Photo by Todd Clarke
Ventana Fund provides low-interest loans and related services to affordable housing developers who serve New Mexico’s low-income residents and high-need communities.
Ventana Fund was established in 2014 to meet the critical need for an increased supply of financing for affordable housing construction and rehabilitation in New Mexico. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation organized by private citizens and housing professionals who are dedicated to increasing the number of decent affordable homes available to New Mexico’s lower-income residents. Ventana Fund was certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in March 2015.
Ventana Fund is committed to financing affordable housing in low-income communities, under served by traditional financial institutions.
Our target markets in New Mexico include low-income populations earning less than 80 percent area median income. Ventana Fund also focuses on hard-to-finance projects, such as older rental projects needing rehabilitation.
There is a great need for affordable housing in New Mexico–our state has the second highest poverty rate in the nation and is among the lowest in median household income.
Many New Mexico families, especially renters, cannot find decent affordable housing. The conventional standard for affordability is that housing costs should not exceed 30 percent of a household’s income, particularly for vulnerable lower-income families. Yet, according to the the U.S. Census, almost half of New Mexico’s renters pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing, and a quarter pay more than 50 percent.
The vast majority of New Mexicans with affordable housing needs are working but do not earn a livable wage. Federal housing subsidies are so limited that less than one out of six New Mexicans who qualify for housing assistance actually receive it. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that an additional 40,000 affordable rental units are needed to adequately address this problem for the lowest-income renters (renters earning 30 percent area median income or below) in New Mexico (Housing Spotlight, March 2015).
How Ventana Fund Meets the Challenge
Ventana Fund is committed to dramatically increasing the amount of low-interest rate loans available to qualified housing developers who build and rehabilitate affordable housing.
About a dozen accomplished housing developers in New Mexico, both for-profit and nonprofit, work hard to produce high-quality, affordable rental housing. These developers add hundreds of housing units to New Mexico’s affordable housing inventory each year. Collectively, they want to do more and can do more. But housing at below-market rents can only be built with below-market rate financing. The availability of that low-cost capital is the limiting factor that Ventana Fund works to overcome. We focus on early-stage financing for land acquisition, pre-development and construction, because financing for those costs are typically the hardest to obtain. Our interest rates are typically 2 to 3 percent.