Collier Community Foundation awards The Housing Alliance $200,000 grant

Elieen Connolly-Keesler, right, speaks about the Collier Community Foundation’s role in the launch of The Housing Alliance at the soft launch. Also the stage is The Housing Alliance CEO Michael Puchalla and The Housing Alliance Board Chair Stephen Hruby.

The Housing Alliance, a new non-profit organization formed to provide information, education and advocacy for accessing and developing attainable housing solutions in Collier County, announced that it has been awarded a $200,000 community leadership grant from Collier Community Foundation.

CCF’s research of other nationwide foundations addressing housing affordability revealed the benefits of uniting key stakeholders and community members to form a housing hub for information, education, and resources surrounding workforce housing in Collier County.  The CCF funds will support The Housing Alliance’s start-up costs and operations for the first year. They will specifically be used to engage consultants, legal professionals, and a marketing team and support the development of its first three-year strategic plan.

The 2023 Collier County Community Needs Assessment, sponsored by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and CCF, showed that 65% of respondents cited affordable and workforce housing as the county’s #1 priority, up from 45% five years earlier, making this a top priority for CCF’s funding initiatives going forward.

In addition to the capacity building grant, The Housing Alliance is working with CCF on their Collier Housing Investment Fund, a new revolving loan fund for developers designed to achieve a social and financial return by closing funding gaps that can inhibit housing affordability. This innovative model provides short-term, low-interest loan capital to both nonprofit and for-profit developers. When the loans are repaid, the monies are reinvested to fund new initiatives, thus creating sustainability. Their fund goal is $10 million. The Housing Alliance will provide assistance in the vetting and approval process for the Fund’s development loans and community land trust partnerships for approved developments through The Housing Alliance affiliate the Collier County Community Land Trust.

“As the need for affordable, stable, and quality housing options for all types of households and income levels continues to rise – so does the need for a collective response with public, private, and philanthropic alignment, action, and investment,” said CCF President and CEO Eileen Connolly-Keesler. “The Collier Community Foundation is uniquely qualified to play a leadership role and serve as the catalyst for investing in solutions to housing affordability.”