Research Lead: Karen Chapple (lead), Madeleine E.G. Parker, and Yuju Park
UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley
Problem Statement: California has thousands of affordable rental units where the original developers of these properties entered into covenants with government entities agreeing to rent (or sell) their units at affordable, below market rates for a set time period in exchange for tax credits. Many of these agreements, or affordability covenants, will be expiring in the next ten years, many located near transit and in high resource areas. In the Southern California region alone, there are over 17,000 units at risk of losing affordability in the next ten years, almost 70 percent of which are in high-quality transit areas. If their owners cannot be encouraged to renew their covenants, or to sell the development to a non-profit or other entity whose mission is to maintain their affordability, these units will enter the open market (lose affordability), likely leading to the displacement of many lower-income residents from their housing and neighborhoods.
Project Description: This project highlights risk and prioritization factors for housing developments with expiring affordability protections, focused on preserving transit-accessible affordable housing. It presents a regional framework for identifying and preserving subsidized affordable housing in the Southern California Association of Governments region that includes Los Angeles, Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. First, the research team analyzed data from the California Housing Partnership and the National Housing Preservation Database to understand risk factors for expiring housing units, and designed a prioritization tool for entities in the region to use when prioritizing developments to focus preservation and anti- displacement efforts. Second, they highlighted affordable housing preservation policy solutions and characteristics unique to the Southern California context. Third, the research identified key lessons and takeaways that draw from strategies and experiences of other jurisdictions in the United States leading affordable housing preservation efforts.