Esperanza hosts FHFA and Partners Paving Way for Innovative Affordable Rental Housing Solutions in Philadelphia

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On Tuesday, March 12, 2024, Esperanza hosted a gathering featuring the Honorable Sandra Thompson, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), focusing on innovative solutions to affordable rental housing challenges in Philadelphia. Watch the full program here.

The event brought together stakeholders in banking, housing finance, and city and state governance, underscoring a collective commitment to addressing the needs of low- to moderate-income working-class communities, with a particular emphasis on the city’s Latino population.

The day began with introductory remarks from Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr., the founder, and president of Esperanza. Keynote speaker Bruce Katz, of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University, discussed the need for a dual preservation strategy that tackles the needs of low-income renters and minority small business owners in local corridors that risk being priced out of the neighborhood. The findings were published in a report by Esperanza, the Nowak Metro Finance Lab, and the Aspen institute.

A panel comprised of affordable housing experts, Dr. Ira Goldstein from the Reinvestment Fund, Markita Morris-Louis, Esq., Compass Working Capital, and Corey Aber, Freddie Mac, hosted by Pedro Ramos, explored the difficulties of financing affordable housing in Philadelphia. Dr. Goldstein spoke about the challenge with the region’s Area Median Income (AMI), comprising various counties of which Philadelphia is the poorest, meaning the AMI is not a true reflection of the city’s median income. Ms. Morris-Louis argued for a “multipronged solution” that incorporates wealth building as a crucial step to address asset poverty in the City. Esperanza’s START project includes a wealth building component via the creation of matched savings program for its tenants.  Corey Aber, the Vice President of Mission, Policy, and Strategy at Freddie Mac Multifamily, highlighted their commitment via its portfolio of productions addressing new supply, rehabilitation, preservation of affordability, among other matters. “Our flexible products and programs support affordable housing in local communities and nationwide,” Mr. Aber added.

Following the panel, Peter Knight, co-founder of Policy Kinetics, gave a policy overview of efforts to create new sources of long-term funding for affordable housing, the importance of utilizing scattered site single family rentals, and the role that the Federal Home Loan Banks could play in that effort.

Mr. Knight introduced Reverend Cortés and Director Thompson, who sat down to discuss new methods to support affordable housing through enhanced liquidity options. Thompson’s insights into federal initiatives and collaborative approaches set a constructive tone for future endeavors in housing finance reform.

In his concluding statements, Reverend Cortés stressed the need for ongoing conversations and initiatives among all involved parties to improve the affordability and longevity of housing for Philadelphia’s working-class families. He expressed his satisfaction with the commitment from financial market leaders to innovate funding solutions for affordable housing. “I am so happy that leaders of the capital markets have taken on the challenge of finding new ways of financing affordable housing for 40% to 60% AMI. Director Thompson’s actions have already resulted in hundreds of millions of additional dollars for affordable housing. I, for one, am grateful.”

During her visit, Director Thompson also had the opportunity to meet with students from Esperanza Academy and share with them insights about careers in Government and housing finance.

The strategies discussed have great potential for scalability across key cities across the US, making this a new national model for affordable housing. Esperanza, with a track record of supporting affordable housing initiatives for nearly forty years, remains dedicated to its mission of empowering Hispanic communities through such meaningful dialogues and initiatives.















Bruce Katz, Co-founder and inaugural Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University













Pedro Ramos, President and CEO, Philadelphia Foundation with Ira Goldstein, Senior Advisor, Policy Solutions, Reinvestment Fund, Markita Morris-Louis, Esq., CEO, Compass Working Capital and Corey Aber, Vice President, Multifamily Mission, Policy & Strategy, Freddie Mac



















Peter Knight, Co-founder Policy Kinetics










The Reverend Luis Cortes sits down with the Honorable Sandra Thompson for a fireside chat.










Rev. Luis Cortes and Sandra Thompson spoke with Esperanza Academy students.