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Affordable Housing

Critical to creating transit oriented communities is ensuring that housing built near transit serves households of all income levels. Further, transit ridership is highest among low income households, so maintaining and supporting housing for all income levels promotes transit ridership, and creates more vibrant, integrated, mixed-income transit oriented communities. Through its Joint Development Program, Metro has worked with affordable housing developers and local jurisdictions to create transit–oriented affordable housing at or near a number of Metro Stations. To date, Metro’s Joint Development Program has created over 2,000 units of housing, of which, 31% are affordable. Metro’s current Joint Development pipeline includes 396 additional affordable housing units.

Affordable Housing and Joint Development Policy

On July 23, 2015, the Metro Board adopted an updated Joint Development Policy that includes the following affordable housing policies:

  • A new objective that 35% of all housing units in Metro joint developments, portfolio wide, will be affordable housing.
  • Affordable housing is defined as housing that is covenant-controlled and provided on an income-restricted basis to qualifying residents earning 60% or less than area median income (AMI).
  • Metro may discount the land value of its joint development sites to up to 30% of the fair market value on sites accommodating affordable housing.
  • The ground lease discount may not be greater than the proportion of affordable units to the total number of housing units in the project, with a maximum discount of 30% (for example, land value for a project in which 20% of the units are affordable could receive up to a 20% discount; projects in which 100% of the units are affordable could receive up to a 30% discount).
  • Updated Joint Development Policy

Currently Underway

Staff is currently working on the following additional affordable housing initiatives.

  • Transit Oriented Communities Loan Program (TOCLP): The Board authorized Metro’s investment of $9 million in the Metro Affordable Transit Connected Housing Program (Metro MATCH) and $1 million in the Transit Oriented Communities Small Business (TOC-SB) Loan Program in August 2016 .
    • The $9 million in Metro investment for affordable housing is expected to leverage up to around $75 million in contributions from foundations, community development finance institutions (CDFIs), and traditional banks. 25% of the housing program will go to predevelopment loans and 85% will go to preservation and expansion of existing lower-rent housing.
    • The $1 million in small business loans will go to owners of buildings with vacant ground floor retail space adjacent to transit who can use the loans to build out tenant space and offer space to small business tenants and below market rents
    • Staff is in the process of negotiating agreements with the Affordable Housing consortium and the LA County Community Development Commission (LACDC) to administer Metro MATCH and TOC-SB, respectively.
  • Memoranda of understanding (MOU) with interested jurisdictions to promote co-investment along transit corridors: Metro and the City of Los Angeles executed an MOU to establish and promote their mutual interests in locating affordable housing near transit. Metro will work with other interested jurisdictions to do the same.
  • A revenue-neutral TAP purchase program for Metro Joint Development affordable housing projects: Metro TAP and Budget departments are currently taking a closer look at all of Metro discount programs to create a streamlined, consistent approach. The affordable housing TAP program will be explored as part of that process.

Affordable Housing Policy Timeline: Specific Board Actions and Reports

November 2013 – Board Report : Transmittal of Equitable Transit Oriented Development Report

  • Staff filed a research report in collaboration with The California Community Foundation and The California Endowment that looked at the state of funding resources for equitable transit-oriented development.

November 2014 - Board Motion : Public Transportation, Affordable Housing, & Environment

  • Board directed staff to conduct a preliminary assessment of several options for increasing Metro’s role in the creation of affordable housing.

March 2015 - Board Report : Request for Information Regarding Affordable Housing and Metro Involvement

  • Staff reported back to the Board on the options for increasing Metro’s role in affordable housing. The Board directed staff to take actions on all items in the report.

March 2015 - Board Motion : Public Transportation, Affordable Housing, and Environment

  • Board directed staff to return to the Board with changes to the Joint Development Policy and recommendations for additional actions.

July 2015 – Board Report : Request for Action Regarding Metro Involvement in Affordable Housing

  • Staff reported back with an updated Joint Development Policy, including a portfolio-wide goal of 35% affordable units, and the ability to discount joint development ground leases to support affordable housing, up to 30% of the land value.

July 2015 Board Motion : Joint Development Policy

  • Board adopted the updated policy and directed additional changes including a provision to define affordable housing as covenant-controlled units for residents earning 60% or less than area median income (AMI).

September 2015 – Board Report : Metro Involvement in Affordable Housing

  • Staff filed a status update on affordable housing actions.

September 2015 – Board Motion : Metro Involvement in Affordable Housing

  • Board directed staff to continue working towards a transit oriented affordable housing and small business program; designates $500,000 to small business portion of program.

January 2016 – Board Report : Metro Involvement in Affordable Housing

  • Staff proposed the structure of Transit Oriented Communities Loan Program (TOCLP) and provided updates on additional actions.

August 2016 – Board Report :

  • Board authorized Metro to invest $9 million in an affordable housing fund and $1 million in a small business fund

For more information on the recent housing actions please contact Marie Sullivan at or 213.922.5667.