Cincinnati Development Fund wins $750k grant from Treasury Department

The Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF) was awarded a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) grant program last week.

Officials with CDF say that the organization applied for $2 million, but received the maximum amount awarded to any one organization that received funding.

The money comes at an important time for the organization as it works to provide loan capital for real estate development projects that are currently under-served by traditional lenders.  To make projects more appealing, CDF injects loan capital to help diversify the investment, thus reducing a traditional lender's risk.

"This will provide much needed loan capital for our projects in an environment that has not been good," said Joseph Huber, Chief Operating Officer, Cincinnati Development Fund.  "This helps tremendously at providing the loan capital we need to support our loan funds."

Cincinnati Development Fund officials say that the money will not go to support operating costs for the non-profit, but instead will go completely into the organization's loan fund.

Presently, CDF is trying to build the next loan fund to $15 million with the help of grants, tax credits, and other partners.  So far CDF has raised close to $5 million of that total, but officials expect that gap to close quickly once commitments are reached with financial institutions.  The next three year loan pool will begin September 2010, and is expected to include a number of new financial institutions including Cheviot Savings Bank.

Huber notes that the money has not been earmarked for any particular project, but could go to support any number of projects occurring within the Cincinnati Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) which includes parts of southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky, and southeast Indiana.

"CDF has a great history, and there is a real challenge when it comes to quality affordable housing," said U.S. Representative Steve Driehaus (D-OH).  "There tends to be housing available, but it has often been neglected.  Organizations like CDF help to provide the needed quality affordable housing, and the gap financing they provide is really key to the process."

Recent projects benefited by the Cincinnati Development Fund include City West in the West End, Schoolhouse Lofts in Walnut Hills, and the Dandridge Studio Townhomes in Pendleton.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
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