SOURCE: National New Markets Fund, LLC

National New Markets Fund, LLC

August 27, 2012 16:39 ET

L.A. Dream Center Closes $49.7 Million in New Markets Tax Credit Funding to Expand Group/Family Housing at Former Queen of Angels Hospital

NMTC Allocation Will Complete Transformation of Historic Hospital and Increase Services for People in Need

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 27, 2012) - The Los Angeles Dream Center -- a volunteer-driven organization that provides vital support services to more than 50,000 people in need each month -- has secured $49.7 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to complete its transformation of the former Queen of Angels Hospital campus. 

The funding will enable The Dream Center to turn currently unused space in its 400,000 sq. ft. facility just east of Los Angeles' Echo Park neighborhood into housing, increasing its total number of residents (impoverished families, at-risk youth and victimized women) from 650 to nearly 1,000. Founded in 1994, The Dream Center provides a range of vital services including rehabilitation programs, transitional shelter for homeless families and victims of human trafficking, mobile hunger relief and medical programs, foster care intervention, and education/job skills training -- all targeted at rebuilding lives and families. The Dream Center's long record of success has led to the establishment of more than 100 independent Dream Centers across the U.S. and around the world.

"New Markets Tax Credits were the key to making this much-needed expansion project a reality," said Dream Center President Matthew Barnett. "NMTC funding will enable us to provide housing and support services to hundreds more people annually." Pastor Barnett noted however that even with the infusion of NMTCs, the expansion's success will require ongoing support from donors and the community. "The funding announced today is for construction that will increase our capacity to help even more people tomorrow."

The NMTC program was established by Congress in 2000 to stimulate investment and economic growth in designated low-income communities. It helps raise investor capital and leverage public and private funding to provide borrowers, such as The Los Angeles Dream Center, with financing in the form of very favorable rates and flexible, below-market terms. It helps fill financing gaps when other public and private funding sources are insufficient or unavailable. NMTCs enable borrowers to focus more fully on their mission; in this case, fighting poverty, homelessness and human trafficking in Los Angeles.

"The Dream Center is a remarkable organization that helps Angelenos get back on their feet in the toughest of times," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "The City of Los Angeles is proud to support this project by providing a portion of the City's NMTC allocation awarded to the Los Angeles Development Fund. I know this expansion will be a blessing for those most in need."

Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti added, "The Dream Center has a proven track record of providing much needed housing, educational programs, job skills training and counseling to help Los Angeles families turn their lives around. It's great that the NMTC funds will allow them to serve even more people in need."

The total NMTC allocation of $49.7 million includes $16.3 million from National New Markets Fund, $16.1 million from Opportunity Fund, $10 million from Los Angeles Development Fund, $5 million from Chase New Markets Corporation and $2.3 million from New Markets Community Capital. Chase served as the tax credit investor.

"The Dream Center facility expansion is precisely in line with the goal of the NMTC program, which is to provide services and economic opportunity to those most in need," said Deborah La Franchi, president of National New Markets Fund -- the first NMTC lender to commit to the project. "All of the investing parties were sold the moment we understood how the tax credits would transform The Dream Center's unused space and help those fighting to escape homelessness and poverty."

Construction on the Dream Center expansion is expected to be completed in late 2013, at which time residents will be able to move into the newly-expanded facility. 

"Opportunity Fund believes economic stability starts with a safe place to live and access to the vital services all Californians need," said Eric Weaver, CEO of the Opportunity Fund. "Investments like The Dream Center help achieve our vision to expand economic opportunity in California. We are thrilled to see the new facilities open."

About The Dream Center
The Dream Center is a volunteer-driven faith-based organization founded in 1994 by Pastor Matthew Barnett to help alleviate poverty and heal individual suffering. The Dream Center mobilizes an army of some 4500 volunteers, and currently serves more than 50,000 people each month. It works with 25-plus food producers that donate food, which is in-turn, distributed to more than 60 churches and community groups. The Dream Center also housed hundreds of survivors from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina -- more than any other entity in Los Angeles County. For more information, please visit www.dreamcenter.org.

About the New Markets Tax Credit Program
The New Markets Tax Credit program (NMTC program) was established by Congress in 2000 to spur new or increased investment in operating businesses and real estate projects located in low-income communities. The NMTC program attracts investment capital to low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax return in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial institutions called Community Development Entities (CDEs). Since the NMTC Program's inception, 664 awards allocating a total of $33 billion in tax credit authority to CDEs have been made through a competitive application process. Visit www.cdfifund.gov

About National New Markets Fund (NNMF)
NNMF is a joint venture between Strategic Development Solutions and Economic Innovation International, Inc. NNMF is a mission-driven fund that invests in projects and companies that benefit low income communities across the U.S. NNMF has received $237 million in NMTCs to date and invested in 20 projects. For more on NNMF projects, see www.sdsgroup.com/funds/national-new-markets-fund/nnmf-projects.

About Los Angeles Development Fund
The Los Angeles Development Fund (LADF) is a California non-profit corporation established by the City of Los Angeles in September 2006 to manage its New Markets Tax Credit program. LADF is certified by the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund as a Community Development Entity and has been awarded $125 million in allocation. For projects financed, see www.ladfnewmarkets.org.

About Opportunity Fund
Opportunity Fund is a not-for-profit social enterprise helping thousands of California families build financial stability. Opportunity Fund's strategy combines microloans for small businesses, microsavings accounts and community real estate financing. Since making its first loan in 1995, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $235 million into California's underserved communities. Visit www.opportunityfund.org.

About New Markets Community Capital (NMCC)
For more than 40 years, TELACU -- the parent of NMCC -- has improved the lives of individuals and families through community development, economic empowerment and educational advancement. For more about TELACU's business model, visit www.telacu.com.

About Chase
Chase is the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM). More information about Chase is available at www.chase.com.

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