The Kresge Foundation in Troy, Michigan, has announced a $10 million program-related equity investment in the National Housing Trust for the creation of multi-family mixed-income properties in high-opportunity neighborhoods. The foundation also awarded a three-year, $150,000 grant to NHT in support of its policy work.
The investment is part of a new channel of work for the foundation's social investing team focused on mixed-income, mixed-use developments that promote health and equity, are adaptive to and foster resiliency to climate change, and are transit-oriented. Starting this winter, NHT will launch projects that include substantial energy-efficiency improvements and are located in blue-ribbon school districts in Baltimore, Chicago, New Jersey, and West Hartford, Connecticut. Coordinating with local housing agencies, NHT hopes to make at least 20 percent of the units available to Section 8 renters.
While investing in mixed-income, mixed-use development as a way to bolster outcomes for low-income people isn't new, the foundation is hoping to learn more about the benefits of such developments for low-income residents. To that end, Kresge evaluators will track education outcomes for students living in the developments to determine whether increasing the number of affordable housing units in areas with high-performing schools leads to better student outcomes among low-income families.
"We believe that the right housing opportunities can provide a platform for greater family stability and life outcomes for low-income people," said Kimberlee Cornett, managing director of Kresge's Social Investment Practice. "By investing in developments that are both affordable and in proximity to high-quality schools, retail districts and transit, we think we can improve outcomes for vulnerable people and demonstrate the importance of looking at affordable housing in the broader context of the community in which it's located."