Community Equity Investment, Inc.
Community Enterprise Investments, Inc. (CEII) is a not-for-profit community development corporation (CDC) based in Pensacola. It was first incorporated in 1974 as People Organized for Community Development (POCD), one of the first CDCs funded by the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity's "War on Poverty." CEII is governed by a 15 person community-based Board of Directors with several committees serving under them.
In 1980 the organization was renamed Community Equity Investments, Inc., changing again (to Community Enterprise Investments, Inc.) in 2003 to better reflect its primary mission: investing in business and housing enterprises. Community Enterprise Investments, Inc. is active in all phases of small and micro business lending as well as affordable rental and ownership housing.
Most of CEII's rental and ownership housing is located in Escambia County, Florida, and the City of Pensacola. Its small/micro business loan programs operate in 22 counties of Northwest Florida and in the 30 Southernmost counties of Alabama.
CEII Small Business and Micro Loan Programs
CEII offers loans to start-up and expanding business enterprises ranging from $2,500 to $150,000. All loans are currently offered at an interest rate of nine percent (9%). Loans made to businesses located within Escambia County's designated redevelopment area (call for details) are made at eight percent (8%). These interest rates are non-negotiable. Terms can be for as long as ten (10) years, but are usually around five (5) years, depending upon the size and purpose of the loan. A two percent (2%) loan closing fee is charged on all loans with the exception of SBA micro loans on which no loan closing fee is charged. CEII staff and/or legal counsel prepare all loan closing documents and handle the actual closing itself. Loan servicing is handled in-house by CEII staff and all loan payments are made directly to CEII via an ACH (automated clearing house) payment process. Businesses applying for loans MUST already be located, or are planned to be located, in either the Northwest Florida or Southern Alabama target area. CEII does not offer grants or equity investments - ONLY business loans are available.
Loan applications are available on line, or by calling the organization's office. Applicants MUST provide all requested information. CEII staff underwrite each completed loan application and examine applicants' credit history and available collateral. A relatively clean credit history and adequate loan collateral are required for all loans. All loans above $7,500 are reviewed for approval by the CEII Loan Committee and by the board of directors.
As of March 31, 2006 CEII completed 23 years of small and micro business lending with a cumulative total of 476 loans and a combined loan amount of well over $13 million. CEII's cumulative job creation figure is now 1,639 jobs. CEII's extensive track record in small and micro business lending led to its designation by the US Treasury Department as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and the award of a $50,000 technical assistance grant. CEII's designation as a CDFI creates eligibility for a variety of bank funding resources under the CDFI's Bank Enterprise Award program. CEII presently operates four different small and micro business loan programs.
In addition to its extensive rental development/management program; CEII is active in the construction and sale of new single family homes to low income first time home buyers. CEII began this program by completing and selling six existing rehab units having a total value of $327,488.
Since that time the organization has changed its focus to doing only new construction on scattered sites in existing neighborhoods. Its philosophy has been that the new construction units cost virtually the same as the rehab units and they are far preferable maintenance wise to the group's first-time home buyer clientele, as well as having a greater impact in revitalizing neighborhoods.
Most CEII ownership units are roughly 1,100 SF in size, with three bedroom and two baths. Some are larger, with 1200 to 1400 square feet. In most cases, home owners pay less on their mortgages than they previously paid for rent.
CEII has become a significant leader in the affordable rental housing market in the City of Pensacola and Escambia County. They have completed 175 units of scattered site rental housing which are managed in-house. CEII also participated as a partner in the development of 320 units of affordable rental housing on Blue Angel Parkway in Western Escambia County (Stoddert Place).
CEII utilizes a scattered site infill housing approach which is aimed at revitalizing existing neighborhoods by replacing housing stock and bringing new residents back to existing communities. Many of CEII's tenants are Section 8 voucher holders, with HUD paying a portion of their rent.
CEII manages all its rental housing (with the exception of Stoddert Place) in-house under the management of Gulfside Real Estate Development Corporation. All of CEII's apartments are rented at afforable rents to families or individuals with incomes at 60% or below Escambia County's median income. Approximately 5% are fully handicap accessible.
All rental units are rented to income eligible families on a Equal Oppotrunity basis. Information on available rental units and income guidelines may be obtained by calling the CEII Rental Office at (850) 438-9855.
Board of Directors
- ceii-cdc.org – Official site