DEAL OF THE DAY: BP America Invests $1.1 Million in Affordable Housing Grant

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorLa Plata County, Colo.–BP America is giving a $1.1 million grant to Regional Housing Alliance of La Plata County (RHA) to establish the BP Neighbors Fund, a mortgage assistance program for families in Durango’s La Plata County, Colo.The grant from BP, to be made over two years, will finance the RHA’s Homes Fund and enable the RHA to make second mortgage loans of up to $50,000 to 20 or more low- or moderate-income families. To qualify, prospective homebuyers (multifamily and single-family) complete RHA’s homebuyer assistance counseling and education program. The RHA loans have no monthly payments and are due only when the home is resold.“This is a breakthrough program that helps families buy their first homes, the families that would otherwise be kept out of the market,” says Curtis Thomas, BP director of government and public Affairs in the Rockies. “We see it as an investment in the long-term health of the community since the fund is designed to continue supporting families for many years to come.”The contribution will fund the BP Neighbors loans intended to fill the gap between current entry-level housing prices and what a family may be able to afford. When the loans are repaid, the fund will get back the original loan amount along with a share of any appreciation in the homes value.  The fund is open to any qualified family for the purchase of housing in La Plata County.“The beauty of a program like this is that it follows the market,” Thomas explains. “If the housing market continues to appreciate, the Neighbors Fund grows and can expand its investment in future families. If the market slows down, the fund can help stimulate sales of entry-level homes.”The loan fund was designed by RHA with assistance from Enterprise Community Partners. “We recognize the importance of BP’s contribution to our community and hope it will be the first of many investments that enable RHA to expand this innovative second mortgage program,” says Michael Rendon, RHA Board member and Durango City Councilor. “BP is showing how a major employer can play a creative role in solving a major community problem – the lack of affordable home purchase opportunities. With this lead contribution in hand, RHA will be inviting other employers to invest in the Homes Fund.”Other sources of funding include a grant from the state of Colorado and cash affordable housing contributions pledged to La Plata County by Durango Mountain Resort.