Northwest Credit Union Foundation Opens new Round of Workforce Housing Grants
Credit unions are known for being member-driven, providing products and services that are designed to match their community’s needs. As housing affordability continues to decline in the Northwest, credit unions are starting to look at ways they can create innovative products to combat the financial barriers their members face in attaining stable and healthy housing.
To further these efforts, the Northwest Credit Union Foundation is opening another round of workforce housing planning and workforce housing project grant opportunities. Credit unions interested in finding solutions for their communities’ workforce housing challenges are encouraged to review the Request for Proposals. NWCUF will begin accepting applications on July 1.
Credit unions that would like feedback from NWCUF staff on their planning or project plans are welcome to submit their proposed plans by Sept 13. NWCUF staff will provide feedback to applicants prior to the final application submission. Final grant applications are due by Oct. 25.
NWCUF has committed $500,000 in workforce housing grants for 2019. Awards of up to $20,000 will be given to planning grant recipients, and up to $100,000 will be awarded for project grants.
Planning grants provide credit unions with an opportunity to explore their role in addressing workforce housing barriers in their communities. Credit unions will identify a local need or challenge faced by the workforce in accessing affordable housing and develop an action plan to pilot solutions to address those needs. By the end of a planning grant, a credit union will have an identified product or service that is well-reasoned, broadly accepted by stakeholders, and specifically designed to address the unique challenges faced by their community.
Project grants provide support to credit unions who are ready to implement or pilot products that will relieve barriers of access for workforce housing. Project plans should be based on solutions that can be scaled or replicated across the Northwest but are responsive to the needs of local communities. Credit unions’ proposed projects should focus the majority of their work on impacting the workforce housing market, which falls between 60 to 140 percent of an area’s medium income. This grant support will go toward directly impacting members’ housing stability and access.
“The Foundation is dedicated to promoting initiatives that further credit unions’ community impact, such as workforce housing,” said Sharee Adkins, Executive Director of NWCUF. “We have seen tremendous excitement from our community partners about credit unions’ willingness to tackle this issue in their communities.”
Several credit unions throughout the Northwest are already in partnership with the Foundation on a variety of pilot projects that are addressing local housing challenges. Some of these credit union projects received workforce housing grants earlier this year. More background on current grant recipients’ projects may be found here.
Credit unions interested in learning more about the RFP or the Foundation’s Workforce Housing Initiative are encouraged to get in touch with Claire Hendrix, NWCUF Program Director. The Foundation is here to assist credit unions with any questions and walk them through the grant application process.
In addition, credit unions can participate in two upcoming Workforce Housing Forums to discuss housing needs in their communities and learn more about grant opportunities. This spring, NWCUF hosted a handful of forums throughout the Northwest to discuss local housing challenges, community partnerships, and grant opportunities with credit union leaders.
The next two Workforce Housing Forums will be held in Boise on June 24 and in Pocatello, Idaho, on June 26.