How does Venture House solve the problem?
Venture House gets entrepreneurs into affordable housing, in neighborhoods needing revitalization, in exchange for a commitment to creating local jobs. Venture House serves as a conduit to align the interests of the City of St Petersburg to create jobs in the City, revitalize neighborhoods, and increase property values and thus the City’s tax base; financial institutions that own many of these properties and desire to see a return on their investment, while also complying with Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements; neighborhoods and local property owners desiring good neighbors and higher property values; and entrepreneurs looking for affordable housing in a vibrant community as they start businesses that create jobs.
The City of St Petersburg does not want to own houses to accomplish its goals. Banks and other financial institutions have costs but no revenues until foreclosed properties move. Neighbors generally have little say in decisions about properties in their neighborhoods. Entrepreneurs will go where the affordable housing is – in or out of the city; often in or out of the state.
Venture House can bring to bear the tools of a nonprofit to accept donated or below-market-value properties from banks, financial institutions and other owners of abandoned properties. Venture House can also leverage the power of market-based financing solutions, foundations, and venture philanthropists. A trust holds the properties to ensure long-term affordability, while allowing flexibility for rentals or ownership participation for Venture House entrepreneur residents.