This year's annual report looks at the impact that the public health, economic and racial justice crises had on the Commonwealth's non-profit affordable housing and early childhood education organizations in 2020. Though it has been one of the most challenging years in our lifetime, we have demonstrated the resilience, commitment, and creativity of the community development sector in responding to these crises. We are pleased to share this recap of FY2020 with you.
In a year marked by so much tragedy from the pandemic, the story of community development in Massachusetts is one of perseverance and resilience.
The entire Commonwealth pivoted last March as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded in Massachusetts – and across the entire country – and people's lives were thrown into chaos. CEDAC's staff quickly transitioned to remote work to maintain our operations and support the community development sector without interruption. Across Massachusetts, many residents, especially those who depend on affordable housing, supportive services and childcare programs, faced unprecedented economic and healthcare hardships. Massachusetts recognized their needs and responded. For CEDAC, this meant being nimble across all our operations and ensuring that lending would continue to support our non-profit community partners — and the people they serve — during these unprecedented times.
Early on in the pandemic, in an effort initiated by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), CEDAC worked with our CDC and non-profit partners to assess their immediate needs and explore ways we could help address any financial issues caused by the public health crisis. Housing is an integral component of healthy communities, and the pandemic demonstrated the vital connection between healthcare and affordable housing and the vulnerable populations who require access to affordable units and emergency shelters. The Baker-Polito Administration had already identified housing production as a high priority and, even as other sectors were ordered to temporarily shut down, the Administration made sure that housing development would continue. Accordingly, DHCD maintained its schedule of funding rounds and CEDAC approved predevelopment and acquisition loan requests without disruption or delay, ensuring that the pipeline of affordable housing development and preservation projects would move forward. DHCD approved an innovative $10 million recapitalization strategy for CEDAC, resulting in additional capital for early stage lending.
In this year's annual report, we highlight numerous affordable housing and childcare projects that moved forward into the construction and occupancy phases of project development despite the challenges of the pandemic. We are especially honored to feature interviews with several of our key partners including Amy Schectman, President and CEO of 2Life Communities; Pat Bruni, Executive Director of Belchertown Day School; Leslie Reid, CEO of Madison Park Development Corporation; Rafael Mares, Executive Director of The Neighborhood Developers; and Laura Baker, Real Estate Project Manager of Valley Community Development Corporation and their general contractor, Mark Follett of Western Builders. You can access these interviews on the Impact Page.
CEDAC adapted programs and operations to meet the new needs of the non-profit organizations we serve during the crisis. We offered new flexibility on the use of predevelopment funds and created a special funding pool to support the carrying costs of 20 projects with CEDAC acquisition loans. We also pivoted our services to provide additional technical assistance (TA) to community partners. When the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program was launched, the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) asked that CEDAC's affiliate, the Children's Investment Fund (CIF), create a TA initiative to increase early childhood education and out-of-school time providers' access to federal small business loans in order to help businesses stay afloat. CIF assembled a team consisting of accountants, attorneys, home-based childcare practitioners and CEDAC staff, and from April to August, the team provided one-on-one emergency TA to 278 childcare providers in Massachusetts. CIF also hosted emergency response webinars to help childcare providers learn about and apply for these critical SBA loans. More than 1,800 individuals signed up for the sessions.
CEDAC coordinated with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, DHCD, and MassHousing to help develop resources to offer pandemic-related guidance and support to senior housing providers.
Finally, CIF worked with EEC to modify the early education state capital fund with a special funding round to help childcare providers implement capital improvements and health and safety upgrades related to COVID-19.
COVID-19 wasn't the only stain on 2020. The year highlighted the prevalence and ugliness of racial injustice in the United States. In response, CEDAC designated Racial Equity as an organizational priority and created staff committees to address internal and external opportunities where CEDAC can have an impact. We stand with the thousands who protest, demanding equity and justice, and are determined through our work to continue to pursue justice and equity across our communities.
While the year's challenges were daunting, CEDAC also saw its highest loan volumes ever. Before the COVID-19 emergency, CEDAC already was experiencing record high demand. At fiscal year-end, CEDAC had record cumulative loan commitments of $55.6 million and record loans receivable of $36.3 million. That trend continued beyond the end of the fiscal year and our largest loan, a $29 million acquisition with accompanying $1.5 million bridge loan, to the Newcastle/Saranac Apartments preservation project in Boston's Lower Roxbury, was successfully repaid in June.
We thank our staff, public and private sector partners, and all those who work tirelessly to strengthen the community development network in Massachusetts. We appreciate the dedication of CEDAC's Board of Directors, who continues to meet virtually to authorize vital support for our borrowers, our outgoing Board Chair Janelle Chan, and especially the work of our new CEDAC Board Chair Jennifer Maddox. The repercussions of 2020 are still emerging. Our world has changed, but like our commitment to supporting our community partners across the Commonwealth, CEDAC's mission stands firm.
CEDAC Executive Director
CEDAC Chairperson: Undersecretary, Department of Housing and Community Development