Mile High Community Loan Fund (MHCLF) was founded in 1999 to provide a source of early stage capital for organizations developing affordable housing in the City and County of Denver. Originally known as the Denver Neighborhood Housing Fund, the organization was initially capitalized by the City and County of Denver. Denver’s investment leveraged grants and early investments from US Bank, Enterprise Foundation and the Fannie Mae Foundation.
Today, MHCLF has grown to be an $18 million loan fund that has originated over 155 loans for a total of more than $59 million.
Mile High Community Loan Fund was certified as a community development financial institution (CDFI) in 2001 and received its first US Treasury Department—CDFI Fund financial assistance award of $1 million that same year.
The Fund grew quickly in its first two years and in 2002 expanded the market area to include the seven county Denver metropolitan area. The City and County of Denver supported this regional approach to affordable housing development and matched investments from the cities of Arvada, Lakewood, Boulder, Glendale and Englewood to further stabilize the young organization. The name of the fund was changed to the Mile High Housing Fund to reflect the regional focus of the growing organization.
Additional investors, including the Colorado Housing Finance Authority, Key Bank and Wells Fargo supported the early growth of MHCLF and the organization opened the fund to for-profit affordable housing developers.
In 2005, the Board and the staff recognized there were unmet real estate project financing needs in the Denver Metro area non-profit community. MHCLF began making community facilities loans that year and introduced its mini-perm product to meet the need for longer term loans.
MHCLF further expanded its markets to include the entire Front Range and I-70 resort counties in 2007. That same year MHCLF volunteered to participate in the CDFI Assessment Rating System (CARS) process and became one of the first 30 CDFIs in the country to complete the rigorous independent review and rating process.
While MHCLF has deep roots in affordable housing financing, by 2008 the organization had evolved into a broader community financing resource. To reflect the growth and expansion of the Fund, the current name was adopted in 2008.
Since that time, MHCLF has seen record loan volume and a number of the organizational firsts – MHCLF originated its first loan in Alamosa and the western slope and its first charter school loan (in participation with a national CDFI). MHCLF also received an upgraded CARS rating and secured its third CDFI Fund Financial Assistance award. The addition of new investors has enabled the company to achieve record levels of loan fund capital deployment.
In May 2016, MHCLF acquired Funding Partners for Housing Solutions (FP) , another prominent Colorado-focused CDFI serving the state’s low and moderate-income populations. MHCLF and FP have worked in exceptional, close-collaboration over the years to maximize availability of capital for the benefit of low and moderate-income households across Colorado. With similar business models and compatible product sets, the two organizations have regularly participated in funding residential projects, advanced policy initiatives and promoted greater collaboration within the CDFI industry. Bringing two strong organizations together provides a launch point for profound advancement in creating access to capital that could not be otherwise achieved.
The 2015-2017 strategic plan goals have mapped out the next stage of growth. MHCLF has modified loan product terms, expanded to serve the entire state and attracted new investments to increase the lending capacity of the Fund. MHCLF’s commitment to excellence, accountability to investors and stakeholders, focus on performance and dedication to mission will continue to guide the organization’s efforts to create economic opportunity for low-income individuals, households and communities.