YIGBY Initiative Partners with San Diego’s Oldest African American Church to Build Housing for Seniors and Veterans Experiencing Homelessness

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Bethel AME), a longstanding community pillar and San Diego’s oldest African American church, has signed on as the first faith-based partner to build affordable housing on their property through Yes In God’s Backyard (YIGBY).

YIGBY, a project fiscally sponsored by San Diego Grantmakers, is a collaborative group of experienced real estate professionals, homeless advocates and philanthropic organizations who are partnering with faith communities to rapidly develop affordable housing on underutilized faith community properties, using a self-supporting, scalable model. Through YIGBY’s financing model, the money funders invest stays within the community, building economic security.

The Bethel AME-owned property, located at 32nd and Imperial Avenue, will house 16 one-bedroom units designated for seniors and Veterans who are living with disabilities and experiencing homelessness, and will partner with the HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher program. The project will serve as a demonstration and proof of concept project for funders to experience the YIGBY model in action.

Together, YIGBY, Bethel AME and financing partner Self-Help Federal Credit Union (SHFCU) have developed a partnership built from strong mission-alignment across organizations.

“Our faith intrinsically calls us in service to our community. Our mission is that everyone has the opportunity to live and enjoy a safe, secure and affordable dwelling. Times like these call for us to use our time, talents, and resources in new and different ways. We are delighted to rise to that calling as the inaugural site for the YIGBY housing concept,” stated Rev. Harvey L. Vaughn, III, lead pastor at Bethel AME, who has an extensive background in the nonprofit housing and mortgage/lending industry.

“A team of seasoned real estate professionals and housing advocates have been working hard on the YIGBY concept – in an innovative spirit exploring options to lowering the cost and the time it takes to build multi family housing that’s more affordable. But none of this works without a strong partner who believes in the model. We are honored to have Bethel AME as our proof of concept partner in bringing the YIGBY concept to life for people experiencing homelessness in our region,” said Monica Ball, Realtor, YIGBY Faith Community Outreach Lead, and member of SDG and Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego.

The YIGBY model leverages philanthropic and impact investing capital together with SHFCU financing. This overall approach ensures flexible financial sources that aren’t dependent on high interest loans, tax credits or subsidies. Projects are self-supporting with sustainable rental income to the faith-based organization. YIGBY’s goal is to build 3,000 units of affordable housing in the next five years.

Philanthropic dollars are currently being raised to support innovative design and confirm the $4.5M proof of concept project. A total of $1.3M in philanthropic (grant, donation) funds will fund predevelopment costs for the Bethel AME project and set up the YIGBY infrastructure model to quickly scale post-proof of concept.

“We are thrilled that funders and investors are showing interest in acting boldly to advance new and different solutions for those experiencing homelessness and the housing affordability crisis, and are embracing a financing model that keeps the economic benefit within the church community. Bethel AME is a natural proof of concept partner. From their mission, to their leadership – we have found kindred spirits in the fight to build housing that is affordable,” said Debbie McKeon, president and CEO of San Diego Grantmakers.

To learn more about YIGBY, please visit: www.yigby.org

To speak with the YIGBY team about contributing or investing, please contact Amy Denhart.

Want more? 
Listen to our recent session on Impact Investing to Address the Housing Affordability Crisis