The Better Housing Coalition Receives $500,000 Loan from Mercy Loan Fund and Bon Secours Health System

Thanks to a $500,000 loan and an extended line of credit from Mercy Loan Fund and the Bon Secours Health System, the Better Housing Coalition in Richmond, Va., will be able to expand its development of high-quality, affordable workforce housing in the Blackwell neighborhood more rapidly.

Denver—Thanks to a $500,000 loan and an extended line of credit from Mercy Loan Fund and the Bon Secours Health System, the Better Housing Coalition in Richmond, Va., will be able to expand its development of high-quality, affordable workforce housing in the Blackwell neighborhood more rapidly. With this new funding, more than 60 individuals and families at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income ($60,500 for a family of four) will be able to purchase their first homes—and many of them will be the first in their families to do so.

Mercy Loan Fund has made loans to Better Housing Coalition (BHC) since 2002. BHC has traditionally used the funds to develop or renovate historic homes in Richmond’s Church Hill neighborhood to sell to low- to middle-income first-time buyers. BHC expanded its single-family home development to Blackwell as part of a larger development funded, in part, by the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. To support these efforts, Mercy Loan Fund recently approved a new construction loan product to better meet the needs of BHC. This type of financing is typically very difficult to obtain from a traditional bank.

As far back as 1874, Blackwell was known for its many African-American-owned businesses created by workers and merchants who lived near businesses that employed them. In the 1950s and 1960s, much of Blackwell was developed into public housing, and extreme poverty, crime and drugs overtook the area. In 1997, the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority (RRHA) identified Blackwell as a HUD HOPE VI Redevelopment Area. The substandard public housing units were demolished and BHC, in partnership with the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority committed to building a large section of the neighborhood in a manner reminiscent of the intact portions of the neighborhood built in the early twentieth century. Single-family homes produced by BHC and others support the overall transformation and stabilization of the community.