Mission FCU Granted $1.6 Million To Help Build Shelter, Rehab Facility

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In one of the first efforts of its kind, Mission FCU was named the recipient of $1.6-million in grants to help build a shelter and rehabilitation facility for disabled veterans in Southern California. The grants were provided by the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco under the bank's Affordable Housing Program and will help facilitate construction of the $18 million-to-$20 million project, according to Anna Mendez, vice president for lending at the $1.8-billion credit union. The credit union's role will be to administer and manage the use of the $1.6-million grant, according to Mendez.

"We felt this was a good way to help our community as part of our new community charter," said Mendez. "This is the first time we have tapped into the FHLB for these type of funds."

The project, which is being developed by the Vietnam Veterans of San Diego, Inc., will consist of renovation and expansion of an existing 87-bed, 10-year-old facility for low- and moderate-income disabled veterans, most of them substance abusers, to encompass a total of 320-beds. It will include programs aimed at helping the disabled veterans transition to self-sufficiency, like employment training, counseling and referrals, physical and mental health care, and a Family Reunification Program, uniting homeless veterans with their children.

"This facility has a very high success rate and is being emulated all over the country," said Mendez. She said the 84% of participating veterans are recorded to reach self-sufficiency within a year within entering the program.

The FHLB grants are unusual for credit unions, which usually get short shrift in FHLB funding, despite the fact that a growing number of credit unions, now almost 800, are members of one of the 12 regional FHLBs. For example, these grants, in two separate awards, were among only two awarded to credit unions among the 51 for a total of $19.3 million awarded by the San Francisco bank under this AHP round.

The other award, a $49,000 grant, was awarded to Santa Cruz Community CU to help that credit union finance a five-unit home for very low-income homeless adults with severe psychiatric disabilities. The cost of the project will include the acquisition and rehabilitation of an existing building in nearby Watsonville. Services at the facility will include job training, employment counseling, health and youth programs, and financial literacy and life skills training.

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