Identifying Strategies to Preserve Transit-accessible Affordable Housing

Research Lead: Karen Chapple

University: UC Berkeley

Problem Statement: California is facing an affordable housing crisis, with an estimated shortage of over 1.5 million homes for low-income renters. This lack of affordable housing has created new pressure on existing housing stock in the urban core, with the displacement of low-income households to the outskirts of urban areas resulting in longer commutes. At the same time, nearly 35,000 affordable rental units across the state, many located near transit, have affordability covenants that will expire in the next five years, and be turned into market-rate developments. More attention needs to be paid to effective strategies for ensuring the future of the current affordable housing stock. Stemming the tide of lost affordable units near transit is essential to reducing displacement of low-income households.

Project Description: This project will use existing datasets on affordability covenants, along with new datasets on transit accessibility and job accessibility, to analyze the factors that can help prioritize preservation efforts for developments with expiring affordability covenants. By analyzing developments that have been converted to market-rate housing in the past, this research will identify building, neighborhood, and market factors that best predict building conversion. Interviews with affordable housing experts will help identify the optimum timing for outreach in order to prevent conversion. It will also review local and regional strategies to preserve affordable housing, with attention paid to their applicability for California to develop a framework for affordable housing preservation at the regional and local scales.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $40,813

Project Partner(s): Southern California Association of Governments