HARTFORD, Conn., April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA) has selected the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and its Children's Investment Partnership (CIP) through a competitive process to be the lender under its Child Care Loan Fund Guaranteed Loan Program – a partnership that will fund facilities offering affordable child care to low-income families. LISC is a national organization with programs operating across Connecticut focused on helping disinvested neighborhoods recover from blight and economic decline.
Through this new program, CHEFA provides guarantees and interest rate write-downs so that LISC can make deeply discounted capital available to child care center operators. LISC/CIP was tapped to provide technical assistance to operators and help fill a financing gap that emerged as the recession deepened and loan dollars dried up.
"This program is part of a statewide effort—and a priority for the governor—to make sure there are more opportunities for families to access early childhood education within their means," said Jeffrey A. Asher, executive director of CHEFA. "The economic downturn has made that so much more difficult, as operators struggle to make ends meet and lending has become constrained. We want to open that process up with help from LISC."
LISC has the capacity to enhance its CHEFA program loan offerings with no-interest program-related investment capital and recoverable planning grants funded by the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, a long-time LISC partner on early childhood education efforts in the state.
"We are working with communities and partners throughout the state to ensure that children of all races and income levels are ready for school by age five and successful learners by age nine. To get there, quality early childhood education is critical for many families, and quality programs depend on quality facilities," said David Nee, executive director of the Graustein Memorial Fund. "Our goal is to help make early learning opportunities available to more young children throughout the state, especially those facing economic and other challenges."
For LISC, early childhood education efforts are designed to support broader community revitalization in distressed areas, as well as the aspirations of individual families to raise their standards of living. It connects to work on affordable housing development, employment, economic development, education and community safety, among other things.
"The facilities we support in Connecticut lay the groundwork for kids who might otherwise begin school already behind their peers and playing catch-up," said Andrea Pereira, executive director of LISC in Connecticut. "The centers are part of a continuum of gains in low-income areas that can help raise standards of living for entire communities."
This is not LISC's first partnership with CHEFA, noted Amy Gillman, senior program director of LISC's Community Investment Collaborative for Kids (CICK), a national resource on early childhood education facilities development. CICK helped the state design its previous revenue bond program for child care centers and provided technical assistance and planning funds to facilities involved in the program through CIP.
"That program is a great example of what you can achieve through public-private partnerships," she said. "The Tax-Exempt Loan Program generated $93 million for the development of 29 new high quality early childhood centers and LISC was able to provide nearly $920,000 in predevelopment and bridge funding to 12 of those projects. Altogether, our investments leveraged more than $53 million of the state bond financing," Gillman said.
This new program is an opportunity for operators already stung by the recession to access affordable capital for development, she said. "This fund is a welcome new resource to support kids in Connecticut."
About LISC: LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised $12 billion to build or rehab 289,000 affordable homes and develop 46 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide. Over the past 28 years, Hartford LISC, Connecticut Statewide LISC and the Children's Investment Partnership have invested more than $50 million in local funds to fuel more than $473 million in development for Connecticut communities, including 3,179 affordable homes; 332,166 square feet of commercial space; 24 child care facilities serving over 3,000 children; and 8 community centers. Nationally, LISC support has leveraged nearly $40 billion in total development activity. For more information, visit www.lisc.org.
Christine Devine, LISC/CIP
(860) 525-4821 or [email protected]
SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation