Most people would be thankful for just one helping hand, but a District-based development initiative is planning to lend out several. Enterprise Community Partners Faith-Based Development Initiative (ECP) is planning to help local houses of worship and other faith-based groups bring 629 affordable housing units to blighted areas over the next few years.

With 14 units presently open within the metro area and 214 units currently under construction, ECP is working diligently to ensure its goal is completed. The company recently hosted its fourth annual workshop series on April 8, a two-part series that provided groups with an overview of the public money available for financing development projects and tutorials on asset management.

With offices situated around the country, efforts to help the District area have been the most concentrated. Over the last few years, the company has provided more than $125 million in capital to support affordable housing efforts in the D.C. area alone.

“Our goal is to get new units of housing developed that serve low and modern income people in the D.C. metro area,” said Vice President David Bowers. “Our approach to doing that is to connect with houses of worship who own land that’s undeveloped or underdeveloped and connect them with intellectual and financial capital, money and expertise.”

Serving as a liaison between aspiring developers and capital resources has placed ECP in a prestigious light among local faith-based groups. More than 160 area groups have attended the company’s 22 training sessions and 10 networking luncheons over the past four years, a number that will likely grow when the company hosts another training session on May 6.

“In a market like this, even with the downturn there’s still a huge gap between what people can afford and the actual supply of housing available to them,” Bowers said.

ECP’s impressive catalog of connections with legal assistants, developers and development consultants ensures that finding adequate assistance is more than easy for interested church groups. With over $15 million of investments in grants, loans and tax credit equity, ECP is one of the few leading companies in the region giving back to the community.

Although ECP has already done more than enough to help local families, their goal of expanding is still unfinished. The prospect of continuing to grow and support those in need is something that excites Bowers and his company.

Said Bowers, “This year and years to come, I think we’re going to be excited to see how many units come online across the region that are really going to serve people and working families.”

For more information: contact Jennifer Bonsall at 202-649-3923 or jbonsall@entreprisecommunity.org.

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO