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Posted by on Dec 2023 in All Stories | 0 comments

Three steps to securing financing for your next affordable housing project

Expertise brought to you by: Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB)

Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB) offers specialized financing solutions for social purpose real estate and clean energy projects that focus on sustainable building development. VCIB is a certified B -Corp and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. To learn more about VCIB’s social purpose real estate partnerships, visit vcib.ca, or connect with us on LinkedIn


What will the future of housing in Canada look like? As non-profit housing providers, you serve a growing and thriving population. You’re working to build a deep sense of community and create an environment where housing offers opportunities, not daily challenges.

Whether your non-profit is planning to repair or retrofit an existing affordable building, acquire real estate to preserve Canada’s existing affordable housing stock, or build new units, the need for flexible, timely and adequate financing is a top concern.

So how can you prepare and minimize delays? The following guide will help you navigate the financing process for your next non-profit housing project.

Step 1: Have the right financial documents ready

  • Historical financial statements. Gather up three years of financial statements for your organization, plus 12 months of operating statements, property taxes, utility bills and insurance costs.
  • Rent roll / tenancy summary. Details should include occupancy dates, monthly rental rate, additional rental costs (i.e., parking or utilities) and unit type.
  • Pro-forma operating statement. Using reasonable data to show your lender that you are realistically planning for the future success of your project.
  • Ownership information / confirmation of beneficial ownership. The lender will need to know who owns and controls the property, and verify that they’re working with an authorized party.
  • Appraisal. Submit a full report from an accredited appraiser; must be less than six months old.
  • Environmental site assessment. Ensure that you have a full report from an accredited firm that’s been conducted within the past 12 months.
  • Building condition assessment. You also need a full building condition assessment that’s been conducted within the past 12 months.
  • Construction Budget. New build or retrofit budgets should be reviewed by a quantity surveyor – a construction industry professional – before submitting.

Step 2: How to work with your bank

  • Reach out via phone or email and develop a relationship with your account manager. A trusting partnership helps everyone move forward.
  • Communicate openly and honestly. Keep the lines of communication open and clear, and always aim for transparency.

Step 3: What your bank needs from you

  • Timely responses. Responding in a timely manner not only respects your lender’s time but helps your project move forward. 
  • Documentation. Whether digital or paper, a well-maintained filing system means you’ll have comprehensive records to support your application.
  • Clear timelines. A complete and accurate schedule helps your lender understand your needs and provides clarity as you move through the approval and funding process.

Considering your peers’ experience can be very helpful too. Carol Zoulalian, Executive Director at St. Jude Community Homes, shared some of what was learned when they purchased a building they had occupied for 20 years: “Through the buying process we learned the value of a committed development consultant. It’s also very helpful to work with a bank, such as VCIB, that understands non-profits and is willing to partner with you to find solutions that work for your organization.”

Chloe Wong, Account Manager for Commercial Real Estate at VCIB wholeheartedly agrees. “We want to make it easier for you to make a difference,” she says. “Non-profits and co-ops are often searching for smaller and more flexible loans, but it can be a struggle to get support because it can be a lot of work for a lender. We don’t shy away from putting in that extra effort.”

And it paid off for St. Jude Community Homes. “Now the residents can rest easy.  They were so happy and relieved to know they can continue to stay in their homes which will be operated as affordable, supportive housing in perpetuity,” Carol adds.

VCIB is part of the Vancity Group, a group of values-based financial institutions that use finance as a tool to drive positive impact and accelerate the delivery of affordable housing across Canada. Since 2009, Vancity Group has funded investments of more than $1.48 billion to support affordable housing across Canada.

Let’s work together to find a financing solution that is tailored to your organization’s needs.

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