Rainbow Housing Assistance Corporation (Rainbow), a nonprofit organization that provides service-enriched housing programs for residents of rental housing communities throughout the country, signed seven new contracts bringing in more than 1,500 new units throughout Washington, California and Texas. Additionally in 2014, Rainbow added three new clients to its service portfolio as well as several service-oriented partners including the Texas Mobile Health Clinics Coalition, Colgate Bright Smiles Dental and Farmers Insurance MILK program. These new contracts and partnerships signal an increased growth that continues from 2013 when Rainbow added to its portfolio more than 19 new communities and 2,194 units across four different states.
Rainbow develops and implements programs and services to low-income communities to better the lives of families and stabilize the tenant base to ensure investors and developers are financially successful. These programs include money-management classes, enhanced life skills, after-school youth enrichment programs and adult education components.
“Building upon our momentum from 2013, Rainbow continues to exhibit significant growth and success with its projects,” said Flynann Janisse, executive director of Rainbow. “Our service portfolio’s growth within the first half of 2014 shows there is a broader understanding across the industry that communities perform better financially when these service-enriched programs are provided on site to the tenant base.”
Among the driving factors of Rainbow’s growth in service-enriched housing programs is an increased awareness on the part of state agencies as a result of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s continued focus on preserving existing affordable housing communities. This has encouraged state agencies to employ various approaches to maintain the affordable housing they already have, including the implementation of service-enriched housing programs to ensure the success of various housing communities. In conjunction with this, service-enriched housing programs provide developers with an edge in the application process for tax credits.
Additionally, current trends within the multifamily investment industry include impact investing, a form of socially responsible investing that aims to bring a positive social or environmental impact along with the financial return. Impact investors are looking to put their capital into nonprofits, leading them to explore avenues to successfully flow hedge funds to projects where it will do the most good, with organizations like Rainbow at the top of their radar.
Rainbow is also quickly growing its capacity to work in partnership with various organizations. In 2013, Rainbow entered a licensing and training agreement with Capital Area Asset Builders, a District of Columbia-based organization whose mission is to empower low and moderate-income residents to take control of their finances.
Currently, Rainbow is engaging with the Harvard Medical School’s mobile health system, The Family Van, which provides preventative screening, wellness counseling and referrals to thousands in need. As a result of this partnership, a new pilot program is underway in Texas and will soon become a national initiative.
“For the remainder of 2014, Rainbow will be dedicated to pursuing additional partnerships specifically focused on workforce development,” said Janisse. “We will also concentrate on closing 11 additional agreements in an effort to improve the lives of individuals in rental housing communities throughout the nation.”