Press Release – April 26, 2021
Baltimore, MD – The Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) and the Developing Affordable Starter Homes (DASH) Fund are working in tandem on a pilot program to eliminate blight, increase access to affordable housing, and revitalize neighborhoods while building capacity of emerging developers. DHCD is supporting DASH in providing financing for the acquisition, renovation, and stabilization of 1-4-unit, single-family homes that are in the City’s Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund’s (NIIF) eligible neighborhoods.
The City is providing $250,000 as part of a larger initial $3-million funding of DASH. These funds will aid developers — who may not currently qualify for traditional sources of private capital — with their renovation projects. NIIF, a Community Development Financial Institution launched by the City, is providing DASH with a $2.55-million credit facility. Loans will be deployed for creating affordable homeownership opportunities in NIIF’s eligible neighborhoods.
“We are committed to revitalizing our neighborhoods while creating affordable, quality homes. Our partnership with the DASH program is a great opportunity to bring national expertise to blight elimination efforts in not only our middle neighborhoods, but also in economically disinvested and distressed areas of the city,” said DHCD Acting Commissioner Alice Kennedy. “This program opens doors, breaks down barriers, and provides capital to emerging developers to support community development and broader neighborhood revitalization.”
DASH is sponsored by the National Community Stabilization Trust (NCST), a national non-profit organization that works to restore vacant and abandoned properties to productive use and protect neighborhoods from blight. Its primary mission is to promote inclusive growth by increasing access to capital for emerging developers, many of whom are part of underrepresented groups.
“Working with community development organizations and mission-focused developers across the country, NCST knows the widespread lack of well-priced capital for small developers exacerbates inequities already baked into housing markets,” said Julia Gordon, NCST President. “DASH is an innovative public-private partnership with a triple bottom line of supporting small developers, revitalizing neighborhoods, and promoting affordable homeownership.”
NIIF is specifically targeted to invest in eligible neighborhoods that have been historically overlooked. These communities, which comprise approximately 65 percent of the city, may have assets or “green shoots,” such as public markets, public space, transit corridors or emerging housing and commercial development activity that can provide a central focus for revitalization.
“We are pleased to be partnering with DHCD to help bring NCST, a national leader in neighborhood stabilization, to Baltimore to launch this innovative new program,” said NIIF President Mark Kaufman. “DASH is a key element in our ongoing effort to bring much needed capital to neighborhoods that have been ignored for too long.
“I am excited for DASH’s ability to help small developers who do the hard work of increasing the inventory of affordable homes for sale. DASH will provide a scalable platform designed to finance them and is a critical step towards achieving a more equitable development financing system,” said Sharon Park, who will serve as DASH’s Executive Director.
DASH is expected to launch by the end of the quarter. Baltimore-based Dominion Financial Services is providing DASH with loan servicing.