Over the last several years, Colombia has received close to two million refugees from Venezuela as a result of the ongoing severe economic and political problems. This inflow of mainly poor and unskilled Venezuelans, coupled with the already significant number of Internally Displaced Colombians (IDPs), has become a major challenge for Colombia and is exacerbating an already chronic shortage of affordable housing and social services as well as adding to crime and urban poverty. The current situation with COVID-19 is only adding to the problem.
The original project aimed to set up an independent public-private, social infrastructure investment fund (SIIF) to underwrite the development of new housing units for Venezuelan migrants and internally displaced persons in Colombia. Because of the growing liquidity challenges in global financial markets as a result of COVID-19, the project has been scaled back to adapt to these changing circumstances. Recently the Government of Colombia has implemented a large-scale rent-to-own program for low income housing which provides generous subsidies to stimulate more available housing options for needy Colombians. The Government of Colombia has approved a very large budget for multiple years and over 120,000 low income families have already qualified for this rent to own program to take advantage of the opportunity for housing and the potential for long-term ownership.
Goldfield & Associates Inc., a Canadian based company, has been working toward developing social infrastructure models to help with the huge deficit of housing in Colombia at the lower end of the socio-economic scale. With the support of the World Refugee & Migration Council, which has provided catalytic technical assistance funding, the company has developed a strategic approach to dealing with these issues.
As an initial step, Goldfield & Associates has concluded an agreement to form a Joint Venture company with Crowe International a large international corporation with a strong Colombian affiliate. This new company will initially focus on raising US$10-20 million to provide faster and efficient affordable housing opportunities that will help IDPs and other forcibly displaced people. With that kind of funding the Company will be able to purchase from 1,000 to 1,500 newly built housing units in attractive developments in various areas of Colombia in most need.
The Council and its partners announced the launch of the new innovative fund in July 2020: Innovative investment fund in Colombia will benefit forcibly displaced.