The Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), a New York- and Washington, D.C.-based community development intermediary that provides assistance to transform distressed communities, recently announced the opening of its Green Development Center, which will aid LISC’s 30 local offices in its green building efforts. Since 1980, LISC has raised more than $8.6 billion to build or rehabilitate more than 230,000 affordable homes.

“The Green Development Center is here to provide guidance around what questions to ask in terms of greening and to also provide the local offices with the connections to the local green resources, both technical and financial,” says program director Madeline Fraser Cook. The Center also will focus on the green aspects of community development, job training, and economic development.

Cook recently joined LISC after an eight-year stint at New Ecology, a Cambridge, Mass.-based organization that promotes best practices of sustainable development.

While constructing affordable sustainable housing is LISC’s primary goal, Fraser Cook tells Green Products and Technology Online the Green Development Center will look into the green remodeling of affordable housing.

“There’s a lot of attention paid to new construction but a lot of [LISC’s] projects are rehabs, so what does greening mean in the rehab sector?” Fraser Cook explains. “We're going to be talking about rehabbing, and I think that it is a conversation that is increasingly being had in the affordable housing sector.”

LISC’s latest efforts are not its first foray in sustainable home building. The San Francisco branch, with the help of The Home Depot, launched “Green Connection,” a program aimed at educating affordable housing developers about green building practices. In Boston, LISC and New Ecology created an assessment tool that allows developers to take the maximum advantage of green opportunities in their projects. And in Duluth, Minn., LISC is building a solar demonstration home.

"It's clear that embedding green principles into all facets of neighborhood revitalization leads directly to results consistent with LISC's mission of helping to build sustainable communities that are better places to live and work," said Greg Maher, LISC's senior vice president for lending, in a press release. "Lowered operating costs, increased household income, and the improved health of children--these are direct results of green-focused development."