Embedding Racial Equity in Housing and the Launch of the Community Housing Fund

Embedding Racial Equity in Housing and the Launch of the Community Housing Fund

In the San Jose metro area, those who are in the lower-income tier spend more than half of their income on rent. This cost burden creates debilitating financial pressure on households that try to stay in their neighborhoods, pushes many of them out of their communities altogether and exacerbates the racial inequities in our community. This issue is not unique to San Jose, and exists in communities across the Bay Area and the nation.

Public policies such as redlining, racialized zoning, segregation, predatory lending, urban renewal, exclusions in the New Deal and the G.I. Bill have produced the racial disparities that permeate housing policy today. For example, while GI Bill’s language did not specifically exclude African-American veterans from its benefits, it was structured in a way that ultimately shut doors for the 1.2 million Black veterans who had bravely served their country during World War II.

At the Partnership for the Bay’s Future, we fight to shift the narrative around housing justice and develop tangible solutions to produce and preserve affordable housing. We also recognize that the world around us is changing rapidly, presenting us with the most complex set of issues facing our region in more than a generation. It is our position, that this is a moment where we can advance policies and solutions that are truly transformative for our communities – for now, and for the next generation of Bay Area residents.

A recent report revealed that for every 100 households in California that earn an extremely low income, only 36 rental units are available; and when compared to white households, Black, Native American, and Latinx households are more likely to earn an extremely low income. In our home state of California, more than two-thirds of people with unaffordable housing costs are Black, Indigenous or People of Color.

An unaffordable rental market has hardest hit those families of color who earn the lowest income.  According to the California Housing Partnership, of the 5.89 million renter households living in California, 1.97 million come from the two lowest income groups—extremely low-income (ELI) and very low-income (VLI). Meanwhile, only 668,000 rental homes are affordable and available to households at these income levels, resulting in a shortfall of 1.30 million affordable rental homes.

 

We want to be part of the solution. This is why the Partnership for the Bay’s Future focuses on both policy change and affordable housing investment, to help the Bay Area region produce, preserve and protect more affordable housing for all.

As part of this work to help close the housing gap, the Partnership for the Bay’s Future worked alongside our partners to launch the Community Housing Fund (CHF), a $150M loan fund designed to serve five counties in the Bay Area: San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. The Community Housing Fund is one of the largest funds dedicated to preserving and producing housing for renters earning extremely low incomes. Seeded by our partner Facebook, the fund supports various loans, from predevelopment through permanent financing, and has flexible underwriting to help create a structure that best fits individual project needs. This fund will help fill a critical gap in the Bay Area, where there is an immense shortage of extremely low-income housing and few dedicated funding streams to build it. We expect the demand for the CHF to be high and will consider applications on a first come first serve basis.

The Community Housing Fund is managed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), whose mission is to forge resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America and help to create great places to live, work, visit, do business, and raise families. To find out how to access the fund, visit baysfuture.org

The Community Housing Fund is now part of the family of funds that makes up the Partnership for the Bay’s Future’s lending and sits alongside the Bay’s Future Fund (BFF), which was designed to address a wide range of current housing needs and evolve as the market changes. To date, the BFF has closed 16 deals for a total of 1,391 units and $108M invested. This family of funds began with an investment by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Additional investments were made by Genentech, LISC, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Capital Impact Partners, Morgan Stanley, Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco Foundation, First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, JPMorgan Chase. Investments from Destination: Home, and Facebook support the Comunity Housing Fund.

With a goal of investing $500 million by the end of 2025, the Community Housing Fund and the Bay’s Future Fund provide significant resources to support housing affordability that will protect our most vulnerable residents now and into the future. We believe that a stable home is crucial to maintaining a healthy, thriving community. And we believe investment in affordable housing will promote our region’s long-term economic success and racial diversity.

Our work to expand, improve and diversify the mix of homes across our region is a critical part of an intentional effort to advance equity and inclusion. We simply cannot ignore the context of how we arrived at this moment. We have to acknowledge the harm and mistrust that past housing policies created. The result is that people of color are over-represented among the homeless, those most impacted by the lack of affordable housing, job and health inequalities. We cannot undo the past, but we can redesign the policies of the past. We can also make investments in housing so that people from all walks of life have affordable places to live and are able to enjoy the benefits of our growing, prosperous region. We invite you to join us in this mission.

To apply for funding, email any of the following loan officers:

To support our efforts to preserve, produce and protect affordable housing in the Bay Area or to keep up to date on housing justice issues email Khanh Russo at krusso@sff.org