Cap-and-Trade Grants for Affordable Housing: Recommendations Released

Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities grants to be voted on by Strategic Growth Council next week

This map shows the geographic distribution of staff-recommended AHSC grants, overlayed onto a map showing CalEnviroScreen scores, which are used to define disadvantaged communities
This map shows the geographic distribution of staff-recommended AHSC grants, overlayed onto a map showing CalEnviroScreen scores, which are used to define disadvantaged communities

The Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program, which invests cap-and-trade money in projects that connect affordable housing with low-emission transportation services and infrastructure, has released recommendations for its current round of funding.

The program expects to award over $400 million for 25 projects. Between them they will provide over 3,000 housing units, with more than 2,500 of those affordable at various levels–almost 1,000 will be for extremely low-income individuals, and 705 new supportive housing units will be built. All will connect residents to transit either via walking or biking infrastructure. In addition, the AHSC will fund free or discounted transit passes for the first three years to residents of the affordable units, after which other funding sources will be used.

This is nowhere near the number of new homes California needs, but the AHSC is a solid program that, with this fourth round, will have invested more than $1 billion in housing and in connecting that housing to low-emission transportation options. That translates to a total of 6,400 homes–over ninety percent of them affordable–as well as 85 miles of new and improved bike lanes, 650 new crosswalks, and related water conservation, low-impact development, and community programming. In addition, most of the projects provided local jobs and job training.

This fourth round of funding will go to projects throughout the state. In an effort to achieve geographic equity, staff focused technical assistance on areas that have not done well in past AHSC funding rounds. The total amount of money will be distributed among regions in these approximate portions:

  • Southern California region: 37 percent
  • Bay Area: 34 percent
  • San Joaquin Valley: 14 percent
  • San Diego: 5 percent
  • Sacramento: 8 percent
  • North State (where a single application was submitted): 1 percent

The full list of recommendations is available here [PDF]. Details about the projects are available here [PDF]. Highlights include:

  • Light Tree in East Palo Alto, $20m
    128 affordable homes, including 14 for homeless youth
    8.6 miles of bikeways, 2,600 feet of pedestrian walkways
    Three electric buses for new limited stop bus service
    This project was commended for its strong collaboration among partners, including the housing developer, community organizations, and the city of Palo Alto
  • Downtown Coachella, $15m
    105 affordable homes
    New bus hub, four new buses and forty vanpools
    Two miles of bikeways, 3,000 feet of sidewalk
  • Turk Street Transit-Oriented Development in San Francisco, $20m
    107 affordable homes, with community space and neighborhood retail
    Widened sidewalks, dedicated bike space
    BART station entrance canopy and transit-only lanes and sidewalk bulbouts along Geary Bus Rapid Transit line
  • Skid Row Housing, Los Angeles, $20m
    278 affordable homes, with on-site services for formerly homeless
    Protected bikeways, pedestrian improvements
    Bike safety and maintenance education for residents
  • Treasure Island, San Francisco, $20m
    135 new homes, including new affordable homes and replacement supportive units
    Bike and pedestrian path connecting Treasure Island to the Bay Bridge trail
    New ferry terminal for new service to San Francisco
    New AC Transit bus to downtown Oakland and BART
    Treasure Island planning has been going on for over twenty years, and this is the first step in actual on-the-ground development of the “multimodal sustainable community” planned for this isolated spot. Being a man-made island, sea level rise is a real and imminent threat, so the project plans to build everything above grade. (It’s hard not to be cynical about that part.)
  • Vermont Manchester Transit Priority Project in Los Angeles, $20m
    This is the site that will house Metro’s first-of-its-kind public transportation boarding school for foster youth
    180 affordable homes next to a new public transit plaza
    Bike boulevard, New traffic signal
  • Ocotillo Springs in Brawley, $13m
    This is the first AHSC award granted in Imperial County
    74 units of net-zero energy affordable housing with community spaces
    1.6 miles of new sidewalks, 2.3 miles of new Class II bikeways
    30 vanpool vans
  • Jordan Downs Phase S3 & Watts Pedestrian Bike District, $11m
    93 affordable homes, replacing 57 existing units that need rehabilitation
    Protected bike lane
  • 2012 Berkeley Way, Downtown Berkeley, $19m
    141 affordable homes
    Upgraded bike lanes, pedestrian and lighting improvements
    Two-way cycle track at BART
    New bus
  • Railyards, Sacramento, $15m
    This large urban infill site has a lot planned for it; this is one piece of it
    61 affordable units with bike parking, EV charging stations
    Protected bikeways, sidewalks, street trees
    New light rail stop
    Stormwater management
  • Danco Communities, Arcata, $4m
    This is the first AHSC award along California’s North Coast area
    43 affordable homes with bike-share and car-share
    New bike lanes, sidewalks
    New electric bus along a new route
  • Melanie Curry

    Thanks

  • Melanie Curry

    It’s true, everything takes too long. But they can’t spend the money until they know how much it is–the 18-19 auction revenue is just coming in now.

  • Thanks! I thought the C&T money had to be spent faster than that but I guess not. Also, this lag in spending makes those analyses of the program a bit lopsided if a significant portion of the money gets spent several years after the fact on projects that then take another couple years to construct.

  • Melanie Curry

    Update: The funds are designated FY 2017-18 because they are from that fiscal year’s cap-and-trade auctions, not because the program itself has fallen behind on allocations.

  • Ryan Globus

    Light Tree is in East Palo Alto, not Palo Alto – different city, different county.

  • Melanie Curry

    Argh! Several zeros, thanks.

    FY17-18 is the current Round 4….. Is it behind? Finding out…

  • The program expects to award over $4 million for 25 projects.

    Is a zero missing? And is the program behind? All the links talk about FY17-18 funding.

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