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Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago Announces New Grant Programs Aimed at Increasing Diversity in Affordable Housing Development and Small Business Growth

CHICAGO, April 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (FHLBank Chicago) today announced three program offerings designed to address critical affordable housing and community economic development needs in Illinois and Wisconsin. Two new programs target development and access to affordable housing, while an enhanced capacity building program will provide needed support for small businesses.

Community First Diverse Developer Initiative, Housing Counseling Resource Program, Accelerate Grants for Small Business

“Our 2022 Targeted Community Lending Plan has identified additional investment opportunities in the diverse communities we serve in Illinois and Wisconsin,” said Katie Naftzger, vice president, head of community investments, FHLBank Chicago. “To improve outcomes and expand access to opportunities for new real estate developers, home buyers and small businesses, we are bringing new resources to the table. Our three new programs will create lasting impact for individuals and communities. and increase market scale, from which all FHLBank Chicago member financial institutions will also benefit.”

The Community First® Diverse Developer Initiative and the Community First® Housing Counseling Resource Program provide grants and support to bring diverse and underserved developers and homebuyers into the housing market. FHLBank Chicago will also shift its existing Community First® Capacity Building Grants program to focus on small businesses in 2022, with the rollout of the new Community First® Accelerated Grants for Small Businesses. This program will provide flexible grant funds to strengthen small businesses located in Illinois and Wisconsin.

In total, FHLBank Chicago has committed $11.25 million to support these programs for three years (2022-2024). These programs reflect an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and will have lasting impact for individual beneficiaries, members and their communities. Since 1989, FHLBank Chicago has awarded more than $790 million in grants and funds to help provide housing for eligible low- and middle-income households and support small businesses. These new programs will expand that support.

“We continue to innovate and create new programs to meet the needs of our member communities in Illinois and Wisconsin,” said Michael Ericson, President and CEO of FHLBank Chicago. “These new voluntary programs build on the success of our General Affordable Housing Program Fund, Downpayment Plus®, Community First® Fund, Community First® Capacity-Building Grant Program and Community First® Disaster Relief Program. whose Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago fulfills its mission to support the community investment activities of our members.”

Community First® Diverse Developer InitiativeThe Community First® Diverse Developer Initiative will provide grant funds to support career/talent development initiatives for various affordable housing developers in Illinois and Wisconsin. This program grew out of discussions with the FHLBank Chicago Community Investment Advisory Council, a group of industry leaders from Illinois and Wisconsin that guides FHLBank Chicago’s affordable housing and community lending strategy. The Advisory Council’s Racial Equity Task Force has identified a critical need for resources to advance diversity and equity within the affordable housing development industry.

“It is inspiring to see Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago not only leading initiatives to support equity and inclusion, but doing so in a creative and intentional way that is tied to tangible, objective goals and outcomes. “, said Kevin Newell, founder and CEO of Royal Capital. “I am confident that this diverse development initiative will serve as a guide for future efforts to increase minority representation in housing development and improve the landscape and trajectory of our communities.”

Eligible recipient organizations include, but are not limited to: Various development companies seeking to expand their expertise; Talent development programs dedicated to increasing diversity within the affordable housing industry; Trade/professional associations that support various developers; and Established development companies looking to provide internship opportunities for various developers. Grant funds can be used to support various developers in one of three avenues: internships, training, or mission-driven investments. The competitive application round for the Diverse Developer Initiative will open on Monday, April 4 and close on Friday, May 13.

Community First® Housing Counseling Resource ProgramThe Community First® Housing Counseling Resource Program (Housing Counseling Resource Program) will provide grants to housing counseling agencies in Illinois and Wisconsin to facilitate the extension of services to buyers of owned homes. minorities and low to middle income. Two associates of FHLBank Chicago, Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), will administer the Housing Counseling Resource Program on behalf of FHLBank Chicago.

Eligible recipient organizations include HUD-approved housing counseling organizations in Illinois and Wisconsin. Organizations may use grant funds for capacity-building activities that expand organizational reach to minority and low-to-moderate income homebuyers, including, but not limited to: marketing activities and awareness; Program staffing (eg, hiring an additional housing counselor or bilingual staff member, allocating a percentage of staff time to work in underserved communities, etc.); and technological upgrades that facilitate expanded service to these underserved populations.

“IHDA is committed to removing barriers and making housing safe, affordable and stable for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity or income,” said IHDA Chief Executive Officer, Kristin Faust. “The Housing Counseling Resource Program will provide vital education and resources to help households who continually feel homeownership is out of reach. IHDA is proud to partner with FHLBank Chicago to make the dream of ‘homeownership a reality in communities across the state.’

Community First® Accelerated Grants for Small BusinessesFHLBank Chicago will also roll out the Community First® Accelerated Grants for Small Businesses (Fast-Track Grants) in 2022, as the backbone of its previous Community First® Capacity Building Grant Program focused on nonprofit community lenders. Accelerate Grants will provide flexible grant funds to strengthen small businesses located in Illinois and Wisconsin. The application round will open on Monday August 1st and end on Friday September 9th.

About Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago

The mission of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago is to partner with our members in Illinois and Wisconsin to provide them with competitively priced financing, a reasonable return on their investment in the bank, and support for home business. community investment. FHLBank Chicago is one of 11 federal home lending banks chartered by the US Congress in 1932 to promote home ownership. Our members include banks, savings and credit unions, insurance companies and community development financial institutions throughout our district. To learn more about FHLBank Chicago, please visit fhlbc.com or follow @FHLBC on Twitter. “Downpayment Plus” and “DPP” are registered trademarks of Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.

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SOURCE Federal Mortgage Bank of Chicago

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