Toronto, ON, Oct. 26, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Traditional Territories of multiple Indigenous Nations, including the Haudenosaunee and the Treaty Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit/Toronto, ON – Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB), in partnership with Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT), today announced a new financing solution to increase community access to affordable rental housing in Parkdale, Toronto. The first-of-its-kind Preserve and Protect Guarantee Program will support the Neighbourhood Land Trust (NLT) – PNLT’s charitable arm – to rapidly acquire at-risk affordable rental buildings in Parkdale, helping to fill a gap in existing funding for the preservation of affordable housing.
“Affordable rentals provide crucial housing for our communities. Yet over the past decade, Parkdale has lost 28 rooming houses to gentrification and renoviction, displacing hundreds of renters – many of whom have now been pushed into homelessness – and disproportionately impacting BIPOC people and working class residents,” said Joshua Barndt, Executive Director of Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust.
“The new Preserve and Protect Program is a solution to this problem as we fight for a just recovery,” Joshua Barndt continued. “It will allow the Neighbourhood Land Trust to respond quickly to acquire at-risk properties that are put up for sale, protecting our supply of affordable rental housing and tackling Toronto’s affordability crisis head-on.”
To date, over $4 million has been committed from five investors, with the Atkinson, Metcalf, ECHO and Fairmount Foundations providing the anchor investments to kickstart the Preserve and Protect Program – and progress is already being made. The NLT is currently monitoring 59 at-risk rental properties in Parkdale, with the objective of protecting over 40 units of affordable rental housing in the first round of the program. This initiative builds on the success of the NLT’s Rooming House Acquisition Pilot Project in 2019, which saw the preservation of a 15-unit building as permanently affordable housing and involved financing from VCIB.
“We’re inspired to see impact investors across sectors coming together to support an innovative solution that addresses the affordability crisis and helps facilitate an inclusive recovery for all,” said Jay-Ann Gilfoy, CEO of VCIB. “Following VCIB’s support for PNLT’s first acquisition in 2019, we’re pleased to now be able to co-develop a program that allows them to replicate that success and secure as many homes as possible, as quickly as possible.”
Colette Murphy, CEO of the Atkinson Foundation, said: “The Atkinson Foundation’s commitment to the residents of Parkdale goes back four decades. In recent years, we’ve backed the efforts of the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre and the Parkdale People’s Economy project to enact their exciting vision for equitable local economic development that centres on residents’ well being. As an anchor investor in the Preserve and Protect Program, we can see how our support for the Neighbourhood Land Trust and VCIB will preserve affordable rental housing in Parkdale in perpetuity. That’s an outstanding return on investment!”
As Canada’s first and only values-driven bank, VCIB is committed to driving positive social and environmental change within the communities in which it operates. The Preserve and Protect Guarantee Program signals the bank’s ongoing commitment to use the tools of finance to create innovative, long-lasting solutions to address Toronto’s housing crisis.
The Preserve & Protect Program remains open to additional investment, with a first close scheduled for December this year. Under the Program, VCIB will hold funds from investing organizations in a VCIB Impact GIC that will be used to guarantee a loan to the NLT for the acquisition of at-risk properties.
About Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB)
VCIB is an Ontario-based schedule 1 federally chartered bank and a subsidiary of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity). As Canada’s first values-driven bank, VCIB partners exclusively with organizations that drive social, economic, and environmental change. The bank is committed to connecting these visionary enterprises with financial solutions that allow them to create, grow, and foster change. VCIB’s primary focus is lending for social purpose real estate (affordable housing, co-op housing, co-working spaces, green and heritage buildings), as well as meeting the needs of non-profit organizations, foundations, and social enterprises. For more information, visit vcib.ca, tweet us at @BankVancity and connect with us at Facebook.com/BankVancity.
About Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust
Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT) is a community land trust in Parkdale led by a group of residents and organizations trying to protect the social, cultural and economic diversity of Parkdale by redefining how land is used and developed. The Neighbourhood Land Trust is the charitable arm of the PNLT. Through the community land trust model, PNLT and NLT will acquire land and use it to meet the needs of Parkdale by leasing it to non-profit charitable partners who can provide affordable housing, supportive housing and community economic development.
About Atkinson Foundation The Atkinson Foundation is a Canadian charitable foundation committed to social and economic justice. We are part of a global movement that believes income, wealth and democractic inequality are not inevitable. As a grantmaker, investor and advocate, we work alongside community organizers, workers, policy innovators and investors who are creating more decent work and a fair economy.
Italy Keeps Investment Grade Rating by Fitch Amid Pandemic – BNN
(Bloomberg) — Italy’s credit grade was left unchanged for now by Fitch Ratings, which said the rating is supported by factors including a diversified and high value-added economy, even amid the “significant impact” of the pandemic.
The BBB- rating is just one notch above junk, though Fitch’s stable outlook means there’s no immediate risk of a downgrade. The country’s financial position has been severely weakened by the cost of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
The economy will start to recover next year, based on the assumption that lock-down measures will be gradually lifted and a vaccination program will start in the first quarter, but annual growth figures will be still heavily influenced by base effects, Fitch said in a statement Friday.
Italy started 2020 already encumbered with a significant debt load, a situation made worse because of the virus and the various shutdowns needed to contain the disease.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government has tried to shield the country’s fragile economy with over 100 billion euros ($121.4 billion) in stimulus spending so far. That’s pushed debt close to 160% of output. The government’s worst-case scenario sees gross domestic product falling 10.5% this year and rising only 1.8% in 2021.
Fitch forecasts a deficit of 8% of GDP in 2021 and 6.6% of GDP in 2022, the ratings company said Friday.
Despite the dire fiscal position, Italy’s sovereign borrowing costs have fallen this year. Its 10-year yields are near a record low thanks largely to the European Central Bank’s huge bond-buying effort. That stimulus program may get expanded again next week, providing more space for governments with stretched finances.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Vegan Investment Fund Goes Public in Canada – VegNews
Vancouver-based Eat Beyond Global Holdings—the first investment issuer in Canada focused on the global plant-based and alternative food sector—recently began trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) under the symbol “EATS.” Eat Beyond identifies and makes equity investments in global companies in the sector, which includes plant-based proteins, fermented proteins, cultured proteins, food technology, and consumer packaged goods as well as cellular agriculture and other experimental projects.
“We created Eat Beyond to make it easy to invest in the future of food and provide retail investors with access to the very best companies in the sector,” Patrick Morris, CEO of Eat Beyond, said. “The space has seen enormous interest from the market for brands such as Beyond Meat, but that was really just the tip of the iceberg. The diverse range of innovation taking place in this sector is staggering.”
Investing in the future of food
Eat Beyond aims to provide retail investors with the opportunity to invest in the growth of innovative plant-based and alternative food companies. Its current portfolio includes The Very Good Food Company (parent company of The Very Good Butchers), Eat JUST Inc. (the maker of JUST Egg), TurtleTree Pte. Ltd. (a cell-based food tech company focused on disrupting the global dairy industry), Nabati Foods Inc. (maker of vegan chocolate, desserts, and cheese), SingCell Tx Pte Ltd (a clean meat manufacturing platform in Singapore), Good Natured (a producer of eco-friendly, plant-based food packaging), and Greenspace Brands Inc. (owner of the Love Child brand).
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Why Bitcoin Is the Best Investment Opportunity Post-Pandemic. Here’s What Will Drive the Price Higher. – Barron's
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution,
Palo Alto, Calif.
Niall Ferguson, 56, is one of the world’s leading historians, a prolific author, and creator of the TV series The Ascent of Money, which won an International Emmy award. His new book, DOOM: The Politics of Catastrophe, will be published next spring. He is also working on the second volume of his biography of Henry Kissinger. Born in Scotland, Ferguson is now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and founder of Greenmantle, a macroeconomic and geopolitical advisory firm.
Barron’s: What will be the best investment opportunity coming out of the pandemic?
Niall Ferguson: I’m going to go with Bitcoin. It has had a stellar year, up 165% year to date. [It’s now above $19,000.] If, at the beginning of the year, you had said, “The pandemic is coming. It’s going to be very disruptive. Should I choose gold or Bitcoin?” you would have been right to choose Bitcoin because gold is only up 21%. So Bitcoin returns have been an order of magnitude higher.
Why has that happened?
In a pandemic, financial history can be accelerated. We’ve seen that in just the same way that the use of coins as money was accelerated by the Black Death. Payments in kind were yielding to a cash economy in Europe, and this was accelerated in the 1340s. The acceptance of Bitcoin as a digital asset, a quasi-digital gold, has been accelerated by this pandemic. Almost every month, some major figure in the mainstream investment world has said, “OK, now I’ll take Bitcoin seriously.” This process of institutional adoption has further to run.
Many remain cautious or outright bearish on Bitcoin.
You could argue, if you were a skeptic like my old friend Nouriel Roubini, that this is just another bubble. But the adoption of a new financial technology tends to be quite volatile, and each time Bitcoin rallies and then folds, it folds to a higher level than the time before. So you could probably take a little bit of downside risk, but hold Bitcoin for a year to five years and feel pretty good about it.
What might drive Bitcoin higher?
In a new edition of my book, The Ascent of Money, two years ago, I observed that if all the millionaires in the world collectively decided to hold 0.2% of their assets in Bitcoin, the Bitcoin price would be $15,000, which it reached this year. If it was 1%, then the price would be $75,000 per Bitcoin. So, as people adopt this as a new form of asset that has a respectable place in a diversified portfolio, there is still quite a bit of upside.
There are about 18.5 million Bitcoins outstanding, and the total amount is capped at 21 million. That values Bitcoin at $350 billion now, versus about $10 trillion for all the world’s gold. What makes Bitcoin distinctive?
Bitcoin is the only digital asset or token that has scarcity built in. Everything in the internet is defined by a superabundance; Bitcoin is the exception.
[ticker: PYPL] and others are allowing people to use Bitcoin to buy stuff. Will that help?
I don’t think Bitcoin is for buying things at
It’s a peculiar form of asset, and isn’t highly correlated to other assets. A friend told me to think of Bitcoin as an option on digital gold. I like that formulation, because it has behaved kind of like that. So, I don’t think PayPal is the cure. It is more that, if every millionaire is adding a little bit of Bitcoin, that has a lot of power to bid the price up.
How hard is it to buy and hold Bitcoin?
It’s getting easier. Coinbase, for instance, has made it very easy to trade cryptocurrencies, but quite expensive each time you transact. That will change over time. That again is typical of an early stage of a financial innovation.
What are some key policy issues the U.S. will face in a post-Covid world?
On foreign policy, China is the big issue. The Biden administration can’t simply turn the clock back to 2016 and revert to the late Obama years when the U.S. essentially acquiesced to China’s rise. That is the main challenge for Biden, whose instincts are not especially hawkish on China. But his foreign-policy team will be telling him to stay tough, because public sentiment has changed.
Also, the pandemic revealed that our bureaucracy generally has become sclerotic. You can blame the poor response to Covid on President Trump if you like, but it wasn’t all his fault. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention completely screwed up testing; HHS [the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] was clueless about the nature of the challenge it faced. And state governments, not least New York, did abysmally, too. So, the question I would put to Biden’s team is, if that’s how we fail at the pandemic, what other disasters could we fail at on your watch? It isn’t likely that the next disaster will be another pandemic. History never works that way. So, there is a general problem at both the federal and state level. We have dysfunctional bureaucracies, and they don’t handle crises well. This isn’t peculiar to a pandemic. Look back over the past 20 years to [Hurricane] Katrina or even 9/11.
Will fixing the problem require more money or a different approach?
It is definitely not more money. It is about the incentives within the public sector and the curious ways in which federal agencies grow larger and more bureaucratic. Other countries don’t seem to suffer to the same extent. Germany is better run than the U.S., and Taiwan is far better run than the U.S. We need to recognize that there is something wrong in the state of our government.
What can we learn from Taiwan or South Korea?
If you are a government or a country that has reason to be paranoid, whether you are Taiwan next to the People’s Republic of China or South Korea next to North Korea, you are generally anti-fragile. This is a term from Nassim Taleb [the author of The Black Swan]. You are on the lookout for trouble without necessarily putting all your eggs in one basket of preparedness. The flexibility of the Taiwanese and South Korean response tells you something about the way they are set up, with a sort of built-in insecurity. But if you are the No. 1 superpower, you can get complacent about risks. The challenge for any new administration is to try to get away from highly detailed regulatory solutions to problems, which fill pages and pages of the federal register, and instead have a more responsive, flexible attitude toward the multitude of potential crises that we face.
Where would you most like to go when the pandemic ends?
The pandemic has made big cities hazardous places, and I’ve spent most of this year in a rural backwater. So, the place I’d most want to go is London because two of my children live there and I haven’t seen them since February. Also, because I just love the idea of being in a crowded pub in London, preferably just before an Arsenal game at Emirates [the Arsenal soccer club’s home stadium in London], surrounded by fellow Arsenal fans, having a pint and not worrying when somebody coughs in my face. That’s what I am really looking forward to.
Share your thoughts on the post-pandemic world: What do you think will be the greatest investment opportunity post-Covid? What will be the most important public policy issue that the U.S. will face? Where would you most like to visit once the virus is no longer a threat to travel? Click here to share your thoughts with us.
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