The Affordable Housing Clearinghouse was formed in 1990 to facilitate lending for affordable housing. It was formed by the Orange County Community Reinvestment Act Coalition, a cooperative network of community organizations, non-profit housing corporations, public agencies, non-profit housing shelters, and advocates for lower income people. This Coalition included the Orange County Human Relations Commission, the Fair Housing Council of Orange County, and the Orange County Homeless Issues Task Force. The Coalition members identified the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) as a key legislative vehicle in ensuring that lending institutions meet the credit and affordable housing needs of low- and moderate-income people in the localities where these institutions have deposits.
The Affordable Housing Clearinghouse is always evolving to meet the needs of the community. Our original purpose was to facilitate loans for affordable housing and community development projects. We were extremely successful in financing projects through our lender membership, and over our 20-year history, our lender membership successfully funded over $30 million for 662 units of housing for low-income and special needs populations and an additional $2 million in community development projects benefiting low-income and special needs populations. However, after a community needs assessment conducted in 1994 indicated that there were credit needs that were unserved by traditional lending institutions, AHC endeavored to create the Clearinghouse Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a direct lending affiliate. The Clearinghouse CDFI made its first loan in 1997 and has been extremely successful.
To promote homeownership, in 1998 AHC set out to build its capacity as a homeownership service provider. We have already funded over $60 million in mortgage loans and have counseled hundreds of families. We have become a premier community lender and homebuyer education provider in Southern California, and we work with cities, counties, and non-profit organizations to promote homeownership. To enhance our homeownership programs, in 2001 AHC identified the need to provide downpayment assistance through various subsidy sources, and in 2003, we became the County of Orange Program Administrator. The program has offered over $12 million in downpayment assistance funds. The program will continue in 2012 with $500 million available.
Although we have been successful in providing homeownership financing and education, the greatest need in our community is the development of new affordable housing. In 2004, AHC decided to focus some of our efforts on the production of affordable housing. We are now in the early planning stages to develop rental housing for low- and very-low-income households.