Power Forward Communities Awarded $2 Billion as Part of the National Clean Investment Fund to Decarbonize American Homes

Coalition of country’s leading housing, climate, and community investment groups will deploy combination of lending and market transformation to create healthier, safer, more resilient, and more affordable communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 4, 2024) — Today, Power Forward Communities, a coalition of some of the country’s most trusted housing, climate, and community investment groups, was awarded a $2 billion, seven-year National Clean Investment Fund (NCIF) grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide capital for affordable residential decarbonization throughout the country, with a specific focus on low-income and disadvantaged communities.

The coalition – led by Enterprise Community Partners, Rewiring America, Habitat for Humanity International, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and United Way Worldwide – is purpose-built to transform the housing sector, save homeowners and renters money, invest in stronger communities, and help meet national climate goals. 

These five organizations will collectively harness decades of experience and nationwide reach to deploy a unique combination of financing, market building, and community engagement strategies from big cities to small towns to rural and Tribal regions and everywhere in between. These efforts are expected to save families money on their utility bills, reduce emissions, and create healthier, safer, more affordable homes. 

So far, 321 organizations, including 156 communities across 46 states in every EPA region, are supporting our goal to decarbonize homes nationwide.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris have put communities at the center of their Investing in America agenda. Today, we’re putting an unprecedented $20 billion to work in communities that for too long have been shut out of resources to lower costs and benefit from clean technology solutions,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The selectees announced today will deliver transformational investments for American communities, businesses, and families and unleash tens of thousands of clean technology projects like putting solar on small businesses, electrifying affordable housing, providing EV loans for young families, and countless others. That translates to good-paying jobs, energy bill savings, and cleaner air, all while delivering on President Biden’s historic agenda to combat climate change.”

“The Inflation Reduction Act provided the single largest investment in climate solutions in U.S. history, including much-needed capital to improve American homes and serve low-income and disadvantaged communities,” said Tim Mayopoulos, CEO of Power Forward Communities and former CEO of Fannie Mae, the nation’s leading source of housing finance. “This initial funding can unlock billions of dollars of additional private capital to make the housing sector a key contributor to meeting our climate goals — and make the climate imperative a new driver of affordable and healthy housing solutions.”

Power Forward Communities’ strategy to decarbonize housing focuses on four key principles: 

  1. Reduce friction: Right now, homeowners and housing providers must navigate a complex web of regulations, incentives, tax credits, and systems. Power Forward Communities’ goal is to simplify the process and experience of household decarbonization with online tools, community-level assistance, and market partnerships. 

  2. Aggregate consumer demand: Working with communities, contractors, and local governments, Power Forward Communities will bundle opportunities to create market leverage that benefits consumers, reducing remaining costs by as much as 50 percent. 

  3. Create affordable financing solutions: Power Forward Communities will deploy NCIF funds as below-market-rate lending products to help close the gap between decarbonization costs and existing incentives. 

  4. Create a more equitable future: The coalition will invest in workforce development to create local, high-paying jobs and work with private investors and philanthropies to attract additional resources to improve and decarbonize even more American homes over the long term. 

Through the NCIF, Power Forward Communities will provide financing to homeowners and apartment building owners across the country to upgrade appliances, weatherize homes, and make them more efficient and less expensive to operate. 

For local and state governments, Power Forward Communities will leverage public and private investments to help government partners achieve affordable housing and clean energy ambitions, and for investors, Power Forward Communities will create new opportunities to deploy sustainable capital for measurable and lasting impact on families, homes, communities, and the climate. 

“The path to a more equitable, more resilient future runs through our homes and communities,” said Shaun Donovan, president and CEO, Enterprise Community Partners and co-chair of the Power Forward Communities board. “Through this endeavor, we’re committed to making American homes safer, healthier, and more affordable. Amid rising housing costs and a changing climate, Power Forward Communities stands ready to drive a vision of transformation that ensures no one is left behind.”

“Forty-two percent of U.S. energy emissions come from the cars we drive, appliances we use in our homes, and what choice we make with our utility about how to power it all,” said Ari Matusiak, president and CEO, Rewiring America, and co-chair of the Power Forward Communities board. “These are emissions we can eliminate — and bills we can lower — with heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, solar panels, home batteries, EV chargers, and more. This funding, working with the rest of the IRA, will catalyze the renewal of American homes by attracting additional private capital that will far outlast this public investment. That stream of affordable capital will make the upfront investment in these more efficient and cheaper-to-operate appliances and vehicles pencil out for families and communities all across our country."

“Here is the simple truth: climate resilience is an economic imperative for families and communities, no matter where they are located,” said Michael T. Pugh, president and CEO, LISC. “By investing in the well-being of our built environment — especially in underserved communities — we can make homes healthier and more affordable. We can help people better withstand high-intensity storms, while mitigating heat islands and pollution. And we can create quality jobs that offer strong incomes and career pathways for growth. With this vital federal funding, everyone wins.”

“At United Way we work with our neighbors to build resilient communities that can successfully adapt to any challenge,” said Angela F. Williams, president and CEO, United Way Worldwide and member of the Power Forward Communities board. “With our deep presence in 95% of U.S. communities, and the collective impact of our wonderful partners, we have an unprecedented opportunity to advance health, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability for individuals and families across America. Together, we have the power to make life healthier, happier, and more affordable for millions of people, while creating impact at a scale that will benefit the planet for generations to come.”

“In the U.S. we are dealing with dual challenges of a historic low supply of affordable homeownership options and climate change," said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford. "Habitat is committed to addressing these challenges head on with the Power Forward Communities coalition. We have seen how adequate, safe and resilient shelter can contribute to both the immediate security and long-term well-being of families while reducing a home’s environmental impact. We look forward to implementing this program nationally to ensure households are not left behind as we build now and for the future.”

In the months ahead, Power Forward Communities will finalize the design of financial products and cement local community partnerships to ensure its programming largely benefits low-income and historically disinvested communities. Power Forward Communities looks forward to beginning its programming this fall, and interested community organizations, governments, partners, and technical assistance providers can learn more by visiting powerforwardcommunities.org

Media Contact:

Want to power forward with us?

We’re always looking for new partners including community-based organizations, developers, corporations, community development financial institutions and foundations, labor unions, and utilities.

For media inquiries, please contact media@powerforwardcommunities.org

Power Forward Communities shall not, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, exclude any individual from participation in, deny the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Power Forward Communities’ designated civil rights officer is our Chief Legal Officer who can be contacted at CLO@powerforwardcommunities.org.