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The Strategic Growth Council (SGC) has announced Round 4 of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) grant program for projects that build affordable housing and encourage sustainable transportation modes.

The AHSC has always been asked to do a lot with a little, and Round 4 is no exception. As always, all projects must include some transit component. They must also bring together at least two different areas of planning to work together; for example, affordable housing projects must include some kind of sustainable transportation infrastructure or program.

Staff have already begun holding workshops for potential applicants around the state. The workshops are full-day affairs that include presentations about the guidelines and details on how to quantify the greenhouse gas emission reductions required for eligible projects, followed by appointments to give applicants one-on-one guidance.

Workshops have been held in Sacramento and San Jose, and there will be one tomorrow, November 9, in Fresno. Future workshops will take place

    • Next Tuesday, November 13, in Los Angeles
    • Wednesday, November 14, in San Bernardino
    • Thursday, November 15, in San Diego

Register for the workshops here. The same link also has additional information for those who cannot attend, including links to the workshop presentations.

SGC staff will also offer more extensive technical assistance for potential applicants that meet certain requirements. Applications for that assistance are due by November 21.

Deadline for AHSC applications is February 11, 2019. Although staff has worked to simplify the application process, the program itself is still trying to solve many problems at once.

New guidelines for Round 4 maintain the program's intent to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, help disadvantaged communities, improve connectivity and access to jobs, housing, and services, increase mobility options and increase transit ridership, all while preserving and developing affordable while protecting agricultural land and encouraging infill.

The program awards grants in three categories: transit-oriented development, “integrated connectivity,” and rural innovation. Past projects have included an affordable housing project in downtown Redding that incorporated bike lanes and was served by a bus line; the conversion of a commercial building in Santa Ana to 58 units of affordable housing, with a nearby street converted to a bike and pedestrian zone; affordable housing in Turlock with money to improve bus frequency serving it, and others.

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