The Thomas Effect

A New Era of Community-Led Affordable Housing

Written by Jasmine S. Williams
June 2024

Maryland’s Germaine Thomas, an up-and-coming African American real estate developer, has leveraged a $350,000 loan from CFE to transform a 1926 single-family home into affordable apartments for Housing Choice Voucher Program recipients, reflecting her deep commitment to community transformation through affordable housing. This initiative aligns with CFE’s mission to support projects that bolster low-income communities and empower minority developers and showcase the powerful synergy of purpose-driven partnerships in revitalizing neighborhoods.

“The projects I invest in are a direct reflection of my commitment to transforming communities through increasing the availability of affordable housing,” said Maryland native Germaine Thomas. Now, this up-and-coming African American real estate developer has secured a $350,000 loan from CFE to finance her third property.

Having set her sights on a 1926 single-family home in Salisbury, MD, Germaine envisioned an opportunity to create an apartment building that would exclusively house three very low-income families who are recipients of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, a federal program established to provide housing support and uplift communities under the US Office of Housing and Urban Development.

Thomas’s commitment to Salisbury has deep roots. From family members experiencing homelessness and health issues due in part to the lack of affordable housing to her desire to improve the quality of life in the region, she has identified a need for the creation and preservation of affordable housing and taken action.

Due to the property’s location and the developer’s commitment to restrict units to very low-income households, CFE was also able to leverage federal Capital Magnet Funds for this project. “Projects like these align with our mission and have the double impact of supporting a minority real estate developer to provide affordable housing to low-income communities,” said loan officer Sydney Schoeller. “This deal was a no-brainer for CFE!”

To learn more about our affordable housing financing, visit here.



About City First Enterprises:

City First Enterprises is a certified CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) specializing in flexible lending for affordable housing, commercial real estate, small businesses, non-profits, and clean energy projects. With a mission to create equitable financial solutions to support people and communities in achieving their economic aspirations, we envision a future where all people and communities transform their futures through equitable access to capital.