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Prior to the current foreclosure crisis, countless working Californians were not earning enough money to afford decent housing. While Proposition 1C created bonds to fund affordable housing, that money will run out. Lynne Jacobs, Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development, discusses efforts to secure a permanent source of funding on this episode of the Affordable Housing podcast. Once a permanent funding source is in place, housing advocates won’t have to return to the voters every few years to make their case. In conversation with host Joanne Greene, Jacobs also describes the successful programs currently funded through Proposition 1C and administered by the State.

Those who build and manage affordable housing developments for low income families, seniors, and adults with disabilities prioritize locating this housing near good public transit. In the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) studies, develops and finances transit systems and is a key player in advocating for the development of transit-based housing. On this episode of the Affordable Housing Podcast, MTC Senior Planner James Corless describes how the Bay Area’s transit systems stack up against other areas around the country, how those systems can be improved, and what’s being done to encourage transit-based affordable housing development. He and host, Joanne Greene, also discuss the upcoming Rail Volution conference, October 26-30, 2008 in San Francisco.

With a pervasive budget crisis in the state of California filtering down to the counties and cities, it’s hard to be hopeful about the continued funding of affordable housing projects. Yet state Assembly member Alberto Torrico is very optimistic. In this episode of the “Affordable Housing” podcast, Torrico proposes an alternative method to secure a continuous flow of funding that would involve a flat fee on all real estate transactions in the state. Torrico authored a bill that was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger last year that defers fees for developments where at least 49% of the units are low or very low income housing. Deferring these fees improves the feasibility of affordable housing projects by reducing the amount of money the develop must borrow during construction.

In the eight years that Senior Project Developer Katie Lamont has been developing affordable housing in California, environmental responsibility has been at the forefront of priorities. The challenge is that building “green” is often more expensive and funders want to stretch their investment dollars as far as possible. On all projects developed by Eden Housing, certain measures are a given – double pane windows are installed, for instance, and faucets, toilets and shower heads conserve water. While energy efficiency is a prime concern, indoor air quality is equally important in building design. Learn what it takes to design cost effective, environmentally responsible affordable housing on this episode.

Cultural journalist Carol Lloyd began writing her “Surreal Estate” column on the Bay Area housing crisis in the SF Chronicle during the bust. As she completed her final column recently and was interviewed for the “Affordable Housing” podcast, she spoke about the unique challenges faced by home buyers and renters in SF, how the local market is more resilient than in other areas, and why she anticipates a second phase of the housing crisis where building will be stalled and there will too little available housing.

The new landmark federal legislation known as the Foreclosure Relief and Prevention Act includes major changes to the low-income tax credit program that fuels affordable housing. On this episode, Ronne Thielen, President of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition and Managing Director of Centerline Capital Corporation, explains the basics of the tax credit program, the changes that have now been passed, how the current financial market impacts tax credits, and how new provisions will make it easier to build and manage tax credit properties.

Providing a roof and a stable home is step one. These days, affordable housing advocates are going beyond that and providing additional services to help residents improve their economic standing and broaden their options. As the former California State Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing, Sunne Wright McPeak is all too familiar with the challenges of affordable housing. In her current role as President and CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund, McPeak is leading an effort to bridge the digital divide and bring broadband access across all demographic groups in California in the next five years. In this episode of the “Affordable Housing Podcast”, McPeak addresses programs, like Eden Housing’s Digital Connectors, that teach residents in low income housing developments about computers and the Internet. She cites research that unequivocally demonstrates how teaching computer literacy to young people empowers their families to be able to take advantage of what our digital economy has to offer.

Having co-chaired California’s successful bond measure campaign which allocated $2.85B for affordable housing, Carol Galante, President of Bridge Housing, understands the need for a permanent funding source. In this episode of the Affordable Housing podcast, Carol explains how the current model is complex and inefficient, with funding provided by multiple sources on a per project basis. She explores potential approaches for creating a permanent funding source including adding statewide recording fees when properties are sold and/or increasing the fees that local redevelopment agencies pay to the state.

CEOs interested in preserving their workforce are motivated to impact public policy in the area of affordable housing. Carl Guardino, President of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, believes that business leaders can play a pivotal role both at the grass roots level and as well at raising funds that can support development. In this episode of the “Affordable Housing” podcast, Guardino talks about how important an available housing pool is to the business community and how various strategies are developed to help projects receive approval. He speaks, about the Housing Leadership Council and the first ever volunteer funded Housing Trust Fund, which has amassed $30 million of funds for home ownership, affordable rentals, and housing for the homeless.

Affordable housing has come a long way since the late 1970’s when Rick Holliday served as the first paid Executive Director of Eden Housing. These days, he’s a successful for-profit developer in the San Francisco region, well respected for bringing NY style lofts to the Bay Area. In this episode, Rick discusses the evolution of affordable housing and the kinds of partnerships that are necessary to fund and build developments that provide low income and workforce housing. He talks about the unique role of non-profit organizations and how they interface with government agencies. Finally, Rick addresses the role of for-profit developers now and moving forward in supporting the growth and sustainability of affordable housing.

The roots of the affordable housing movement, at least in the San Francisco Bay Area, are found in activist circles. Back in the 1960’s a group of ministers and concerned lay people gathered to see what they could do to protect low income families from being victimized by housing discrimination. They embarked on a few projects, hiring minority contractors to renovate homes and then helped a few families to purchase those homes. It was a bold experiment that paved the way for Eden Housing to accomplish much in its first forty years. In this episode of the Affordable Housing podcast, William Vandenburgh, a current and original board member of Eden Housing, describes the roots of the movement and what the issues are that currently need attention.

Even in a booming economy, there are many who fall through the cracks and need assistance in procuring appropriate, affordable housing. In this inaugural episode of the Affordable Housing Podcast, brought to you by Eden Housing, Eden’s Executive Director, Linda Mandolini, describes why such housing is critically important, who is eligible, and how the recent subprime mortgage crisis is impacting the industry. Home ownership clearly isn’t for everyone and it’s important for people to be financially literate so that they won’t fall prey to unrealistic loan products and those who sell them. Part of what Eden and other affordable housing nonprofits do is to counsel tenants and provide a range of support services to help people enhance their lives and increase their options for success.

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