, affordable, high-quality health care and support services to at-risk youth, with a special commitment to the uninsured, low-income and medically underserved. In addition to counseling, the Center also partners with other agencies and organizations to provide services such as speech therapy to developmentally disabled children. In the 7 months from when it opened through 6/30/18, the facility served 1,728 unique individuals, all at-risk youth. 93.1% of the clients were low-income and 71.8% minorities.

The completed FHCSD’s FamilyHealth – Youth Counseling Center
The completed FHCSD’s FamilyHealth – Youth Counseling Center. Opportunity Fund provided $8,000,000 in NMTC investment to finance construction.