The Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program: Collaborative Investments to Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Strengthen Disadvantaged Communities

Author: 

CHPC, Enterprise, TransForm

Year Published: 

2017

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Executive Summary

The Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program provides substantial benefits to underserved Californians while improving our climate.

Established in 2014, the AHSC program invests in affordable homes and transit infrastructure developments – primarily in disadvantaged communities – that improve economic well-being and physical health for underserved Californians while also reducing greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions.

The AHSC program is central to achieving the statewide goals established by AB 32 and SB 375. The program also successfully targets additional policy goals including but not limited to: reducing air pollution; improving conditions in disadvantaged communities; improving public health; improving connectivity and accessibility to jobs, housing, and services; increasing transit ridership; and preserving and developing affordable housing for lower income households.

Program accomplishments include:

  • The AHSC program selected 58 developments across the state (out of 236 applications) to invest $443 million statewide.
  • The awarded developments will reduce 1.1 million metric tons of C02 over the course of their operating lives. Each year, these investments will remove 8,000 cars from the road and reduce car travel in California by 93 million miles— the distance from the earth to the sun.
  • By reducing passenger vehicle use, the AHSC program will not only reduce GHGs but will also improve the air quality and health of Californians, especially those in disadvantaged communities.
  • The AHSC program has provided critical funding for 4,500 high-quality, affordable homes for low-income Californians, with most of these homes targeted to families earning less than 50 percent of area median income.
  • Eighty-two percent of total AHSC funds will be located within or will directly benefit disadvantaged communities identified as having the highest pollution burdens in the state.
  • Ninety-four percent of AHSC-funded homes will be affordable to low-income households for 55 years, providing a critical anti-displacement strategy for residents in disadvantaged communities
  • During construction, the housing components of AHSC-funded developments are projected to support over 10,000 jobs, create over $850 million in wages and business income, and generate over $325 million in revenue for State and local government.

The AHSC program is a critical investment in California’s health and wellbeing. The AHSC program is funded by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), which collects proceeds from the quarterly cap-and-trade auctions.

Elected officials should make a long-term commitment to provide continuous and stable levels of funding to the AHSC program beyond 2020. 

In its first two rounds of investments, the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program has funded developments that will make significant contributions toward improving the state’s climate while also supporting affordable housing and transit infrastructure in underserved communities.