Sunflower Bank Makes $7.5 Million Investment to Expand Affordable Housing and Economic Development in Dallas

We strive daily to uphold our mission statement, “Bringing out the best in the lives we touch . . . Creating Possibility,” through our actions with our customers, employees, and within our communities. One way that we support many of our communities is through financial assistance and strategic alignment with purposeful organizations and causes.

In 2022, statistics showed that Dallas, TX, which has since become the headquarters city of Sunflower Bank, N.A., was struggling to provide affordable housing to all those that needed it. The apartment occupancy rate was at 97%, rent had increased 17% year over year, and about half of Dallas’ families were spending more than 30% of their income on housing.

Targeting this need for additional affordable housing in Dallas led to the formation of the Dallas Housing Opportunity Fund (DHOF). The DHOF attains capital to invest in and alongside local housing developers to create and preserve affordable housing options for Dallas residents, and specifically those earning less than 120% of the local median income.

Canvas of photo of building on easel

An Anchor Investment with Debt and Equity Financing

Sunflower Bank served as the anchor investor for DHOF in 2022, providing $7.5 million in debt and equity financing.

“This project clearly reflects long-term efforts to bridge gaps in health, wealth and opportunity for residents of Dallas—especially disparities related to race and class,” stated George Ashton, president of LISC Fund Management. “We are excited to have Sunflower Bank as the Fund’s anchor investor to support this important work, and we are grateful to the city of Dallas for having the foresight to create a housing finance vehicle that can spur economic gains across the city.”

In September of 2022, DHOF identified Kiva East as the fund’s first investment. Kiva East would create 87 new rental homes in East Dallas, while also providing a free on-site day care center for families that may struggle to afford childcare. Additionally, to ensure the investment would directly impact the need for affordable housing, 70% of the apartments would be reserved for families earning 60% of the area median income or less, with additional units being set aside and priced for families earning less than $26,000

Kiva East is excited to partner with the City of Dallas and LISC to provide affordable homes for families in need, combined with services that enrich the lives of our residents. Providing tuition-free, on-site early childhood education combined with the stability offered by affordable housing is an opportunity to support better educational outcomes in our communities. This would not be possible without the financial support from the Dallas Housing Opportunity Fund,” said Lisa Stephens, president, and owner of Saigebrook Development.

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Kiva East's Affordable Housing Units Become Reality

Kiva East broke ground in December 2022 with representatives from both Sunflower Bank and Dallas Housing Opportunity Fund in attendance to support this joint effort. Jennifer Norris, Executive Vice President, and Chief Credit Officer at Sunflower Bank, spoke at the event.

Kiva East is now open and accepting new lease applicants in Dallas, officially providing more options to families and individuals in need of affordable housing in Dallas. We look forward to supporting future DHOF and other efforts in the Dallas area.

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“I am incredibly proud of the work Sunflower Bank is doing in the affordable housing space and the conversations we are leading and taking part in. Seeing heavy machinery moving dirt and establishing the foundation for the 87 units and the free childcare program, took the project from a vision of ratios and concepts on a page to tangible evidence of the impact Kiva East will have on the community. It’s easy to conceptualize the need for affordable housing and the statistics around it, but it’s entirely different to feel your organization is part of the solution in your community.”

Jennifer Norris, Executive Vice President, and Chief Credit Officer at Sunflower Bank,

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) produced this video highlighting the services of the Dallas Housing Opportunity Fund and the support of its partners, including LISC Fund Management and the City of Dallas. We're pleased to be part of this initiative and to be able to share the words of the participants in their own voices.

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