By Lawrence Hammond

CPC is proud to partner with Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) on New York state’s new Legacy Cities homeownership program to transform blighted structures into newly renovated, move-in-ready homes.

A legacy city is one that flourished in the early-to-mid 20th century but has since struggled to recover from significant population loss and economic decline following industry withdrawal. Albany, Syracuse and many other legacy cities in Upstate New York are historic examples of areas teeming with potential for new growth.

The Legacy Cities Program will invest $25 million into efforts that target blighted properties owned by land banks in upstate cities. The land banks will transfer portfolios of up to three family properties to local developers, with a preference for minority/women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE). After these properties have been rehabilitated, sales will be prioritized for first-time purchasers of color and low-income households.

The rehabilitated properties will be required to meet certain sustainability standards, including elimination of all fossil fuels where possible. This will be done through design improvements, like installing electric on-demand water heaters or air-source heat pumps for heating and cooling.

By working to eliminate vacant properties in cities throughout New York state, CPC believes we can enable and grow the revitalization efforts that are underway in many underserved neighborhoods, especially those impacted by the foreclosure crisis.

Empowering BIPOC homebuyers with lending opportunities

While many legacy cities are filled with rich history and local pride, they unfortunately share historic discriminatory tendencies that are a larger detriment to communities than blight itself. Lending discrimination and redlining practices are examples of policies that have contributed to a significant homeownership gap in communities of color.

CPC is partnering with the state to address the racial gap in homeownership, recognizing the need to create generational wealth and equity through affordable homeownership opportunities. CPC will facilitate this effort by prioritizing sales to first-time purchasers of color and low-income households in an attempt to counteract generations of discriminatory lending practices in these areas and empower underserved communities.

Investing in developers who support BIPOC communities

CPC acknowledges change must come from the top. This means we must be intentional in not only who we lend to, but also who we develop with. By promoting and enabling greater diversity and inclusion in the development industry, we can double down on our efforts to counteract historic discrimination in legacy cities.

This is why CPC has chosen to invest in small, local developers of color to help grow their businesses in the communities where they live and work. Our support can help these developers create jobs while impacting positive change to authentically serve these neighborhoods.

We seek to provide a space for developers of color to build their capacity and experience, and therefore build better communities. By bringing diverse minds to the table and adding to the existing pool of developers, these efforts help increase competition and innovation, which ultimately benefits our state in spades. Amid a state- and country-wide crisis in housing affordability and quality, it’s even more critical that we expand our resources and capacity to build and preserve housing. CPC believes that encouraging the growth of local developers must be part of that effort.

CPC will work with the chosen developers and provide funding for the program through our ACCESS initiative. Launched in 2020, the initiative provides capital and pre-development support to Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) developers and real estate entrepreneurs, and targets high-quality housing projects in communities of color.

Leveraging partnerships to combat racial inequality

While designing ACCESS last year, CPC prioritized leveraging partnerships that would push us beyond our existing capital products and offerings. While these core pillars of CPC remain vital to our purpose, they also place us in a position of privilege to do more. They provide an opportunity to intentionally focus on addressing racial inequalities in BIPOC communities in a thoughtful and comprehensive manner.

This partnership with the state helps move the needle in multiple spaces where change is needed most. The Legacy Cities Program will address the racial gap in homeownership through affordable opportunities while enabling greater diversity and inclusion in the development industry. Through these measures, we hope to promote an equitable housing industry for all.

See Original Article at The Business Journals