OAKLAND, CA — Local transportation and planning officials are applauding yesterday’s action by California’s Strategic Growth Council to award over $47 million in state Cap-and-Trade funds to 11 affordable, transit-oriented housing and mixed-use projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area grants are part of a package of Cap-and-Trade competitive grants with a total value of $122 million awarded by the Strategic Growth Council to 28 housing and transportation projects across California.
The grants are the first to flow from the state’s new Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting compact infill development, encouraging transit usage and protecting agricultural land from sprawl, with a special emphasis on helping disadvantaged communities.
Two Bay Area regional agencies, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), played a key role in vetting and supporting the Bay Area projects submitted to the Strategic Growth Council, which awarded the funds at a meeting in Sacramento. The 11 winning Bay Area projects were drawn from a list of 13 projects that had been endorsed by MTC and ABAG following a joint review by the two regional agencies.
ABAG President Julie Pierce, who also sits on MTC and is a councilmember in the city of Clayton, pointed out that Bay Area projects were awarded nearly 40 percent of this first round of funding from the statewide Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program. “I think it speaks highly of the professionalism and competitiveness of our local jurisdictions and the nonprofit corporations they rely on to build much of our region’s affordable housing,” she said.
The 11 Bay Area grants range from $1 million to $10 million, and together will help build 777 units of affordable housing — a lucky number that caught the attention of MTC Chair Dave Cortese, who is president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. “This is a lucky day indeed for low-income Bay Area residents, including seniors, the homeless and families struggling to stay afloat in the region’s super-charged housing market,” he said.
According to ABAG Deputy Executive Director Brad Paul, in many cases these new grants will provide a crucial last piece of funding and will accelerate the construction schedule for affordable housing projects already in the pipeline. He also noted that the projects are more than isolated pockets of high-density housing — collectively they will provide more than 34,000 square feet of retail space that will provide needed services for residents while helping to revitalize neighborhoods.
In addition, all of the projects are located on an existing or planned major rail or bus route, and incorporate streetscape, sidewalk and/or transit improvements that are designed to create greater pedestrian and bike access to transit, Paul said. Such sustainability features were a requirement for the grants.
The Bay Area’s 11 shovel-ready affordable housing proposals receiving the Strategic Growth Council grants span nine cities (all are rental units except for the Fremont project):
- San Francisco — Two projects were awarded grants for affordable family housing:
- Eddy & Taylor Family Housing (Tenderloin) - $10 million award, 103 units
- Mission Bay South Block 6 East (Mission Bay) - $5 million award, 143 units
- Oakland & East Bay Corridor — The six winning projects in this area were submitted by members of the East Bay Corridor Initiative, a coalition of 13 jurisdictions and ABAG working to foster compact development around BART stations and major bus corridors in the inner East Bay:
- Miraflores Senior Housing (Richmond) - $5.1 million award, 80 units
- El Cerrito Senior Mixed Use Apartments (El Cerrito) - $5.7 million award, 63 units
- 3706 San Pablo Avenue (Emeryville) - $5.5 million award, 86 units
- Civic Center 14 Transit-Oriented Development Apartments (Oakland) - $1.5 million, 40 units
- Camino 23 (Oakland) - $3 million award, 32 units
- Hayward Senior Apartments (Hayward) - $2.2 million award, 60 units
- Central Commons Housing - $1 million award, 30 units of owner housing
- San Jose:
- 777 Park Avenue, a project sponsored by Housing Authority for the County of Santa Clara - $4 million award, 82 units
- Walnut Creek:
- Riviera Family Apartments - $4.3 million award, 58 units
In another plus for sustainable communities, 10 of the 11 projects funded in the Bay Area lie within one of the region’s locally nominated Priority Development Areas (PDAs) — those areas where local officials wish to see additional future growth take place adjacent to public transit. The PDAs are a key feature of Plan Bay Area, a long-range plan that was adopted by MTC and ABAG in 2013.
Two of the winning Bay Area projects — The Eddy and Taylor Family Housing in San Francisco and Hayward Senior Apartments — have also received a loan commitment from the Transit Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) revolving loan fund administered by MTC. The TOAH fund provides critical financing for the development of affordable housing and other vital community services near transit lines throughout the Bay Area. Even with the previous TOAH commitments, however, these two projects had funding shortfalls that prevented the start of construction. The first round of Cap-and-Trade funding will close that gap and allow these two projects to begin construction.
The Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program stems from California’s Budget Act of 2014, which was signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and appropriated $832 million in Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen communities and improve quality-of-life. By statute, 20 percent of the Cap-and Trade funding will flow to the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, which could go from $122 million in the 2014–15 fiscal year to $400 million or more in the 2015–16 fiscal year.
MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. ABAG is the land-use planning agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area and also provides a variety of services to its member cities.
The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is a state body that brings together agencies and departments within Business, Consumer Services and Housing, Transportation, Natural Resources, Health and Human Services, Food and Agriculture, and Environmental Protection, with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research to coordinate activities that support sustainable communities, strong economies, social equity and environmental stewardship.
For more details on each project (city, developer, grant amount), see: http://www.sgc.ca.gov/docs/Attachment_B_Summary_of_AHSC_Recommendations.pdf
See the Strategic Growth Council’s release:
Brad Paul, ABAG 510.464.7955
Brenda Kahn, MTC (415) 778-6773