Harriet Tubman Terrace, an affordable housing building in Berkeley for senior citizens and people with disabilities, was approved for more than $22 million in funding from the state of California.
On Thursday, the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, or CDLAC, granted close to $563 million in tax-exempt bonds to finance 20 low-income housing projects for seniors, families and people with disabilities throughout the state, according to a press release from California State Treasurer Fiona Ma’s office. The funds will help pay for 17 new projects while also financing the preservation of three aging, existing ones, including the Harriet Tubman Terrace apartments.
“It’s a great facility and, as a neighbor of that building, I’m so glad that we have it and also glad that we’re investing and maintaining it,” said Leah Simon-Weisberg, chair of Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board and tenant rights attorney. “It is the role — an important role — of the state government, to provide that financing.”
Additionally, CDLAC and the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee both introduced a number of regulations intended to streamline the process of financing affordable housing with tax credits and tax-exempt bonds, according to the press release.
The regulations aim to improve cost containment and public benefit by focusing on housing objectives for the extremely low income and the homeless, eliminating barriers for developers who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color and advancing “fair housing” ideals, among other goals, the press release reads.
“This is a big step forward for financing low-income housing,” Ma said in the press release. “A more efficient, streamlined process is just what we need to help alleviate the low-income housing shortage.”
The rules further prioritize the preservation of existing affordable housing and financing the construction of affordable, “shovel-ready” units throughout the state, according to the press release.
Simon-Weisberg noted that this financing could help spur several local projects stalled by a lack of funding and could help local nonprofit developers and land trusts purchase and preserve more affordable units.
“It’s all about getting the financing fast enough so I think this will make a huge difference,” Simon-Weisberg said. “The key is just to try and prioritize low-income providers, and not have it just be the next business model for providers.”