The Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), the U.S. government's development finance institution, is launching a mortgage finance project that combines loans from OPIC with grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. The project is designed to support micro-lending in amounts as small as $1,000 for micro-mortgages and home repairs for low-income borrowers.
OPIC estimates that more than 4,000 Haitian families stand to benefit from this effort. Development Innovations Group (DIG), a U.S.-based housing finance and urban development firm, will manage the project.
An OPIC delegation will also visit Haiti this week to inspect several projects designed to revitalize Haiti's damaged economy. OPIC's current portfolio in Haiti totals more than $76 million involving six projects.
The economic viability of this project is uncertain. According to the Associated Press, the majority of Haiti's population is either unemployed or underemployed, and residential mortgage origination by the nation's banks is mostly restricted to the nation's wealthiest citizens. The overwhelming majority of Haiti's 10 million people are renters, and homeownership is still relatively rare.