AltCap and Legal Aid Launch Loan Fund to Address Abandoned Home Issue

(Kansas City) August 15, 2018 - Seeking to help tackle the blight of abandoned homes and make more housing available in the urban core of Kansas City, AltCap and Legal Aid of Western Missouri announce the launch of the Kansas City Home Rehabber Loan Fund.  The effort is a first-of-its-kind collaboration that will provide title clearing services and loans to rehabbers restoring abandoned homes in the urban core.

Legal Aid of Western Missouri (Legal Aid) assists urban core neighborhood associations in gaining clear title/ownership of abandoned homes, and then turning them over to rehabbers who restore them and then sell or lease them. AltCap will manage and administer the Loan Fund, underwriting and servicing loans made to small contractor home rehabbers.

The Loan Fund was capitalized with funds raised in part by the KC Social Investment Pool (KCSIP), which was established by Legal Aid with pro bono legal support from Stinson Leonard Street. KCSIP was created to help raise capital from local, civic-minded investors interested in supporting the Loan Fund.  In addition to capital raised by investors, First Federal Bank made a $105,000 contribution to support KCSIP and the Loan Fund.

“Safe and affordable housing is a key to breaking the cycle of poverty in the urban core,” said Joe Dandurand, executive director of Legal Aid of Western Missouri. “Legal Aid has a long history of supporting inner-city neighborhood associations and their rehabbers who want to remedy blighted property. Now, with the KC Social Investment Pool, we’re able to help neighborhood associations and rehabbers get the work going.”

There are currently more than 5,000 vacant or abandoned homes in Kansas City. Often becoming magnets for crime, drugs and other illegal activity, the presence of abandoned or vacant homes can diminish property values, spurring a downward spiral of neglect, blight and disinvestment. Additionally, vacant homes represent a great loss of potential affordable housing.

AltCap President Ruben Alonso III said the Loan Fund will bring many benefits. “The short-term loans will be used to hire laborers, contractors, plumbers, electricians and other construction trades, creating local jobs and supporting economic activity, while revitalizing homes and neighborhoods in the urban core,” he said.

The Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI), a nonprofit established to revitalize an area of Kansas City’s urban core launched its "Vacant to Vibrant" initiative to try to address the abandoned home issue. A majority of the city’s abandoned and vacant properties are in the urban core and the area of UNI’s focus.
 
“We welcome and support these efforts to clear titles to urban properties and fund rehabbers to move these homes back into productive use,” said Dianne Cleaver, UNI executive director.

For more information about the KC Home Rehabber Loan Fund, visit https://www.alt-cap.org/home-rehab

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