California Takes Landmark Step for Climate Change and Community Investment

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On June 20, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a budget that for the first time includes long-term, committed funding for affordable housing near transit as a key strategy to combat climate change and address economic inequality.

Through California’s innovative cap-and-trade financing program, the budget dedicates revenue specifically for equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD), as a critical means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is a groundbreaking step in transforming public policy to align climate change and social equity goals. The budget allocates $130 million immediately for fiscal year 2014-2015. Going forward, 20% of the ongoing revenue—estimated to be from $600 million to $1 billion annually—will be dedicated to fulfilling regional sustainable community strategies, with at least half of that going to affordable housing located near transit. When leveraged with other housing resources, these funds will significantly contribute to efforts to build healthy, sustainable and equitable communities statewide.

The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) and Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) are engaged in a strategic partnership to expand production of ETOD nationally. With the passage of California’s budget, LIIF and Enterprise will use their expertise in community development and affordable housing finance to support the effective deployment of this new capital stream.

LIIF and Enterprise applaud California’s leadership, particularly that of Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, who have championed this issue. We will take the lessons from California to support efforts elsewhere to build capacity, funding and support for ETOD as an effective response to climate change and social equity.

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