Research Projects

Supporting and Improving the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program

The California Housing Partnership has worked with allies to support the creation, protection, and continual improvement of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program, which provides critical funding for affordable homes and transit infrastructure using revenue from the State’s Cap and Trade auctions. Following its groundbreaking report with TransForm in 2014 and with the Center for Neighborhood Technology in 2015 to make the research case for the program’s creation, the California Housing Partnership co-published a report in 2017, with TransForm and Enterprise Community Partners, that quantified the social, environmental, and community benefits of the first two years of AHSC-funded developments. The California Housing Partnership will continue to work with allies to support, track and improve the program’s performance to ensure that it maximizes benefits for vulnerable people and communities while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Shaping State Approaches to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

The California Housing Partnership is committed to developing approaches to deploy our State’s housing funding resources in a way that increases access to opportunity for low-income Californians and Californians of color—as required by the affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) duty in the federal Fair Housing Act—and is both evidence-based and responsive to the practical constraints nonprofit housing developers face. In 2016, the California Housing Partnership analyzed the State’s preliminary proposal to alter the competition for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) to align with AFFH goals and found serious flaws in the initial methodology, which it brought to the attention of state housing leaders and helped win a stay of its full implementation. In 2017, the California Housing Partnership worked within the State-convened California Fair Housing Task Force to create more accurate and practical regional opportunity maps. Separately, the Partnership developed new incentive proposals with input from housing developers and drawing from original research showing the significant the cost premium incurred by housing developers working in higher opportunity areas. The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) ultimately adopted both the regional opportunity maps and a version of the incentives the Partnership proposed in an effort to attract more developers to build family-targeted affordable housing in high-resource neighborhoods. In 2018, the Partnership is working with the Task Force to improve the methodology and data behind the opportunity maps and will continue to do so moving forward.

Quantifying Neighborhood Housing-Driven Changes to Support Place-Conscious Policy Decisions

With support from The San Francisco Foundation, the California Housing Partnership is currently engaged in a research project in partnership with the Urban Displacement Project at UC Berkeley to identify low- and moderate-resource neighborhoods on a trajectory to becoming high-resource as a result of housing market changes and/or revitalization efforts. This analysis is intended to inform State and local efforts to affirmatively further fair housing by increasing—and maintaining—access to opportunity for low-income communities of color. This project will conclude in 2019.

Analyzing the Intersection of Displacement, Race, and Fair Housing

With support from The San Francisco Foundation, the California Housing Partnership is currently engaged in a research project documenting the relationship between rental housing affordability and patterns of displacement, segregation, and unequal access to opportunity for low-income people of color in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa Counties since 2000. The results of the research will be used to inform state AFFH policies as well as local policymakers about current displacement patterns as well as to provide them with housing policy-related ideas for mitigating displacement. The Urban Displacement Project at UC Berkeley is our partner on this project, which will conclude with a publication of our findings in the Fall of 2018. We are seeking funding to expand this research to other parts of the State.

Increasing Public Access to Affordable Housing Data

With support from the Citi Foundation, the California Housing Partnership is currently engaged in an effort to use its comprehensive database of federal- and State-funded affordable rental housing to create an interactive, web-based map with both public and password-restricted interfaces that illustrates: 1) basic information about each development, the population it serves, how it was financed, and how long it has been in operation; 2) estimates of social and environmental benefits of each development, as supported by research on the impact of affordable housing; and 3) a proprietary risk-of-loss assessment and estimate of benefits that would be lost if a development is converted to the market.

Tracking Housing Production and Availability in Los Angeles County

With support from the California Community Foundation, the California Housing Partnership is creating and implementing a system for collecting and analyzing housing production and availability data in Los Angeles County, organized by level of affordability and other indicators such as proximity to transit and level of neighborhood opportunity. This tool will be used to track progress over time and inform affordable housing advocacy in the County. This project will conclude in 2019.

Evaluating Efforts to Reduce Chronic Homelessness in San Francisco

The California Housing Partnership is part of a team led by the Urban Institute that Tipping Point selected to evaluate its Chronic Homelessness Initiative (CHI)—a $100 million investment with the goal of reducing chronic homelessness in San Francisco by half within five years. The California Housing Partnership’s role in this effort is to evaluate the Chronic Homelessness Initiative’s capital investments in the production of new permanent supportive housing. The evaluation will include interim updates until the initiative ends in 2022, after which a final evaluation will be complete.

Guiding Los Angeles County’s Affordable Housing Resources

Commissioned by the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors (“Board”) in 2016, the California Housing Partnership researched and produced the Affordable Housing Outcomes Report. The Report provides critical baseline data and tracks trends in need and affordable housing investments in the County and provides recommendations of how to guide future affordable housing investments. The California Housing Partnership has since updated and improved the Report with input from the County CEO, Board of Supervisors’ staff, the County Affordable Housing Coordinating Committee, and community stakeholders. 

Tracking California’s Housing Needs

The California Housing Partnership has documented the housing needs of California’s low-income families since 2014. With the support of NLIHC, the California Housing Partnership documents the gap in affordable homes versus need and looks at costs that the lowest income renters face statewide and at the county-level. Using innovative analysis and graphics, these annual reports underscore the devastating impact of the loss of state redevelopment funding, the high wages needed to afford median asking rents, and how little low-income renters have to spend on essentials after paying rent.

Regional Efforts to Identify and Preserve Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing

The California Housing Partnership is working with Enterprise Community Partners’ Bay Area office to create a methodology to estimate the number of naturally occurring affordable housing in the nine-county Bay Area as part of the CASA Technical Advisory Committee convened by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Currently, the number of non-rent-restricted affordable homes is unknown and an estimate of the scale of these homes is needed in order to create effective policy to preserve all types of affordable housing. The methodology, which is still under development, has been informed by NLIHC’s research and customized to the local context and policy objectives CASA wishes to achieve. The Partnership is also working with the California Community Foundation on a parallel project for Los Angeles County using a different methodology.