Senior Treasury Official Commends Southwest Housing Development

January 25th, 2010
John Van Camp (president of Southwest Solutions) shares a laugh with Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Donna Gambrell (director of CDFI Fund ), Christine Coady (president of Michigan Interfaith Trust Fund), and Gehad Alawan (Vice-chair of Southwest Housing board)

DETROIT, January 25, 2010 — A senior Treasury official attended an event in southwest Detroit today to celebrate a significant community development project by Southwest Housing Solutions benefiting from recent financial assistance made possible by a federal grant.

Donna Gambrell, director of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund)

Donna Gambrell, director of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), spoke at the event sponsored by the Michigan Interfaith Trust Fund (Trust Fund).

“This project is a wonderful example of how capital awarded through the CDFI Program can help stabilize neighborhoods by providing quality affordable housing and opportunities for entrepreneurs to own their own businesses,” said Director Gambrell.

The CDFI Fund recently awarded the Trust Fund a $1 million grant to provide loans and technical assistance to nonprofit community development organizations and small businesses working to revitalize Michigan communities. The CDFI grant is the largest single grant the Trust Fund has received in its 25-year history.

The Trust Fund used more than half of the grant to refinance the mortgage on a project owned and operated by Southwest Housing. The project consists of four apartment buildings renovated by Southwest Housing to provide 54 units of quality affordable housing and attractive commercial space.

“Southwest Housing Solutions is a good investment because they have the support of their local community and because they make Detroit a better place to live,” said Christine Coady, president of the Trust Fund.

The Trust Fund loan to Southwest Housing will save the nonprofit more than $26,000 a year in operating costs, enabling Southwest to keep its rents affordable and better serve disadvantaged residents in the community.

Senator Debbie Stabenow

Ms. Gambrell was joined at the event by the leaders of the Trust Fund and Southwest Solutions, as well as local, state, and national elected officials whose support was key in making the grant and the housing development possible.

Senator Debbie Stabenow and State Representative Rashida Tlaib spoke about the positive impact Southwest Solutions is having on the southwest Detroit community through its array of human and housing services.

The celebration took place at one of the four Southwest buildings benefiting from the Trust Fund loan. Specifically, the site is a commercial space recently leased by Helen Shaw, an unemployed autoworker who is now starting her own beauty salon. Helen was acknowledged at the event, as well as Jaquetta Chen, who manages the four apartment buildings. Jaquetta was once homeless until she was offered a place of her own in one of the buildings.

“Helen and Jaquetta exemplify why this community development project is so important,” said Tim Thorland, executive director of Southwest Housing. “The project is not only helping to transform the neighborhood, it is helping to change lives.”

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