SELF is working with Atlanta Housing to tackle high energy burdens for low-income renters
ATLANTA, November 22, 2021 – The Solar & Energy Loan Fund (SELF), in cooperation with Atlanta Housing, has launched an innovative loan program for financing energy efficiency investments that benefit low-income renters.
The “Sustainable, Energy Efficient Rental” (SEER) loan provides unsecured capital for landlords to improve their property’s energy and water usage. Landlords can also finance disability improvements and rooftop solar. Along with freeing up renters’ cash flows by decreasing their energy burdens, SELF’s financing will make homes healthier for residents and advance local government sustainability and carbon reduction goals.
Teaming up with Atlanta Housing
SELF designed the SEER loan to work in tandem with Atlanta Housing’s new Energy Efficiency Rent Boost (EERB) program, which offers Housing Choice Voucher landlords a permanent rent boost as a reward for making certain efficiency improvements. When landlords finance their efficiency improvements with a SEER loan from SELF, they can unlock the EERB with no upfront capital, while reducing the cost of living for tenants.
“We are grateful to Atlanta Housing for their leadership and creativity. Together we designed a replicable program to address high energy burdens for low-income tenants and historical underinvestment in affordable housing. Atlanta Housing’s Rent Boost and SELF’s SEER loan demonstrate how public and private entities can work together to leverage capital and create solutions with positive social, economic and environmental impacts,” said Duanne Andrade, CFO/CSO SELF.
Reducing energy burdens
Low-income renters in Atlanta have the third-highest energy burden in the US. “Energy burden” is the share of household income spent on energy costs. Affordable housing rentals are especially energy inefficient due to historical underinvestment in low-income communities. Energy burdens are a large reason for tenant turnover. By making homes healthier and more affordable, SEER financing helps stabilize communities.
SEER is made possible by an investment from the Finance Justice Fund, part of the Opportunity Finance Network. The program will be operational by November 30.
About Solar Energy Loan Fund
The nonprofit SELF organization is a community-based lending organization committed to social, environmental, and financial justice. As a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), SELF’s mission is to rebuild and empower underserved communities by providing access to affordable and innovative financing for sustainable home improvements. SELF is the first “green” Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) in the Southeast.
About Atlanta Housing
The Housing Authority of the City of Atlanta, Georgia (AH), is the largest housing authority in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation. AH provides and facilitates affordable housing resources for nearly 22,000 low-income households comprised of approximately 50,000 people. These affordable housing resources include AH-owned residential communities, AH-sponsored mixed-income, mixed-finance residential communities, Housing Choice vouchers, HomeFlex, supportive housing arrangements and homeownership opportunities. AH’s programs are funded and regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
About the Finance Justice Fund
Launched by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) in 2020, the Finance Justice Fund is a new socially responsible investment that aims to bring $1 billion in capital from corporate and philanthropic partners to individuals and communities in America most underestimated and underserved by mainstream finance. The goal of the Finance Justice Fund is to drive affordable, responsible capital to Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and rural communities. For a full list of Fund partners and awardees, please visit the Finance Justice Fund page on OFN.org.
About Opportunity Finance Network (OFN)
OFN, the national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), strives to ensure low-income and other under-resourced communities have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services. Members of OFN are CDFIs that deliver responsible lending to help low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2019, OFN’s network originated $82.7 billion in financing in rural, urban, and Native communities. This financing has helped to create or maintain more than 1,751,000 jobs, start or expand 448,541 businesses and microenterprises, and support the development or rehabilitation of more than 2,148,000 housing units and more than 12,000 community facility projects.