Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program Achieves GHG Reductions While Investing in Disadvantaged Communities

Sarah Brundage, Enterprise Community Partners, 415.400.0977[email protected]
Dan Rinzler, California Housing Partnership Corporation, 415.433.6804 x320[email protected]
Jennifer West, TransForm, 510.740.3150, x305[email protected]
Investments from first two funding rounds will significantly reduce carbon footprint while increasing much needed affordable housing, transit infrastructure and community benefits for low-income Californians.
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, according to a policy brief released today. 

The Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program: Collaborative Investments to Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Strengthen Disadvantaged Communities – coauthored by the California Housing Partnership Corporation, Enterprise Community Partners and TransForm – examines the climate and community benefits of AHSC developments, which are funded by California's Cap-and-Trade program. The report’s authors urge California to make a long-term commitment to provide continuous and stable levels of funding to the AHSC program beyond 2020.

The AHSC program is investing $443 million through 58 GHG-reducing developments statewide. Environmental, community and economic benefits from these developments will include:

  • Reduction of 1.1 million metric tons of CO2 over the course of the developments’ operating lives
  • Removal of 8,000 cars from the road and reduction of car travel in California by 93 million miles each year
  • Critical funding for 4,500 quality homes affordable for low-income Californians, with most targeted to families earning less than 50 percent of area median income (AMI)
  • 10,000 jobs, $850 million in wages and business income, and more than $325 million in revenue for state and local governments during construction of the housing components of AHSC-funded developments

“AHSC developments reduce greenhouse gas emissions by locating affordable homes near transit and reducing the need for driving by residents,” noted Jennifer West, GreenTRIP Senior Program Manager, Transform. “Investments in transit infrastructure and bicycle and pedestrian facilities will also improve air quality and provide overall health benefits for the surrounding communities.”

Eighty-two percent of total AHSC funds will directly benefit disadvantaged communities, which are identified as having the highest pollution burdens in the state. Nearly 95 percent of AHSC- funded homes will be affordable to low-income households for at least 55 years. 

“AHSC-funded affordable homes will help cost-burdened renters and prevents displacement of low-income residents in the context of increasing real estate market pressures,” said Dan Rinzler, 
Senior Policy Analyst, California Housing Partnership Corporation. “Residents in AHSC-funded developments will save an average of $783 per household, per month. The money saved can pay for essentials like medical care, food and childcare.”

The AHSC program also rewards community engagement and requires cross-sector collaboration, resulting in developments and benefits that are responsive to the local community. “An AHSC development in a rural community organized vanpool services between work and home for rural farmworkers across eight counties,” explained Sally Greenspan, Senior AHSC Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners. “These residents did not have access to reliable transportation, including public transit, and often lacked driver’s licenses. The AHSC program incentivizes applicants to be innovative and to tailor investments to local needs.” 

The AHSC program is currently not funded beyond 2020. Considering the totality of the program’s benefits, the authors of the policy brief recommend that California commit to providing continuous and stable levels of funding to the AHSC program beyond 2020. 


About California Housing Partnership Corporation 
The State created the California Housing Partnership Corporation (CHPC) in 1988 as a private nonprofit organization with a public mission: to help preserve California’s existing supply of affordable homes and to provide leadership on affordable housing policy and resource issues. CHPC is unique in combining on-the-ground technical assistance with advocacy leadership at the state and national level to increase the supply of affordable homes. Since 1988, CHPC has partnered with hundreds of nonprofit and government housing agencies statewide to leverage more than $12 billion in public and private financing that resulted in the creation or preservation of more than 60,000 homes affordable to low-income Californians.

About Enterprise Community Partners
Enterprise is a proven and powerful nonprofit that improves communities and people’s lives by making well-designed homes affordable. We bring together the nationwide know-how, partners, policy leadership and investments to multiply the impact of local affordable housing development. Over 35 years, Enterprise has created nearly 470,000 homes, invested $28.9 billion and touched millions of lives. In California, Enterprise has invested over $2 billion through Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, grants and loans to nonprofit and for profit developers of affordable housing and other community development projects.

About TransForm
TransForm promotes walkable communities with excellent transportation choices to connect people of all incomes to opportunity, keep California affordable and help solve our climate crisis. With diverse partners we engage communities in planning, run innovative programs and win policy change at the local, regional and state levels. For 20 years, TransForm has been working to integrate land use, housing, and transportation planning and policymaking to promote affordability and social justice.