By Melanie Ave
The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently awarded the LCMS National Housing Support Corp., or Lutheran Housing Support (LHS), a $78,179 grant the organization will use to expand its ability to provide loans in low-income and economically distressed communities.
LHS CEO Nicole Ridley said the grant is the organization’s first step toward becoming a community development financial institution.
The special designation from the Department of the Treasury allows organizations to obtain and distribute low-interest loan funds to community development projects throughout the United States.
Because of the grant, LHS can build its internal capacity and create the infrastructure necessary to provide low-interest loans to LCMS congregations, districts, LCMS Recognized Service Organizations and their partners engaged in affordable home ownership and neighborhood revitalization efforts.
The LHS grant was one of 191 totaling $172 million awarded by the Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund on Sept. 24.
“This award is monumental and serves to strengthen who we are and what we do,” Ridley said. “One of our goals is to provide more capital to LCMS entities and their partners in support of their projects in this vital ministry area, and with the CDFI grant, we are more strongly positioned to accomplish this goal.”
The LCMS created LHS, a separately incorporated nonprofit, in 2007 to provide resources and support LCMS entities striving to improve housing in their communities.
From 2011 to 2013, LHS provided grants totaling $397,413 to 31 organizations and project support to 71 organizations in 21 states including the District of Columbia.
LCMS housing ministry has partnered with congregations and community leaders in the Ezra Housing project in Chicago, the Lutheran Community Outreach Center in Fort Wayne, Ind., and the Nehemiah housing development in Brooklyn, N.Y. With more than 4,000 homes constructed as part of Nehemiah, the community is now a model for successful, faith-based neighborhood renewal.
The latest project of LHS is the 20-home Nazareth Homes development in the College Hill neighborhood of St. Louis. A model home was completed in August and the first homeowner will move this fall into the second home currently under construction. The list price for the 1,300-plus-square-foot homes — built in partnership with a local builder and Laborers For Christ workers — is $85,000.
To learn more about LHS, visit nationalhousingsupport.org.
Melanie Ave is senior writer and social media coordinator for LCMS Communications.
Updated October 16, 2013