Merger creates regional affordable housing development power
Newly named Evernorth sees ‘substantially greater impact’
A Maine-based regional nonprofit housing and community development corporation is expanding its footprint across northern New England with a merger with a similar Vermont organization with the goal of expanding access to capital for the creation of affordable housing as well as weatherization and economic development projects across the three-state area.
The Northern New England Housing Investment Fund, a 501 (c)(3) based in Portland, announced the merger with Burlington, Vt.-based Housing Vermont at the end of July. The larger entity will be calked Evernorth, with offices in the two states.
Housing Vermont chief Nancy Owens will serve as co-president of Evernorth with her colleague in Maine, Bill Shanahan.
For over 30 years, the organizations have together built more than 13,000 affordable homes for low- and moderate-income people and raised more than $1 billion in equity capital for housing throughout the region. They also invest in sustainable commercial development and job creation.
Among recent New Hampshire projects aided through funding from Evernorth’s predecessor organizations are the Harbor Homes 30-unit Boulder Point Veterans Housing in Plymouth; construction of Weeks Medical Center’s Lancaster Patient Care Center; and the 40,000-square-foot addition of Bensonwoods and Unity Homes, the energy-efficient timberframe commercial and residential design-build firm in Keene.
Nancy Owens and Bill Shanahan, respectively the former presidents of Housing Vermont and NNEHIF, will serve as co-presidents of Evernorth.
Shanahan said the merger has been in discussion over the last two years, and “it became evident that by combining resources and expertise, we could have substantially greater impact.”
Owens pointed out that “Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont face so many similarities with a shortage of affordable housing and the need for community investment,” adding that the merger “will allow us to garner more resources, increase and enhance our services, while at the same time remaining closely attuned to local needs.”
They said Evernorth will continue to offer all of the services provided by its predecessor organizations, including raising capital for affordable housing, working with developers to finance new projects and developing and owning real estate, investing in growing businesses with New Market Tax Credits and supporting owners and investors with asset management services, and advocating for low-income people and communities.