It isn’t often possible to change the thinking of state officials tasked with the job of spending Cap-and-Trade funds governed by complex and overlapping regulations and statutes. Not to mention when it must be done under the ever-watchful eye of the state Department of Finance. But I give huge credit to Strategic Growth Council (SGC) Executive Director Randall Winston for being open to a request first made by the California Housing Partnership on August 23rd and later supported by NPH and SCANPH to include the proceeds from last month’s auction of Cap-and-Trade Greenhouse Gas emission permits in the October Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program NOFA.
As a consequence of Randall’s leadership, the SGC announced today that the October 2nd NOFA will increase from $155 million to $255 million, which is terrific news for the many developers of affordable housing expecting to submit highly competitive applications by the January 16, 2018 deadline. What’s worth noting is that Randall and his terrific staff had many reasons they could have used to say “no” to this request, beginning with the need to respond to new legislative directives if they added new funding beyond the initially planned $155 million. Then there is the issue of the extra staffing burden that will fall on SGC and HCD with the increase in the NOFA amount and corresponding increase in the number of complex applications that must be reviewed and processed. But Randall and HCD Director Ben Metcalf both agreed that concerns about staff capacity should not be a reason to say no to this request if it otherwise made sense, which they concluded it did given the many worthy projects and the long waits between the annual funding rounds.
So please join me in thanking Randall and Ben and their hard-working staff, who will now be working even harder to make sure that the additional $100 million is awarded to worthy affordable housing and transportation developments in early 2018. Affordable housing developers, start your engines!