Assessing Opportunities for Aligning the Provision of Affordable Housing in California with the State’s Environmental Goals

Research Team: Paul Ong (lead), Chhandara Pech, and Jacob Wasserman

University: UCLA

Problem Statement: Siting subsidized affordable housing in dense urban areas near transit can help the state meet its environmental goals by reducing vehicle travel and lowering the amount of vehicle miles traveled (VMT). However, more information is needed on exactly how best to allocate housing subsidies that both improve access to economic and educational opportunities for underrepresented groups, and improve mobility throughout the state more broadly while reducing VMT.

Project Description: This project will address the challenge of identifying neighborhoods that are best suited to promoting the state’s housing and environmental goals. The research will look at VMT rates in neighborhoods across California with affordable housing and examine the access and environmental benefits of subsidized affordable housing near transit in dense, urban areas. The project will assemble tract-level data and indicators, and will analyze changes in the location of subsidized and non-subsidized housing between 2007 and 2018 to determine if the current and expected future distribution of affordable housing is consistent with the state’s VMT reduction goals. Findings from this analysis will be used to identify target priority areas for renters at the policy and program levels, including the siting of new federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit construction. In addition, the project will examine if and how transportation considerations are being incorporated into three important and innovative housing programs – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing initiative, HUD’s Small Area Fair Market Rents, and Seattle and King County’s Creating Moves to Opportunity program.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $74,982

Project Partner(s): California Air Resources Board