September 18, 2014

Cap-and-Trade to Support Affordable Housing in California

Efforts to locate affordable housing near good transit are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions linked with climate change, as this brief white paper details. California launched its Cap-and-Trade program in January 2013, and Enterprise led several voices championing a commitment to direct a portion of program revenues to support affordable housing and sustainable communities. This past June, Governor Jerry Brown signed a budget in which $65 million of revenue is dedicated to affordable housing in the first year. In future years fully 10 percent of the estimated annual $5 billion of total cap-and-trade revenue will support affordable housing, with an additional 10 percent for sustainable communities.

Heather Hood in Enterprise’s San Francisco office says, “This is one of the most elegant uses of cap-and-trade revenue and a true opportunity for those who are committed to creating equitable transit-oriented communities in our sunny state.”

Enterprise has a national partnership with the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) to advance this approach to development, so low-income families are better connected to opportunities for work, and we're using our experience to advise state leaders on how to think practically about this new resource, sponsoring conversations around the state with affordable housing developers and city agencies. We have proposed a statewide effort called the Move AHEAD Fund, a new revolving loan fund to complement the other cap-and-trade resources. This fund would take 1 percent of total cap-and-trade revenues and leverage at least three times that amount, providing between $300-600 million annually for affordable housing and sustainable communities.