TSAHC Partner Spotlight: Enterprise Community Partners

May 17, 2019 | by Michael Wilt

Categories: Spotlight

This post is part of our TSAHC spotlight series to help our readers get to know our mission, industry, and partners a little better. This week we interviewed Monica Gonzalez with Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) to understand the important work their organization does.

TSAHC works with Enterprise on various initiatives. We co-manage the Housing and Economic Assistance to Rebuild Texas (HEART) program with them to provide grants and technical assistance to nonprofits providing ongoing relief to households affected by Hurricane Harvey. We also collaborated with them on the Rural Housing Preservation Academy designed to help rural housing providers acquire and preserve rental housing in their respective communities. 

Tell us about the work Enterprise Community Partners does and how and where you do it.

Enterprise's mission is to create opportunities for low- and moderate-income people through affordable housing in diverse, thriving communities. Over the past 35 years, Enterprise has created nearly 585,000 homes, invested $43.6 billion and touched millions of lives.

We bring together nationwide know-how, partners, policy leadership and investment to multiply the impact of local affordable housing development. We deliver the capital, develop the programs and advocate for the policies needed to create and preserve well-designed homes that people can afford in inclusive and connected communities. We have 11 offices throughout the country including our Gulf Coast office (where I work) which serves Louisiana, Mississippi, and Hurricane Harvey impacted areas of Texas.

Can you talk about how you are funded and how you leverage those investments to make an impact in communities?

The key to our success is public-private partnerships with organizations, businesses, banks, governments and philanthropists. Enterprise has deep expertise in each of the three catalysts for systemic change: (1) impact capital, (2) innovative solutions on the ground and (3) transformative public policy. In short, Enterprise delivers the capital, develops the programs and advocates for the policies needed to create and preserve homes that people can afford. 

One example is the Section 4 Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Community Development program (Section 4), funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Enterprise is an intermediary of this annual grant program that enhances the technical and administrative capacity of organizations to carry out community development and affordable housing activities. The Section 4 grant program helps organizations find new solutions to create affordable homes and healthy neighborhoods for families, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and other low-income people.

The Section 4 program leverages private capital to achieve the greatest impact from minimal public resources. Every $1 of Section 4 leverages more than $20 in additional public and private investments — far more than the 3:1 match required.

What are the programs, policies or solutions you are most focused on currently in your region?

In the Gulf Coast and Hurricane Harvey affected areas, we are focused on resilience. We look at this in two ways — organizational and community resilience.  Our Gulf Coast office opened shortly after Hurricane Katrina, so we have worked and been through disaster recovery more frequently that we would like. Unfortunately, natural disasters are becoming more frequent, and we know disaster recovery is a long process. In the wake of natural disasters, nonprofits in some ways act as first responders providing immediate support to residents, many times without any additional funding.

Once private and federal dollars begin to flow into these nonprofits they will expand to meet the needs. From our experience, it is essential to work with nonprofits, so they can manage these funds responsibly, grow accordingly and adjust to the reality once the funds are no longer available. For us, community resilience is about building and rebuilding affordable housing in a more sustainable way, so it can be more safe and secure to withstand future disasters. We do this by helping affordable housing developers incorporate our Enterprise Green Communities standard.

We value our strong partnership with you on the HEART program and the Rural Rental Housing Preservation Academy. Can you talk a little about these two initiatives? 

Partnerships are important to our work at Enterprise. The HEART program was born after conversations with TSAHC after Hurricane Harvey to help nonprofits organizations providing housing assistance to low to moderate income families. Due to our similar focus and structure of programs, it made sense to leverage our resources and expertise to administer this joint grant program. To date, we have awarded more than $1.3 million to 32 nonprofit organizations and continue to provide technical assistance webinars to our grantees and other nonprofits throughout Texas.

The Rural Rental Housing Preservation Academy is an area where we saw an opportunity to address an underserved housing need. Oftentimes, the needs of rural areas get overlooked even though these areas are facing the same housing challenges as urban areas. We are working to address those challenges, primarily with housing preservation efforts, through our dynamic group of partners.

What’s one thing everyone should know about Enterprise Community Partners?

Enterprise —  in partnership with several other organizations and leaders — worked with Congress on the legislation that started the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.

Here's a little more information about the Enterprise Community Partners team members TSAHC works with the most.

Monica Gonzalez, Senior Program Director

Ms. Gonzalez relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after three years in Enterprise’s San Antonio office. Enterprise has invested nearly $520 million in loans, grants and equity towards the production of over 12,600 affordable homes in Louisiana and Mississippi in the years following Hurricane Katrina. Monica manages Enterprise’s capacity building and technical assistance work in the region as well as managing the Enterprise Louisiana Loan Fund and coordinating resident services for Faubourg Lafitte.

Susan Anderson, Director, Rural & Native American

Ms. Anderson works across a spectrum of national initiatives, including Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), Building Sustainable Organizations and the Rural and Native American program. In this capacity, Susan provides technical assistance to help build organizational capacity and financial sustainability for affordable housing developers and owners. She also directs the team’s grantmaking efforts, helping manage a portfolio that awards over $3 million annually. 

On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

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