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The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is a mechanism to encourage financial institutions to assist with the credit needs of low to moderate-income communities. Depository and financial institutions are evaluated periodically to ensure financial investments and loans are provided in low- and moderate-income census tracts. While many institutions provide additional loans in these communities, many also seek the assistance of community development financial institutions or revolving loan funds to assist in this effort. These loan funds provide lower interest loans for qualified homeowners for rehabilitation and down payment assistance. Loans can also assist developers seeking a lower interest loan to develop or rehabilitate affordable housing units. Educating financial institutions on the importance of lead abatement in rehabilitation efforts may expand the use of CRA for targeted lead abatement and housing hazard reduction efforts and can be prioritized for institutions and jurisdictions throughout the country allowing scalability and greater impact.
For more information on CRA, see https://www.ffiec.gov/cra/
For more information on community development financial institutions (CDFIs), see https://www.cdfifund.gov/Pages/default.aspx
To increase community reinvestment act financing in communities, jurisdictions should first meet with their local CDFIs and financial institutions to incorporate rehabilitation efforts as a part of their loan pool. The loan pool could be accessed by housing providers to provide healthy housing interventions, which could include lead abatement and hazard remediation.
For an online mapping of banks and data on demographics in your community, visit the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s website: http://maps.ncrc.org/. NCRC is a grassroots member organization created in 1990 to increase the flow of private capital into traditionally underserved communities.