One of the highlights of UHW’s financial strategy is their robust loan pool structure, which draws upon large donor bases established throughout various congregations and corporations in the Twin Cities. UHW describes the loan pool as a "social investment" lending opportunity that provides both social and economic returns.
The structure is simple: investors purchase interests in a single asset LLC, earn a reasonable rate of return of their choosing, and their dollars go directly to the development of dignified, equitable housing for people in their local community. After the success of their first loan pool, which yielded 86 scattered-site housing units, UHW is just $500,000 away from closing their second pool. Follow the link to learn more about investing in Loan Pool 2.0.
Schwitters attributes the success of the loan pools to what he regards as a deep desire within people to be part of something both “meaningful and proximate.”
There are lots of people who have more than they need, but need help to connect their resources to things that matter. -Chad Schwitters
Schwitters hopes to make it increasingly easy for people to invest in UHW’s community development work. He describes a time in the future when investing in community equity projects is as easy as buying stocks online.
If you can open an E-trade account and put your excess capital on Wall Street in 20 minutes, then you should be able to open a community equity trust account on our website and put your excess capital on West Broadway and Lake Street in 20 minutes. –Chad Schwitters
Another central part of UHW’s financial strategy is the acquisition process, which hinges on the organization’s ability to negotiate sales directly with landlords who already own parcels of assets in the community.
A boon for the process is that many landlords are already looking for ways to get out of owning the properties, which they feel have become financial and/or moral liabilities. The key for UHW then has been to develop and maintain relationships with area landlords and be able to anticipate and act quickly when properties become available. In reclaiming the properties, UHW invites families to move into an equitable, affordable rental contract with culturally competent, relationally engaged, and socially supportive landlords.
In other instances, UHW works with local government entities to acquire properties that the City and/or other agencies have had to foreclose. Partnering with local governments during times of foreclosure is how one of UHW’s larger projects got its start.
Photos by Patrick Photography, 2014.