Big Turnout for the Affordable Housing Developer Forum!

Big Turnout for the Affordable Housing Developer Forum!

The County of Los Angeles hosted a forum to share information about County affordable housing efforts.

Affordable Housing Developer Forum: Back to (b)AHSC(s)

by Rebecca Ferdman

On July 9th, the County of Los Angeles convened multi-family housing developers, state and local government officials, and affordable housing advocates and stakeholders for an Affordable Housing Developer Forum at the Community Development Commission in Alhambra. The forum was an opportunity for developers and LA County officials to cultivate partnerships that could bring major financial and administrative resources to the table to address the county’s affordable housing shortfall, including a deficit of 568,000 homes for its lowest income renters alone.

Over 100 participants took part in the Affordable Housing Developers Forum

While the forum touched on many potential funding sources for developers interested in building affordable housing units in the county, including local sources like Measures H and HHH and state sources such as the No Place Like Home program and the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act, the opportunity that generated the most buzz from presenters and attendees alike was the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program, a statewide program funded by California’s cap and trade dollars. This year, during Round 3 of the program, the three winning projects located in unincorporated areas of LA County were collectively awarded over $30 million, more than any other local government in the state. Together, these three projects will bring LA County 319 new units of affordable housing, nearly 8 miles of new bike lanes, 197 new crosswalks, and 261 new street trees.

To give developers an idea of how to compete for AHSC dollars, Sally Greenspan of Enterprise Community Partners provided an overview of her experience working on past AHSC applications. Though she noted that the program requirements can be met in a variety of ways and that there is no one “winning formula” for AHSC applicants, Greenspan did point towards certain strategies that winning projects often include. For example, she emphasized large, dense, and mixed-use projects with limited parking space, projects that incorporated innovative sustainability features such as on-site energy generation, and projects that include over 20% “extremely low-income units” in their housing mix. Most importantly, Greenspan stressed that successful project applications include strategies proven to reduce vehicle miles traveled by tenants and visitors, including strong bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, proximity to transit and improved transit infrastructure, and subsidized transit passes for residents.

LA County’s three winning AHSC projects from Round 3 – Florence Apartments by Amcal Housing, Willowbrook 2 by LINC Housing, and East Los Angeles Wellness Center by Meta Housing – are a testament to the successful partnerships between these developers and LA County. As a partner in these projects, LA County provided administrative support such as priority attention during the entitlement process, a central point of contact for all project team members, and a streamlined public review process. The County also made multi-departmental resources available to the projects, including resources related to sustainable transportation, connections to local communities, and technical assistance leveraging other funding opportunities.

Coral Abbott of the Strategic Growth Council fields questions.

Today, LA County is gearing up for Round 4 and looking to partner with housing developers to pursue the nearly $500 million estimated to be available to projects in the next round of AHSC applicants. Are you interested in becoming a project partner and developing a housing project in an unincorporated area of LA County? Time is running out to set your AHSC project application in motion – please fill out this form no later than July 27th to help put AHSC dollars to work bringing more affordable housing options to the residents of LA County.

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