HPN Wins Wells Fargo NEXT Opportunity Award

HPN was awarded $2.5 million from the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance for its expansion of the first real estate investment trust (REIT) launched by nonprofits to acquire and preserve affordable housing. It is one of three awardees sharing $8.25 million to implement new financing solutions in some of the most underserved communities in the U.S. The other awardees are Capital Impact Partners (formerly NCB Capital Impact) and Opportunity Fund.

Bledsoe Speaking at NEXT Award ceremony

Thomas Bledsoe, HPN President & CEO, delivers acceptance speech at the NEXT Awards ceremony in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 16, 2013. Photos courtesy of OFN. Photo credit: Sam Levitan.

HPN's innovative REIT, known as the Housing Partnership Equity Trust (Equity Trust), is a collaboration of HPN, 12 of its member organizations, major foundations, and financial institutions. It offers an innovative platform to raise capital to preserve and improve affordable multifamily rental properties for low- and moderate-income families and communities.

The NEXT Award will allow for the fivefold expansion of the $100 million REIT over the next two years to fund the preservation and rehabilitation of more than 7,000 units of affordable housing. Launched in December 2012, the Equity Trust has already purchased properties in Illinois, California and Virginia, and has a strong pipeline of future acquisitions.

The 12 nonprofit members of the Equity Trust are: AHC Inc.; BRIDGE Housing Corporation; Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.; Community Preservation and Development Corporation; Eden Housing, Inc.; Hispanic Housing Development Corporation; Homes for America, Inc.; LINC Housing Corporation; Mercy Housing; Nevada HAND, Inc.; The NHP Foundation; and NHT/Enterprise.

The NEXT Opportunity Awards are made by Opportunity Finance Network through the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance, the largest U.S. awards program for responsible finance. With generous support from Wells Fargo, The Kresge Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation MacArthur Foundation, the NEXT Awards honor innovative CDFIs-community lenders that invest in opportunities that benefit low-income, low-wealth and other disadvantaged communities.