PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to help spur economic development and the availability of affordable rental housing in underserved communities, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that the Providence Revolving Fund (PRF) is being awarded $1.84 million in federal Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Equitable Recovery Program (ERP) funds.  The program, administered by the U.S. Treasury Department, aims to help CDFI’s further their mission of supporting low and low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities and increase access to capital to help small businesses recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The funds may be used by the Providence Revolving Fund to promote economic recovery and expand lending related to small businesses and microenterprises.  The funds can also be used for grant making and investing in underserved communities, and to support borrowers that experienced disproportionate economic impacts from the pandemic and have unmet capital and financial services needs.

“Economic recovery is an ongoing process and this federal aid will serve as a catalyst for additional financial investment.  This $1.84 million will be leveraged by the Providence Revolving Fund so they can partner with organizations and communities to provide credit and targeted financial services to underserved communities and help expand the supply of affordable, safe, and desirable rental housing,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.  “I commend PRF for their ongoing efforts to increase affordable rental housing opportunities for more Rhode Islanders.”

“The Providence Revolving Fund is Rhode Island’s only homegrown CDFI providing lending and services to promote equitable neighborhood revitalization and historic preservation.  Primary among our market’s housing challenges are affordability and safety.  These challenges were further exacerbated by the pandemic’s economic disruptions, leading to greater housing instability.  Our ERP-supported program will build upon our current activity, focusing on stabilizing owner-occupied LMI households experiencing increased economic hardship as a result of the pandemic, and supporting affordable rental development to meet increased demand.  PRF has a strong track record.  Over the past five years, our affordable housing activity totaled over $13 million and has leveraged more than $189 million resulting in the creation or preservation of 750 units of housing,” said Carrie Zaslow, executive director of the Providence Revolving Fund.

Reed helped create ERP Awards as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (P.L. 116-260), which provided $1.75 billion to the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) to award Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) grants to effectively respond to the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of $1.73 billion in ERP awards were distributed to 603 CDFIs in 44 states and the District of Columbia that applied for a share of the competitive federal awards.

To be eligible for the federal funding, organizations must have been certified by the CDFI Fund as CDFIs as of the date of the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) publication in the Federal Register, have a track record of serving CDFI ERP eligible geographic areas, and meet certain financial management criteria. Organizations must also meet benchmarks for programmatic/financial safety and soundness.