Affordable Housing | Fund + Invest | Our Work

Affordable Housing

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

It’s no secret that the Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.

State law requires California metro areas to plan for housing that can accommodate 100 percent of each region’s projected population growth across all income levels.

So many of MTC’s funding programs — including the OBAG program and the Housing Incentive Pool in this section — include incentives for cities and counties to encourage affordable housing construction within their borders.

Promoting Affordable Housing

MTC also has taken a more direct approach to promote affordable housing.

MTC in 2011 invested $10 million to establish a revolving loan fund to help affordable housing developers finance land acquisition in select locations near rail and bus lines throughout the Bay Area. The Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund, or TOAH, attracted another $40 million from private foundations and financial institutions to make a total of $50 million available for new loans to affordable housing developers. By 2018, TOAH financing had kick-started nine separate projects in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Fremont and Hayward that will add more than 900 units to the region's affordable housing stock.

In 2017, MTC's original $10 million investment catalyzed a relaunch of TOAH as a $40 million fund with a wider range of loan products originated by a consortium of five institutions, and with a streamlined underwriting process.

Known as TOAH 2, the relaunched fund can be used by for-profit and nonprofit developers alike to help finance the purchase or improvement of properties in Priority Development Areas and Transit Priority Areas that can be developed or redeveloped with affordable housing and with critical services such as childcare centers, health clinics, fresh food outlets or other retail space.

For more information about TOAH 2, its loan-origination partners and its lending history, see

Additional Funding

Proceeds from the auction of greenhouse gas emission allowances through the state Cap-and-Trade program have emerged as another source of financing for affordable housing! Read more in this section on Cap-and-Trade.

MTC provided $10 million in seed funding for the Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing loan fund, or TOAH for short. The fund is sponsored by the Great Communities Collaborative. Originating lenders include:



  • Corporation for Supportive Housing
  • Enterprise Community Loan Fund
  • Local Initiatives Support Corp.
  • Low-Income Investment Fund
  • Northern California Community Loan Fund

MTC in 2015 adopted new performance targets related to affordable housing and displacement that guided evaluation of Plan Bay Area 2040, the region's latest long-range transportation and land-use plan.


Check out Vital Signs.

Our interactive, and wonderfully addictive, database has the numbers to inform you about the evolution of Bay Area housing development trends over the past several decades.