County Announces $1 Million Fund to Drive Affordable Housing

Posted by The Independent

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2019 12:00 am

Partnership with LISC, San Francisco Foundation will support faith-based and community-based organizations as they address critical housing shortfalls

Alameda County is launching a significant effort to assist faith-based and community-based organizations to help address the region’s affordable housing crisis. The County, Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the San Francisco Foundation rolled out a $1 million program on April 22nd that is designed to help local faith-based organizations and area nonprofits expand their development expertise. Through this effort, groups that own property and want to consider using those properties for affordable housing can gain knowledge to help projects move forward.

“In many of our communities, housing is the most critical issues families face,” said Richard Valle, president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. “We must find ways to address it on multiple fronts—from land use to developing financing—and that includes giving organizations the tools they need to assess and respond to their communities’ specific needs.”

The County earmarked $750,000 in local funding for this effort, and the San Francisco Foundation (SFF) provided an additional $250,000 in support. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a long-time community development intermediary whose Bay Area investments top $734 million, will manage the outreach, education and technical assistance associated with the program.

“Providing the support that faith-based and community-based organizations need to expand their development expertise is critical to finding bold housing solutions to address the affordable housing crisis,” said Landon Williams, senior director of Anchoring Communities at the San Francisco Foundation. “Our partnership is representative of working across multi-sectors to ensure that everyone has a safe and affordable home.”

The program is critical given the region’s dire housing challenges. Recent research finds that rents in 95 percent of Bay Area neighborhoods are beyond the means of a family with two minimum-wage earners.

“We have passionately embraced the issue of housing and homelessness and are looking for creative ways to answer pressing local needs,” said Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley. “The faith community and other community-based organizations are well-positioned to help because they are so closely connected to residents. We want to help them translate their deep mission and commitment into clear and direct action on affordable housing.”

Kicking off on May 20th in Oakland, the capacity-building program will serve Alameda County communities with workshops and other training for local organizations interested in learning more about affordable housing development, helping them make informed decisions about future opportunities, as well as providing more intensive technical assistance for up to 10 selected organizations in an upcoming second phase of the program.

“These organizations are the bedrock of our communities,” noted Cynthia Wong, executive director of LISC’s Bay Area program. “By building their capacity to address affordable housing concerns, the County is making an investment in the long-term health of our neighborhoods so that they are safer, stronger and positioned for economic growth.”

An advisory body consisting of representatives from the County, the San Francisco Foundation, LISC, community members, and local collaboratives such as East Bay Housing Organizations, will help guide the program. Interfaith Council of Alameda County and Bay Area Community Benefit Organization will assist in marketing and outreach, and other organizations will also be provided with information and materials related to the program. Interested organizations can find more information and sign up for notices of upcoming trainings at