Giving Matters: Greenville Housing Fund works collaboratively to empower thriving and diverse communities


Greenville’s reputation as a great place to live has resulted in dramatic population growth and strained the housing market, putting affordable housing out of reach for many. A thriving town of Greenville must offer a range of good housing options at all income levels. Launched in 2018 to address Greenville’s housing deficit, the Greenville Housing Fund (GHF) and its coalition partners have set a 10-year goal of adding 10,000 new affordable units and preserving another 3,000 across the county.

Bryan Brown, President and CEO of GHF, says the complexity of the challenge requires a concerted effort, which is why GHF is working with multiple stakeholders to achieve common goals. Much of GHF’s ​​collaborative work is done through the Greenville Affordable Housing Coalition, whose more than 50 partners include governments, nonprofits, community leaders and private developers. This year, the coalition helped distribute US bailout funding for housing and utility assistance.

“We don’t do anything alone. Our work is focused on supporting partners in systems around housing, ”said Brown. “Our task is to engage city and county government so that we can leverage state, federal and private resources to meet the affordable housing needs of our robust economy to create a city of Greenville accessible to all. “

These advocacy efforts are reflected in Greenville County’s recent commitment of $ 10 million to affordable housing efforts during its next two-year budget cycle. The City of Greenville has allocated $ 1 million for affordable housing in fiscal 2022, bringing its total support to $ 10 million over the past three years.

Staff from GHF, Affordable Upstate and United Housing Connections at a tenant appreciation event in the community of Parkins Ridge.

Back home

GHF funded Home Again, a program created last fall by United Housing Connections with United Way of Greenville County, to help families with school-aged children overcome barriers to stable housing, according to Tonya Crawley, head of the UHC program.

GHF also acquires plots in rapidly evolving “land bank” neighborhoods for future affordable housing development and has invested over $ 6 million in direct support since its founding to produce or preserve 902 affordable housing units. Brown says developing multiple projects simultaneously, with others in the works, is only possible with the right financial platform.

“Affordable housing isn’t just about real estate, it’s also about funding. We try to make the most of the limited resources we employ by working with financial partners, ”he says. “The production of affordable housing relies on adequate funding to support the level of affordability that we are trying to achieve. The only way is to have a lot more free capital or to have continued investment support. “

More affordable investments in housing

To expand its investment capacity, the association is setting up the Greenville Housing Impact Fund, a pool of $ 5 million of renewable investments.

“This is an opportunity for banks, businesses, philanthropic organizations, donor-advised funds or individual investors to earn a low rate of return, but also to produce a social return for the community,” says Brown. “Instead of making charitable contributions, they actually make a 2.5% rate of return and we pay back the principal within a certain amount of time. Meanwhile, those dollars can be deployed to help meet affordable housing goals in Greenville. “

Brown says GHF is celebrating this year’s accomplishments and is grateful for the strong local support.

“I’m really proud of the significant impact we’ve already had and the number of units we’re supporting, including helping current tenants stay in place,” he says. “To date, GHF has deployed limited resources for real impact, putting them to work on behalf of the community. “

“We don’t do anything alone. Our work focuses on supporting partners in systems around housing. -Bryan Brown, President and CEO, GHF

Since the creation of GHF, the Greenville Community Foundation has awarded annual grants, including $ 110,000 from the Pearce Foundation, $ 10,000 from the Frazier Foundation and a capacity building grant of $ 7,500.

“At the Community Foundation of Greenville, we are building collaborative relationships to better understand and respond to the changing needs of our community,” said Liz Seman, Chair of the Board of Directors of CFG. “Our support for the Greenville Housing Fund fits perfectly with this core value. “

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