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PRESS RELEASE: Community Solutions announces first Jacksonville property acquisition needed to end veteran homelessness 

May 27, 2022

Media Contact: Lauren Barnes, lbarnes@community.solutions

JACKSONVILLE, FL — Today, Community Solutions, a nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness,  announced the acquisition of a property in Jacksonville, Fl to accelerate community efforts to reduce veteran homelessness. The acquisition marks the first step in a broader initiative to leverage a social impact financing model to introduce additional real estate assets within certain communities participating in Community Solutions’ Built for Zero initiative.

Built for Zero supports over 100 communities across the country that are working to measurably and equitably end homelessness, using a data-driven, systems approach. This new model will be used to acquire housing that will help select large cities accelerate their journey toward functional zero, a milestone for measurably ending homelessness for a population. The first acquisition is part of a proven social impact model to quickly close housing gaps and provide permanent, supportive housing as communities work to reach functional zero. 

David Foster, Manager of the Community Solutions Large Cities Housing Fund, said: “Through our Built for Zero initiative, we work with communities that are proving it is possible to reduce homelessness when they harness a data-driven, systems-focused approach. In the course of working toward zero, many communities — particularly large cities with tight housing markets — are also needing the means to create permanently affordable housing in a way that is faster and more adaptable than many traditional approaches allow. Thanks to this social impact investment model, we will be able to help many large cities accelerate their progress, while continuing to scale a model that offers cities across the country a way to crack this critical challenge for ending homelessness.”

As of April 26, 192 veterans were on Jacksonville’s real-time, by-name list. Of those veterans, 120 currently have a housing resource, such as a housing voucher or subsidy, and are looking for an available unit. However, there is not enough supply to move the qualified veterans into housing. Acquiring Caroline Village will help close that supply gap and provide local, permanent housing and wrap-around services.

Lenny Curry, Jacksonville Mayor, said: “I am proud of the success we continue to have in working with the public, private and philanthropic sectors to reduce homelessness in Jacksonville. Working in partnership with Community Solutions, Jacksonville was selected for this opportunity because of our proven data-driven, coordinated approach to addressing the housing needs of our most vulnerable citizens. With this acquisition, we have increased our portfolio of affordable housing units needed to be within reach of achieving functional zero.” 

Jacksonville and Community Solutions are already in the process of closing on a second facility to continue to close the housing gap and end veteran homelessness.

THE MODEL

The acquisition and conversion of housing will scale a unique and proven model that Community Solutions has deployed in Denver, Atlanta and Santa Fe. 

Social impact investing has opened up a critical pathway to addressing the housing gaps needed to get to zero. The traditional tax credit financing model used to develop affordable housing is slow, and often unable to keep up and adapt to the changing needs within a community.  In comparison, social impact financing delivers projects in less time with less cost while creating greater flexibility to meet the changing needs of a community over time.

This funding will bring housing directly to the system that serves people experiencing homelessness. In order to ensure this funding supports overall reductions in homelessness, the portion of units set aside for those experiencing homelessness will be leased directly through the homeless response system. In Built for Zero communities, these systems are designed to know everyone experiencing homelessness by name, in real time. By increasing direct access to units, communities will be able to promptly connect units with those in greatest need.  

The housing will implement approaches proven to promote long-term housing stability for all of its residents. The buildings will be leased with a 50/50 mix of units for people exiting homelessness and units for middle income individuals. Properties will also be managed using an enhanced property management model that coordinates services and support to all tenants to ensure they can stay stably housed. 

Unlike many approaches, this model is designed to create permanently affordable housing. At the end of a ten-year investment hold period, buildings will be refinanced and transitioned to non-profit ownership. This will ensure long-term affordability and mission-alignment.  

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Community Solutions is a nonprofit committed to creating a lasting end to homelessness that leaves no one behind. It leads Built for Zero, a movement of more than 90 communities in the United States working to measurably and equitably end homelessness. Using a data-driven methodology, these communities have changed how local systems work and the impact they can achieve. To date, 14 communities have reached a milestone known as functional zero, a milestone for ending homelessness for a population. Learn more at www.community.solutions or follow us at @CmtySolutions. Media Contact: Lauren Barnes, lbarnes@community.solutions

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