Transit Agencies in California Take on Affordable Housing

In August and September of 2016, former GCC IO Geeta Rao authored two Shelterforce articles highlighting the rationale and role of California transit agencies taking nuanced approaches to addressing equity and sustainability through a housing lens.

Read these in-depth articles here (A New Paradigm for California Transit: Equity, Sustainability, and Housing) and here (California Transit Agencies Bring Affordable Housing to Scale).

A few juicy quotes below.

“All three transit operators (LA Metro, BART, and VTA) own significant land holdings for joint development, which has emerged as one of the most precious public resources in high-cost regions.”

“A 2014 study by TransForm and the California Housing Partnership Corporation found that lower income households drive 25 to 30 percent fewer miles when living within a half-mile of transit than those living in non-TOD.”

“GCC realized that catalyzing BART’s and VTA’s land for more intensive development with rigorous affordable housing outcomes could significantly help accommodate the region’s growth and meet equity and sustainability goals. … For over two years, TransForm and EBHO engaged BART board members and agency staff to craft policy parameters and garner support among other advocates. GCC also convened the TOD Implementation Table, a neutral space to engage with transit agency staff, other public agencies, and advocates to further their regional equity and sustainability goals and align philanthropic and public resources. Through GCC’s advocacy efforts, in 2015, BART’s Board of Directors initiated the creation of an Affordable Housing Policy.”

“…the creation of VTA’s affordable housing policy was initiated by its board, and was deeply influenced by advocacy groups. GCC funded a campaign spearheaded by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG), Working Partnerships USA, and SV@Home. … VTA also had influential and progressive board champions including board chair Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.”

“The affordable housing targets adopted by VTA are ambitious, establishing a goal that at build out, the residential units in VTA’s joint development portfolio will include 35 percent units affordable to low-income households (60 percent AMI). … VTA expects that a combination of mixed-income development with 20 percent or more affordable units, combined with a number of 100 percent affordable developments will enable it to achieve the 35 percent target.

    Great communities collaborative

    Great Communities Collaborative (GCC) is a network of organizations dedicated to creating healthy, thriving, and affordable neighborhoods in the Bay Area, anchored by transit and linked to all the opportunities and amenities that make a good community truly great.

    Great Communities Collaborative is an initiative of The San Francisco Foundation.