Sunrise Banks forges affordable housing group

Sunrise Banks said it is teaming with Aeon and three local foundations to create a pilot program designed to preserve hundreds of units of affordable housing in the Twin Cities.

The St. Paul-based bank announced the news in early January, calling its venture with Aeon, the Minneapolis Foundation, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation and the Frey Foundation an “innovative” initiative intended to begin easing the Twin Cities growing shortage of affordable housing.

“Affordable housing is key to financially stable and successful communities,” Sunrise Banks CEO David Reiling said in press statement. “Our creation of the Sunrise Banks Community Impact CDC and our partnership with these local organizations is something we’re very proud of and a great accomplishment for everyone involved.”

Under the program, Sunrise Banks has created a community impact development corporation (CDC) to pool its funds and those from outside investors to finance the purchase of existing rental properties, thus ultimately preserving about 600 units of affordable housing for low-income individuals and families. Aeon, a nonprofit developer, owner and manager of affordable homes, will manage the properties. The partnership believes its program could become a model to be used across the country.

CDCs are corporate entities used to invest in community development projects. Aeon will use the funds to acquire and preserve naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH) units in the Twin Cities. NOAHs are properties that have aged and are now classified as affordable.

“The problem our community is facing is so great that we must tackle it together,” Aeon CEO Alan Arthur said in a news statement. “The problem just gets worse as we see affordable housing properties gobbled up and converted into high-rent apartments. Through this collaboration, we are ensuring the stability of homes for hundreds of residents.”

Affordable housing is an issue across the country. The Twin Cities Metro has lost more affordable housing than it added since 2011, according to the Metropolitan Council.

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