By Steve Hymon, The Source, 20 Sep 2017
A new affordable housing loan program for Los Angeles County begins this month. It was created with $9 million in seed money approved by the Metro Board of Directors last year and will be called the Metro Affordable Transit Connected Housing (MATCH) program.
The idea is simple: provide loans to ensure that affordable housing is saved and built near high-quality transit — defined as housing within a half-mile of either a rail line or two bus lines with peak hour service every 15 minutes or less.
A few other notes of interestingness:
•The program is expected to result in a net increase of 1,800 affordable units.
•The loans will be available to qualified nonprofit developers of affordable housing to buy land or existing housing that could be replaced by even more affordable units.
•The program will be run by the Low Income Investment Fund, a statewide nonprofit. In addition to Metro’s contribution, other nonprofits also kicked in another $9 million — including the California Community Foundation, The California Endowment and the Weingart Foundation.
The MATCH fund will leverage loans from partnering Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). CDFI partners currently include LIIF, Enterprise Community Loan Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
•This kind of program is pretty much new terrain for a transit agency. There is some precedent: in the Bay Area, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments provided seed money to the Bay Area Transit Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (TOAH Fund) in 2011.
•This program is part of Metro’s “Transportation Oriented Communities” program to encourage “community development that includes a mixture of housing, office, retail and/or other commercial development and amenities integrated into a walkable neighborhood and located within a half-mile of quality public transportation.
Along with the MATCH fund, the Metro Board approved creation of a $1 million Transit Oriented Communities Small Business Loan Fund. Metro has executed an agreement with the Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles (CDC) to develop and manage that fund, which will be rolling out in early 2018.
Additional details about MATCH, including borrower and project eligibility, can be found on the newly launched website at www.matchfundla.com.