Living Rooms at the Border (2018)

San Ysidro, CA

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Casa Familiar, a nonprofit community-based organization founded in 1973, is the leading service and community development organization in the border community of San Ysidro in South San Diego County. This historically disadvantaged community is facing severe distress with a poverty rate of 34.2%, a median family income that is 41.3% of the county average, and an unemployment rate of 21.5%. Casa Familiar provides over 40 bilingual programs and services at six different sites in the community; including computer classes, afterschool programs, affordable and transitional housing, and cultural activities. Demand for their services far exceeds Casa Familiar’s capacity and Casa Familiar collaborated with the community to purchase a former church site that they could renovate to expand their services, but was unable to attract traditional bank financing to develop the site.

In 2018, the Civic San Diego Economic Growth and Neighborhood Investment Fund partnered with longtime Casa Familiar supporter Citibank to provide a $9.3 million New Markets Tax Credit (“NMTC”) allocation to fund the project. Casa Familiar secured a loan from Capital Impact Partners (“CIP”) to help capitalize the leverage loan. The loan was originally sized at $4 million and capped at 90% of the as-stabilized appraised value of the project. From the project’s inception in 2017 to the NMTC closing, the construction budget increased by over $2.5 million due to escalating prices in construction materials and labor. CIP was able to increase the loan to $4.4 million, which equated to a loan-to-value ratio of 95% based on an appraised value of the collateral, and to close the gap the Economic Growth Fund provided a line of credit and CIP also provided an additional short-term bridge loan.

The 13,469 square-foot adaptive reuse project provides a new space for the expansion of art and culture programming including theatre and pop-up events with other San Diego arts and culture institutions and allows Casa Familiar to serve 500 Low-Income Persons annually through expanded social services offerings. The project also features UCSD Border Community Station, which is an urban laboratory that promotes interaction and collaboration with the community to address social and economic issues and support community development. A coffee kiosk on site supports the “El K-Fe” Youth Barista training program to provide employment opportunities for youth ages 16-24. The project also includes ten affordable residential units.

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