The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)—the Bay Area’s regional transportation planning agency—voted unanimously to allocate $10 million to an innovative regional funding program for new affordable homes near transit.
Launched in 2011, the Bay Area’s Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) Fund brings together resources from public, private, and philanthropic sources to catalyze development of new affordable homes. It’s a key tool for achieving the vision of Plan Bay Area—guiding the next generation of growth to create walkable, transit-accessible communities for people across the income spectrum, while protecting our natural and agricultural lands from sprawl.
The TOAH fund often provides early funding to affordable housing developments so that the seed of an idea can blossom into a fully-formed community. With MTC’s recent contribution, the TOAH fund will grow to at least $90 million, and that’s expected to foster at least $2 billion in development of much needed affordable homes. Early investment has been particularly helpful for attracting other sources of funding. For example, the Bay Area just secured $47 million in grants from the state’s cap and trade program for 11 affordable housing developments. MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger credited the TOAH fund for positioning the Bay Area well to secure those funds.
The TOAH fund is also noteworthy because it’s a revolving loan fund. That means that after each construction project that receives TOAH funds is completed, the TOAH dollars will be returned to the fund and re-invested in a new project to do even more great work. It’s a virtuous cycle; recycling at it’s best!
Greenbelt Alliance has been a strong supporter of the Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund since its inception. In the weeks leading up to the vote, we worked hard to ensure that the MTC commissioners would approve the new investment by meeting with commissioners, submitting comment letters, and testifying at public hearings. We were pleased to be joined in these efforts by several other organizations, including the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH), East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO), Urban Habitat, TransForm, San Mateo County Union Community Alliance, and the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation.
Kudos to MTC for making this smart choice. It’s a great example of the type of leadership that’s needed to make our region a more affordable and sustainable place to live for everyone.
Photo: Brisan via Flickr