Border Community Capital Initiative Archive

Program Description

The Border Community Capital Initiative ("Border Initiative") is a collaborative effort among three federal agencies - the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of the Treasury - Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) and the Department of Agriculture - Rural Development (USDA-RD). The Initiative's goal is to increase access to capital for affordable housing, business lending and community facilities in the chronically underserved and undercapitalized U.S./Mexico border region. Specifically, it will provide direct investment and technical assistance to community development lending and investing institutions that focus on affordable housing, small business and community facilities to benefit the residents of colonias.


HUD, USDA-RD and the CDFI Fund have all identified lack of capacity among organizations serving the colonias and similar persistent poverty communities as a limiting factor in the effectiveness of federal programs. Inconsistent availability of limited public funding in any one region or community plays a role in this, because organizations specializing in affordable housing, small business support and community facilities cannot sustain themselves and grow. All of the agencies recognize that the targeted border communities and populations receive insufficient services because they lack organizations with the capacity to effectively respond to community needs. Conversely, higher-capacity organizations working along the border consistently cite lack of access to capital as a major barrier to expansion.

The Border Initiative focuses on improving colonias communities and creating asset building opportunities for colonias residents by helping local financial institutions improve their capacity to raise capital, and to lend and invest it in their communities. Strengthening local community development lenders and investors will also widen the channels through which larger private institutions and federal agencies can reach potential home owners, renters, business owners, facilities operators and service providers who need their support.

Roles of the Federal Partners

HUD will:

  • Make grants available to community development lenders and investors serving colonias and colonias residents, pursuant to a Notice of Fund Availability
  • Evaluate the outcomes of the Border Initiative in relation to other HUD grant-making approaches

The CDFI Fund will:

  • Provide scholarships for Border Initiative grantees, allowing staff to attend CDFI Fund sponsored training workshops
  • Provide Border Initiative grantees with technical assistance opportunities
  • Sponsor webinars specific to the needs of Border Initiative grantees

USDA-Rural Development will:

  • Where appropriate and permitted under program regulations, make efforts to award points in relevant program areas for Border Initiative grantees
  • Engage other entities of USDA to assess capacity of Border Initiative grantees to help deliver programs supporting production agriculture businesses and business activities promoting fresh food access and distribution in the border region, and other policy priorities

Program Specifics

Categories: Under the BCCI, HUD will award up to $2,000,000 on a competitive basis in two funding categories: Category I – Single Applicant and Category II - Consortium. Applicants applying for Category I must be a local rural non-profit or a Federally Recognized Indian tribe. Organizations applying for Category II must apply as a consortium with one organization acting as the lead applicant and taking responsibility for administrating the HUD funding Organizations cannot apply both independently and as part of a consortium. If HUD receives an independent application from an organization that is also part of a consortium, the independent application will be considered ineligible.

Eligible Applicants: Applicants that are eligible to participate in this initiative are community development lenders and investors, which may be local rural non-profit organizations or federally recognized tribes. Applicants do not need to be certified as Community Development Financial Institutions by the CDFI Fund at the time of application. If applicants propose to become certified as a CDFI, they should lay out milestones and timeframes toward the CDFI certification process in their application. Applicants may serve other markets than colonias residents and communities, using other sources of financing.

Goals: Funds may be used to support eligible activities that serve the following goals:

  • Expanding services in eligible colonias target markets (as defined below) by established lenders and investors in affordable housing, small business, and community facilities
  • Securing new public or private capital sources for lending or investing in affordable housing, small business and community facilities in existing or new eligible target markets.

Eligible Target Markets: Eligible target markets for use of Border Initiative funds include geographic areas and/or populations, as described below.

Geographic areas defined as colonias by The Cranston-Gonzalez National Afford Housing Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-625, Nov. 28, 1990) (the Act) and the Appropriations Act of 1997 (Pub L. 104-204, Sept. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 2887). Pursuant to these statutes, a colonia is:

  • Defined as a community with boundaries that were in existence before November 28, 1990
  • Located within 150 miles of the United States-Mexico border
  • Located outside metropolitan statistical areas with populations exceeding one million
  • Determined to be a colonia on the basis of objective criteria including the lack of potable water supply, lack of adequate sewage systems, and lack of decent, safe and sanitary housing

Applicants may also serve populations of borrowers or investees including:

  • Current low income residents of colonias
  • Businesses owned by or serving low income residents of colonias
  • Community facilities serving colonias communities or low income colonias residents
  • Owners of rental housing serving residents of colonias

Eligible Activities: Innovative housing and economic development uses, including but not limited to loan or investment capital, loan loss reserves, program staff costs, information systems, market studies, portfolio analyses ,business planning, and other activities supporting the program goals.

Grant Amount and Term: The maximum amount of funds available for Category I - Single Applicant grants is $1,000,000.  The maximum grant award amount for Category I will be up to $200,000. The maximum amount of funds available for Category II - Consortium grants is $1,000,000. The maximum grant award amount for this category will be up to $1,000,000. HUD will enter into a grant agreement with successful applicants for the performance period for up to 36 months.  

Additional Opportunity: With applicant permission, HUD will share materials with the North American Development Bank's CAIP Program, in order to streamline processing for CAIP Targeted Grant resources. Projects in CAIP Designated Eligible Areas resulting in job creation and meeting CAIP criteria will be considered for CAIP financial assistance. More information can be found at

BCCI Grantees

In March 2014, HUD awarded $2 million in BCCI funding. 

View the BCCI grantees.

One-on-One Technical Assistance

Ask your technical assistance questions: 1-877-RURAL-26. A bilingual operator is available from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM (Eastern Time), Monday to Friday, to answer your housing, infrastructure, and economic development questions. Questions can also be submitted via email to


Rural Gateway

The Rural Gateway is an information clearinghouse providing technical assistance, training workshops, and peer learning and resource sharing to support rural housing and economic development.