Nat’l Initiative Awards Up to $16M to Twin Cities

The Twin Cities has been chosen as one of five winners in a new initiative, which supports improving access to opportunities for low-income people.

Living Cities, a collaborative of 22 of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions, announced Thursday that the Twin Cities has been chosen as one of five winners in its new Integration Initiative and will receive up to $16 million.

Integration Initiative supports efforts to improve access to opportunities for low-income people. The Twin Cities will use the funds to ensure that public investment in transit projects creates positive impacts for lower-income residents and communities.

Specifically, the money will help preserve or create between 400 and 600 units of transit-accessible affordable housing in the Twin Cities and provide nearly 100 businesses with a combination of marketing and planning assistance, faade improvement grants, and new loan resources to prepare for construction and help the businesses succeed once construction is completed.

“The Living Cities collaborative gives us a historical opportunity to build new transit lines that benefit households on their way up the economic ladder,” Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said in a statement.

The Twin Cities is eligible for up to $16 million in grants, loans, and program-related investments (PRIs) to support its efforts. PRIs are flexible, low-cost loans provided at below-market rates to support charitable activity.

The Saint Paul Foundation will distribute grant funds and several national banking institutions will make loan funds available for transit-related regional projects. The four other cities that will receive Living Cities Integration Initiative funding are Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Newark, New Jersey.

Living Cities was founded in 1991 and has since invested more than $1 billion in American cities, which has been leveraged into $16 billion to help make a difference in communities throughout the nation.