May – Affordable Housing Month

May has been declared Affordable Housing Month. There is even a website where it is stated that this month is, “our time to imagine the Bay Area we know is possible when we invest in affordable housing solutions and everyone has a safe place to call home. Where children can stay in the communities in which they were raised, and workers can afford to live in the city where they work.” State legislators got the memo too, because there are over 50 pro-housing bills in front of the legislature this year. CA YIMBY tracks and analyses them here.

At NBLC we have identified creating more workforce housing and affordable housing in the North Bay as a top priority. A new report released May 8th by Enterprise Community Partners and Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA) analyzes affordable housing projects in various stages of predevelopment and identifies solutions for moving them toward completion.

From a Bay Link Blog we discover that “ the updated research reveals there are now 433 projects in various stages of predevelopment that would create more than 40,896 affordable homes across the nine-county Bay Area. These would account for nearly a quarter of the 180,000 affordable homes the state’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Plan determined are needed in the Bay Area by 2031.”

“Affordable housing developments typically are supported by a capital “stack” investment that includes a commercial mortgage; Low-Income Housing Tax Credits; tax-exempt bonds; and additional local, regional and state dollars that fill the gap between the cost of the development and the financing secured through debt and equity. The new report calculates that the hundreds of Bay Area projects now in the predevelopment pipeline need $9.7 billion in public funds to move forward, and that a $20 billion regional bond measure proposed for the ballot in Bay Area counties this fall would help close this gap.”

“The predevelopment pipeline includes projects in all nine Bay Area counties. These include more than 10,000 units in both Alameda and Santa Clara counties, with another 8,400 affordable homes pending development in San Francisco and more than 3,000 units in both San Mateo and Sonoma counties. “

“Project pipelines in other Bay Area counties range from over 300 affordable homes in Solano County to 1,173 units in Marin County; nearly 1,500 homes in Napa County; and over 2,500 units in Contra Costa County. Each Bay Area city, town or county currently is working on its own to meet the challenges of housing affordability and homelessness.”

According to a recent article in the SF Chronicle, “The bond would be funded by property taxes, with an estimated tax of $19 per $100,000 of assessed value —about $190 per year for a home assessed at $1 million. The amount of money each city receives from the bond would be based on how much that jurisdiction pays in taxes: For example, San Francisco would get about $2.4  billion to invest, while Sonoma County would receive about $806 million and San Mateo County would get $1.05 billion.”

Final ballot language and the final cost of the bond will be published in late June. With the slim passage of Prop 1, skeptical voters will need to be convinced that another tax is going to actually build units.