A SCHOOL BUS driver, shoe store worker, car salesperson, factory worker, restaurant server, landscaper, dental assistant, online college instructor, dog breeder, hairdresser, hospital administrator, state employee, auto mechanic, construction foreman, child care teacher, janitor, cook, nanny, hotel housekeeper.
What do these people have in common? All are workers whose skills directly improve our lives, or whose labor keeps New Hampshire’s economy humming.
All fall just outside of the “essential” worker category that has allowed many to continue earning while the rest of the state socially distances. And all are New Hampshire Community Loan Fund home loan borrowers who are receiving relief from making their mortgage payments.
When we think about victims of the coronavirus, our thoughts and hearts deservedly go first to the people who have become ill, their families and caretakers, and the responders and medical professionals on the front line. The next layer of victims was created not by the pandemic, but by the economic disruption it has unleashed.
These are the people the Community Loan Fund serves: People with very-limited incomes and the child care centers and nonprofits they rely on, workers who lack college degrees and the entrepreneurs who create good jobs for them, owners of manufactured homes and the cooperative communities they live in. We’ve invested more than 1,000 loans — nearly $150 million — in their determination and resilience.
And just as business owners need to adapt to a new economic reality — restaurants and retailers offering curbside service, manufacturers retooling their operations to make protective gear — so too is the Community Loan Fund. We’re determined to help as many of our mortgage borrowers as possible keep their homes and help as many business and nonprofit borrowers as possible survive and preserve their work teams.
It’s a heavy lift, and we’re doing it by staying close to our roots. The Community Loan Fund was built by citizens to meet New Hampshire’s needs. We promote homegrown solutions, neighbors helping neighbors like they’ve done all the way back to our community harvest and barn-raising days.
We’ve launched a Borrower Stabilization Fund to take donations to assist our New Hampshire neighbors who need help. Here’s what we’re doing with it so far:
Pausing loan payments for all borrowers affected by illness, layoffs, or closures.
Providing customized coaching to help businesses survive and adapt.
Providing a free, confidential, help line to connect our borrowers with community resources.
Offering fair fixed-rate home equity loans to our mortgage borrowers.
In this climate, community lenders must be more creative than they’ve ever been before because our communities are at stake.
Think about the group of veterans who live in Rock Rimmon Cooperative in Danville and the local entrepreneurs whose supply chains have dried up.
Think about the parents who still have jobs but need their local child care center to reopen, and the laid-off workers worried they’ll lose their last housing option, their affordable manufactured homes.
Business as usual is gone, but community at this time of hardship is more important than ever.