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Latino Daily News

Saturday June 16, 2012

HUD, USDA and Treasury Step Up Efforts to Fight Poverty in Border Communities

HUD, USDA and Treasury Step Up Efforts to Fight Poverty in Border Communities

Photo: Us-Mexico border fence

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development (USDA-RD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced a joint “Border Community Capital Initiative” (Border Initiative), a collaboration designed to increase access to capital in the U.S./Mexico border region which includes some of the poorest communities in the country.

The three agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will offer up to $200,000 to nonprofit and/or tribal financial institutions serving colonias for direct investment and technical assistance focusing on affordable housing, small businesses, and community facilities. Colonias are communities along the U.S./Mexico border struggling with chronic poverty, the lack of drinking water, inadequate sewage systems, and a shortage of decent, safe and sanitary housing.

The lack of stable funding and capacity among the organizations serving the colonias is a major barrier in the effectiveness of federal programs. The Border Initiative will assist local financial institutions improve their capacity to raise capital, increase lending, and boost investment it in their communities.

Resources offered through the Border Initiative will support activities such as loan or investment capital, loan loss reserves, program staff costs, information systems, market studies, portfolio analyses and business planning. Applicants may propose to expand lending or investing in affordable housing, small business and/or community facilities that benefits colonias communities or the current low income residents of colonias. Applicants may also propose to secure new sources of capital for existing activities such as these.