New Hampshire Community Loan Fund
Residents of the Meredith Village Co-op – the first co-op in the state and the Loan Fund’s first loan – celebrate their 10th anniversary in 1994. Photo by Dan Habib.
Lending money to provide affordable housing, child care and jobs
The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund was incubated by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation in 1983. It raises funds from individuals and institutions to form an aggregate pool of money from which fixed-rate loans can be made. The loans are targeted at low- to moderate-income residents who want to own their homes, access quality child care, have stable jobs and become financially independent.
The Community Loan Fund was founded in 1983. Its first initiative was the Manufactured Housing Park Program. The residents of the Meredith Center Trailer Park were facing eviction; an out-of-state developer was about to buy the land beneath their homes. None of the residents had enough cash or credit to do anything about it individually. What may seem like an obvious solution now was unheard-of then: The residents banded together and bought the park. A loan through the Manufactured Housing Park Program allowed the residents to achieve their goal.
What was then a progressive idea is now a proven success thanks to the Community Loan Fund. Statewide, 90 manufactured housing cooperatives provide affordable homes to 5,000 families. The program has become an award-winning national model for such communities. Now the Community Loan Fund is adapting that model — not only to stave off the disappearance of affordable housing, but also to create new affordable housing.
In addition to the Manufactured Housing Park Program, the Community Loan Fund supports several other programs on affordable housing and economic opportunity for marginalized groups. Loans are also available to child care facilities and nonprofit organizations for expansion, renovation, and building purchases. Loans are made from a lending pool of nearly $50 million. Over the past 25 years, the Community Loan Fund has made more than 1,400 loans for a total of $100 million. It has never failed to repay a lender. Through its community loans, 6,200 affordable housing units, 2,400 child care and school spaces, and almost 1,500 jobs have been created or preserved across New Hampshire.
In 2009, The Community Loan Fund received the most prestigious honor in its field: the Wachovia NEXT Award for Opportunity Finance. The prize included a $500,000 grant and a $5 million investment in their fund.
Learn more about the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund at www.communityloanfund.org.