My Home, Mi Casa (MHMC) is a partnership among Jovenes, Inc., a nonprofit that provides stable housing and community services for low-income at-risk youth, and Genesis LA, a Los Angeles-based CDFI, to provide opportunity for young people. The partnership came about as a response to the foreclosure crisis and the partners’ interest in capturing suddenly below market housing inventory and preserving it as affordable housing for transition-age youth.
Genesis LA structured capital totaling more than $2 million and developed a model that allowed MHMC to compete in a market dominated by “flippers” and speculators by offering all cash purchases and short contingency and closing periods.
Today, MHMC leverages the strengths and expertise of both partners. Genesis LA, which not only oversaw financing, site selection, acquisition, and renovations but also continues to manage the books. Jovenes identifies and places clients in the housing units and continues to provide services to youth, consisting of financial literacy, education and workforce preparedness, and job placement.
To help residents establish financial health and security, as part of the financing, Genesis LA also limits its return on investment and shares a portion of income with the youth tenants. Some youth are eligible for a “youth equity share,” or a return of approximately 10 percent of their rent. The money is saved until the individual leaves the property and is then paid out, providing growth for the future or a safety net.
Through the end of 2014, MHMC purchased and renovated six small properties or 22 units of housing, providing more than 30 young people a place to rest their heads. And more than 22 youth have participated in the youth equity share program.
“If it wasn’t for Jovenes, which gave me the time to save, and find a job, and find my strength again, I don’t know where I’d be,” says MHMC tenant Robert of living in a MHMC home.