Facebook, LISC Team Up for Affordable Housing


EAST PALO ALTO and MENLO PARK — The Catalyst Housing Fund has tapped a national nonprofit with close ties to the Bay Area to grow its capital base to $75 million and invest in quality affordable housing developments that address pressing needs in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

The Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) will manage the start-up fund that was recently seeded with $18.5 million from Facebook in partnership with key community organizations and the cities of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park. LISC plans to quadruple the size of the fund over five years working with its national network of corporate and philanthropic partners and drawing on expertise gained over its 40 years of community development work – including more than $13 billion in affordable housing investments.

According to the partners, collectively known as Envision Transform Build-East Palo Alto (ETB), the Catalyst Housing Fund expects to begin financing affordable housing projects this fall. Housing Trust Silicon Valley will contribute capital and lending capacity to help support this effort.

“We welcome LISC to this partnership with our local communities to help address our region’s affordable housing crisis,” said Elliot Schrage, Facebook vice president for public policy and communications. “LISC’s success in bringing new voices, ideas, and investments to the Catalyst Housing Fund will help the fund reach its $75 million target and accelerate development of affordable housing for our neighbors. The future of Silicon Valley as an engine of economic opportunity depends on harnessing our shared interest and scaling effective community partnerships like this one.”

“It’s taken us a lot of hard work to get here, and we’re excited to begin working with LISC on rehabilitating, preserving, and building affordable housing,” said Tameeka Bennett, ETB spokesperson. “For us as community groups in East Palo Alto, it was important to choose a fund manager that can not only scale the fund up for maximum impact, but one that is invested in providing local programs for non-profit organizations to increase capacity and shore-up infrastructure on the ground. It was also important for us to find an organization that was willing to come in and partner with our community. LISC offers programs and services that we believe East Palo Alto and other surrounding communities can benefit from. It is our hope that similar communities challenged by displacement and gentrification will be inspired to use this model to make a dent in the regional housing crisis.”

“We’re one step closer to battling the regional housing crisis with LISC joining the partnership to help grow the Catalyst Housing Fund,” said East Palo Alto Mayor Larry Moody. “The people of East Palo Alto and our neighboring communities deserve affordable housing options right here in the neighborhoods they call home. This growing partnership shows that through collaboration we can find solutions to challenges in our region.”

“We are honored and excited to be chosen to help this incredible coalition of community groups, including Facebook, bring quality affordable housing to East Palo Alto and Menlo Park,” said Maurice Jones, LISC CEO. “Quality housing accessible to the entirety of the diversity represented in a region is an essential ingredient of a healthy, growing community with broadly shared prosperity.  We look forward to helping to leverage resources and expertise from the community and across America to this pioneering effort.”

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