A recent article in Shelterforce describes how when plans to develop affordable housing units in San Bernardino hit a funding roadblock, Dignity Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, stepped in with a $1.2 million bridge loan to help fill the gap.
An excerpt from the piece reads as follows:
Dignity Health has a longstanding tradition of lending to affordable housing developers and CDFIs through its Community Investment Program. Seeing the need and potential of the Arrowhead Grove project, the program committed a $1.2 million bridge loan to help fill its funding gap.
Additionally, Dignity Health saw the potential to play a larger role in the local community investment system, recognizing that in the wake of San Bernardino’s recent emergence from bankruptcy, it would take more than local resources to overcome disinvestment and improve opportunity for all residents.
“As a large employer and anchor, we understand that investing in projects like Arrowhead Grove can help bring stability to San Bernardino neighborhoods and transform lives,” said Pablo Bravo Vial, vice president of community health at Dignity Health.
In June of 2018, Dignity Health invited a diverse group of stakeholders from San Bernardino, the Inland Empire, and the greater Los Angeles region, as well as statewide and national organizations—including municipal leaders, foundations, banks, CDFIs, developers, and community-based organizations—to come together. Nearly 50 individuals and organizations attended the meeting and the site visit that followed, where Dignity Health articulated a compelling narrative about the need for more investment in the city; positioned Arrowhead Grove as a clear and immediate opportunity for public, private, and philanthropic capital; and asked participants to join in making the project a success.
One of the entities in attendance was the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC), a cabinet-level committee responsible for coordinating the activities of state agencies to promote more equitable, sustainable, and resilient communities. SGC had previously been aware of the Arrowhead Grove project and the long-standing need for affordable housing in San Bernardino. Impressed by the collaboration among local partners and a strong application by National CORE, SGC awarded San Bernardino $20 million through California’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program. The funds will support the next two phases of the Arrowhead Grove project, adding more than 180 new units of affordable housing. San Bernardino is the first city in the Inland Empire region to receive AHSC funding.