Across the country, rapidly changing housing markets are posing challenges and causing uncertainty for homebuyers, homeowners, and renters alike. These challenges are particularly acute in areas where investors are swooping in to buy up single-family homes. A new report, “Investor Home Purchases and the Rising Threat to Owners and Renters: Tales from 3 Cities” by Reinvestment Fund and the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University, examines housing markets in Jacksonville, FL; Philadelphia, PA; and Richmond, VA, and finds that more than 1 in 5 homes sold go from homeowners to investors. Such sales were most common in neighborhoods with low sale prices, high vacancy and elevated mortgage denial rates, and in areas with higher shares of Black or Hispanic residents. Heightened investor activity is pricing out current homebuyers, limiting inventory for future homebuyers, and in some cases leaving tenants paying more for worse quality units. This trend presents a host of challenges for people just looking for a place to live. The situation requires a coordinated and targeted policy response at the federal, state and local levels to help homebuyers compete with investors and protect renters.
As part of Reinvestment Fund’s mission to build more equitable communities, we continue to support the financial health of institutions of higher education and fund capital projects. Reinvestment Fund financing helped the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) develop a new career-based education and training center in West Philadelphia. This past summer, CCP hosted a grand opening for the state-of-the-art center, inviting project partners and community members to tour the facility. Now open, the center will provide employment skills in automotive technology, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare. The facility will also include space for CCP’s existing Power Up Your Business program, a neighborhood-based entrepreneurship program for small businesses.
Earlier this fall, Reinvestment Fund commissioned a report entitled A Call to Action for HBCU Investment produced by Brookings Metro. The report is part of our commitment to understanding and meeting the needs of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as critical institutions in the communities in which they operate. Brookings Metro also hosted an event examining the report’s findings, which lay out a roadmap for private, philanthropic, and government institutions to provide capital to HBCUs and maximize community development impact.
Sister Nora Nash, one of Reinvestment Fund’s longest-standing and most cherished investors, has retired from her role as the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. An accomplished activist, investor, and spiritual leader, she managed the assets of her congregation—overseeing the congregation’s investments, community development loans, and social justice grant programs. With Sister Nora Nash at the helm, the congregation made waves as being one of the most unlikely, yet highly effective, corporate activist groups.
But what is less known is that their longstanding involvement with community development financial institutions (CDFIs), like the Reinvestment Fund, was part of their humble start to using investment as a means to achieve social justice. The Sisters of St. Francis’ direct investments in the community are a complement to their shareholder advocacy strategies. Although our partnership with the Sisters of St. Francis will continue, Sister Nora is moving on to dive deeper into social justice advocacy and above all, to continue to be a compassionate presence in the world. Her projects range from fighting for environmental justice locally, like in the city of Chester, Pa; to leading seminars to educate the Sisters in her congregation on its importance. For Sister Nora, uplifting communities is a lifelong mission, and the Reinvestment Fund is blessed to have called her one of our most consistent and passionate investors, partner, and friend for the past 30 years.
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