STRENGTH MATTERS™ brings together three national networks of nonprofit owners and developers in the affordable housing field – Housing Partnership Network (“HPN”), NeighborWorks© America (“NW”) and Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (“SAHF”) – to advance the strength and productivity of their member organizations, which range from large multi-state owners and developers to city-wide or regional organizations to smaller community development corporations serving very targeted geographies. Together the members of the collaborating networks own and operate more than 250,000 units of affordable rental housing.
The long-term vision of STRENGTH MATTERS™ is to support the growth of top-performing nonprofits whose mission is to provide stable and affordable homes. STRENGTH MATTERS™ seeks to enable its member owners to attract additional capital by assisting them to improve their own performance and by communicating their evolving best practices to the private, public, and philanthropic sectors. These market-driven nonprofits operate with a “triple-bottom line” approach that achieves mission with sound and sustainable business practices, enabling them to serve as long-term stewards of quality affordable housing.
Two thought pieces--Policy Directions: Investing in Nonprofit Housing Social Enterprises [Word] and Strength Matters: Building Stronger Nonprofits in Housing and Community Development [PDF] explain how strong nonprofits with more capital can preserve and produce more housing that is affordable and stable and contributes to the diversity of housing choices in communities across our nation.
The STRENGTH MATTERS™ initiative encompasses four strategically linked objectives designed to support the growth, sustainability, and impact of the affordable housing industry:
I. Improve organizational operating performance;
II. Create transparency and consistency in financial reporting;
III. Increase and streamline access to capital for parent organizations; and
IV. Align public sector regulatory and underwriting policies with sustainable ownership.
To improve operating performance and create consistency in financial reporting, STRENGTH MATTERS™ launched a performance benchmarking data warehouse project using pioneering technologies developed by Coop Metrics that enables owners and operators to compare financial and operational information across peer organizations. It also creates an open-source environment for internal financial management reporting tools, enhancing the financial sophistication of the field to better match its growth. Participating organizations gain the advantage of access to reporting tools developed in collaboration with their peers and the information needed to enhance performance and reduce cost. Over the past three years this shared financial data platform has grown to a robust data set and dynamic analytic platform among 47 organizations representing 103,000 units of affordable housing.