Establishing local partnerships and identifying opportunities to address financial barriers for very low-income residents struggling to rebuild following the Hurricanes of 2017.
In December of 2020, the Inclusivity Institute received a grant from United Fidelity Bank to examine ways we could explore expanding the Family Assistance Program in St. Croix or provide capacity support for other CRA-aligned investment ideas to help stabilize and expand opportunities for low- income residents.
- Offer CRA-relevant ideas to help foster long-term housing and economic stability for low-income residents of St. Croix
- Provide staff capacity to support these programs, partnerships and ideas for service.
Since then, we have been holding stakeholder calls with numerous local non-profit and philanthropic organizations and the VI housing finance agency to gain a fuller understanding of what the biggest barriers to housing and economic stability for low-income residents are in St. Croix.
Through those conversations, we have generated ideas that are responsive to those priorities and innovative in using financial tools to address unmet needs.
Key Barriers Identified:
- Long delays and repayment requirements are preventing low-income residents from making urgent repairs to their home following Hurricanes
- Lack of affordable rental housing stock (new development and rehab is needed and relief workers have displaced low-income renters from previously affordable units)
- Many families hope to achieve stable, affordable homeownership, but they do not earn enough to qualify for current offerings
- Cycles of housing instability amongst priority populations disproportionately at risk of homeless and economic crisis (including children aging out of foster care, victims of domestic violence, individuals struggling with mental health barriers)
Local Stakeholders Consulted:
- UFB St. Croix
- St. Croix Community Foundation
- Envision Tomorrow Program
- Lutheran Social Services of the VI
- Women's Coalition of St. Croix
- Long Term Recovery Group
- VI Housing Finance Authority
- Community Foundation of St. Croix