For the last 40 years, Enterprise Community Partners has been working to address America’s shortage of affordable rental homes. Enterprise aims to make home and community places of pride, power, and belonging, and platforms for resilience and upward mobility for all. To meet its goals, Enterprise works to advance essential policy solutions and to establish affordable housing and resident services in communities across the country. Enterprise’s approach is informed by the residents it serves and works at the national and local levels to respond more effectively to community needs. Since 1982, it has invested $54 billion in creating 873,000 homes across all 50 states.
Enterprise New York is working to advance a key set of policies, programs, and solutions to mitigate the distinct challenges many New Yorkers face. To date, it has committed about $4.9 billion to create or preserve over 79,600 affordable homes across New York State. Since August 2020, Trinity has supported Enterprise New York's work through six grants totaling $4,505,000. Trinity’s partnership across key initiatives has helped Enterprise accelerate its work to end the New York housing crisis and profoundly impact individuals and families who are housing unstable or at risk of eviction on multiple levels.
Advancement of Fair Housing Programs and Policies for Low-Income New Yorkers
With Trinity’s support, Enterprise has worked to both advance fair housing policies for low-income New Yorkers as well as ensure those policies are effectively implemented and truly provide the intended support.
When New York State issued an eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 pandemic, it provided immediate relief for many renters but did not address arrears, which meant that the financial cliff continued to rise for renters who were facing economic hardship. Enterprise established Project Parachute to provide overall eviction prevention assistance to low-income New Yorkers, including the clearing of rent arrears that accrued during the pandemic and payment of current and future rent due for a defined duration of time. The Project Parachute team worked cross-sector to build strategic relationships that enabled them to deploy nearly $9.6 million in active financial assistance to 1,651 households over the program’s 22-month duration. Trinity’s support went directly to the payment of accrued arrears for very and extremely low-income undocumented New Yorkers who experienced a COVID-19-related job loss or income loss during the pandemic.
When President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan in 2021, nearly 8,000 Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) were provided to New York City. This created an opportunity to stabilize households that either fell into homelessness due to the pandemic or were experiencing it beforehand. While these vouchers were desperately needed by New Yorkers, the administering agencies did not have the capacity to allocate such a high volume of vouchers in a short timeframe. Enterprise stepped in to help ensure these vouchers were well utilized by supporting grassroots community-based organizations (CBOs) that identified opportunities for voucher use with small landlords through their local networks. Over the last year, the Enterprise team has resourced nine CBOs and referred over 500 owners or brokers for the program.
In conjunction with Project Parachute, Enterprise convened the Eviction Prevention Roundtable to advance policy solutions. Enterprise’s advocacy assisted the passage of Bill A8009/S6573 in the New York state legislature, which further supported individuals and families in need of housing vouchers. This legislation raised the Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (FHEPS) to fair market rent and made vouchers more useful to low-income people across the state.
Advancement of Fair Housing Programs and Policies for New Yorkers Formerly Incarcerated
Similarly, Enterprise has worked to advance fair housing policies for justice-involved New Yorkers and create a housing ecosystem that addresses their unique needs.
In 2021, Enterprise’s Housing as a Pathway to Justice Initiative launched its pilot education course. This course introduced a diverse set of housing stakeholders to the issues and barriers justice-involved residents face, and strategies to address their housing needs. Trinity’s support of this initiative enabled Enterprise to reach a wider audience. In 2022, they engaged traditional housing providers that have not typically been committed to this space by launching a new training that debunks the myths and stigmas attached to people with a history of involvement in the criminal legal system. To date, Enterprise has held three meetings, reaching 250 participants, with five more trainings scheduled for 2023. In parallel to the training series and a forthcoming toolkit, Enterprise is working to engage landlords and encourage them to house voucher holders that have a criminal background.
Additionally, Enterprise has worked on the Regional Affordable and Fair Housing Roundtable and with the Fair Chance for Housing Coalition to advocate for policies that support the unique housing needs of justice-involved groups, including fair housing protections for those with arrest and conviction records.
Transforming Faith-Properties into Affordable Housing
Building on the success of Trinity’s Housing & Homeless Initiative’s partnership with Enterprise, Trinity’s Mission Real Estate Development team embarked on a new five-year grant with Enterprise to provide faith-based organizations (FBOs) throughout New York City with the training and support they need to develop their underutilized properties into affordable housing.
Enterprise NY’s Faith-Based Development Initiative (FBDI) was launched following the success of similar initiatives in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions. With Trinity’s support and experience in New York City, Enterprise is able to scale its work to create much-needed affordable housing while providing FBOs a means to reimagine their property, which will help address the financial and operational difficulties many are currently experiencing.
Over the next five years, Trinity’s funding will expand Enterprise’s initiative in New York City to engage at least 60 FBOs who are interested in learning about affordable housing. The initiative offers real estate development training, feasibility studies, and early pre-development expertise with the goal of advancing at least 15 FBO projects to the joint venture stage and developing 1,050 affordable housing units.
The relationship Trinity and Enterprise have established over the last two and a half years is a powerful example of teamwork and collaboration. As the New York housing landscape and community needs have shifted and new opportunities for support have emerged, Trinity and Enterprise have expanded their collaboration to unlock access to resources for New Yorkers at risk of eviction and housing instability in the immediate term and work toward policy and infrastructure changes for the long term.