Community moves AHEAD with FHLBank San Francisco and Mendo Lake Credit Union

(September 6, 2013) — The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco announced its 2013 awards through the Bank’s Access to Housing and Economic Assistance for Development (AHEAD) Program this week. The grants are provided through member financial institutions both large and small.  This year, 21 FHLB SF members will be supporting 33 innovative initiatives which address a variety of needs and populations thanks to funding from the FHLBSF AHEAD program funding – including three fortunate applicants, sponsored by Mendo Lake Credit Union (MLCU).

California Human Development (CHD), a Santa Rosa-based 46-year-old nonprofit agency serving 31 California counties, was awarded $42,000 to fund its Mobile Migrant Farmworker Housing Unit Demonstration Model project.  The project proposes using portable housing units as temporary homes for seasonal migrant farmworkers.  Antonio Silva, Housing Director of CHD, said that the grant “will allow CHD to demonstrate the feasibility of a mobile housing solution to meet the housing needs of peak harvest workers.  These workers often struggle to find adequate housing at harvest time.  Our concept is to bring the housing to the workers.”   The funds to construct a prototype mobile unit – providing housing for up to four to six workers — will allow CHD to both test and market the concept to a larger audience of funders, growers and farmworkers.   “With success, CHD envisions a fleet of these mobile units which will provide much needed short term and affordable housing as the units rotate among California’s significant agricultural regions.  We are excited and grateful to have the opportunity to test this concept,” states Christopher Paige, CEO of CFD.

Redwood Children’s Services will use their $25,000 grant to support its Arbor Youth Program.  The Arbor currently serves 1,700 low-income foster or at-risk youth between the ages of 14 and 24 in the Ukiah Valley area.  Young people using the center have access to computers, clothing, food, employment assistance, education support, and community connections, as well as gang prevention programs and support groups for young mothers.  The grant will help to fund facility expansion, new equipment purchases, and the hiring of a bilingual staff person.  MLCU staff support the Arbor program by providing financial literacy classes and banking services for Arbor clients.

The Resource for Native Development (RFND) provides business development, consumer, and home repair loans to Indian tribes within a 9-county region of California.  Tribal economies within this region are severely underdeveloped, with low rates of home-ownership, asset growth, and business development.  “The $25,000 AHEAD award will provide operating support to RFND to obtain certification as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) from the US Treasury as the first Native CDFI serving this area,” said Darlene Tooley, Executive Director of the Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority.  “Our market study supports the need for financial education and opportunities for Native people to access capital and financial services.  RFND obtaining this certification will be a significant step forward to address that need in our community.”  As a CDFI credit union, MLCU has supported RFND’s progress in obtaining their own CDFI designation through funding and volunteer service.

“The Bank is pleased that Mendo Lake Credit Union continues to be such an effective user of our AHEAD Program,” said Marietta Núñez, Vice President, Community Lending at FHLBank San Francisco. “The breadth of the needs being addressed in the projects Mendo Lake is sponsoring speaks to how an engaged financial partner, no matter its size, can be a valuable partner for innovation in so many diverse areas.”

Richard Cooper, CEO of Mendo Lake Credit Union (MLCU), said that “MLCU is honored to provide access to FHLBank San Francisco funding for local organizations.  We have a close connection with all three organizations.  All three recipients are non-profit organizations that foster economic development and promote community stability and self-sufficiency which align with our own organizational goals and objectives.”  For more information on the AHEAD program and a full list of 2013 awardees go to

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