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A brand new affordable housing loan program for Los Angeles County is coming online this month – Metro Affordable Transit Connected Housing (MATCH). This innovative partnership, years in the making between Metro and community partners working with the LA THRIVES network, will bring an estimated $75 million for acquisition and predevelopment financing to preserve and expand affordable homes near high quality transit. MATCH meets a need for long-term, patient capital critical for successful transit-oriented development, identified early on by local affordable housing developers and their partners.
LA LISC is excited to be a partner in the MATCH program. We have joined Metro, local foundations and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in a shared vision for a healthy, sustainable and equitable Los Angeles. We, along with our MATCH partners, expect these investments to help address the region’s worsening housing affordability and homelessness crisis by bringing much needed capital for affordable housing. In addition, by targeting homes near transit, these investments will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improved physical and mental health outcomes for residents. By living within walking and biking distance to convenient transit options, residents will enjoy improved physical health. Without having to worry about difficult trade-offs like choosing to pay for rent over medical care, or even the fear of losing their home, they will also experience improved mental health.
While public-private blended capital for community development is not a new concept, Metro stepping into this investment role reflects emerging leadership among public transportation agencies to address social equity. In the Bay Area, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments have previously seeded the Bay Area Transit Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (TOAH Fund) in 2011. MATCH reflects some of the lessons learned in that program. Where the TOAH Fund focused on financing new development, MATCH is structured in part to help developers acquire existing low-rent apartments near transit, to help stabilize neighborhoods and existing residents while preparing for future growth.
MATCH is a new tool being added to LA Metro’s toolkit approach to “Transit Oriented Communities”, initiated under the leadership of CEO Phil Washington to ensure LA’s low-income core transit riders have opportunities to continue to live close to frequent accessible transit. With Measure M accelerating our region’s already rapid expansion of the public transportation system, MATCH comes at a critical time for many households living in neighborhoods experiencing rising rents and displacement pressures.
The California Community Foundation, the California Endowment and the Weingart Foundation have combined to match Metro’s seed investment of $9 million approved in 2016 by Metro’s board. A consortium of CDFIs, the Low Income Investment Fund, Enterprise Community Loan Fund, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, are providing leverage financing and will ensure that funds are deployed to high quality projects that will bring stability and improved health outcomes to LA County neighborhoods. The LA THRIVES network helped conceptualize and drive the development of the MATCH program. LA THRIVES partners led a foundational study in 2013 that provided Metro a detailed assessment of the nexus between affordable housing and public transportation as well as recommendations for policy and capital options.
Additional details about MATCH, including borrower and project eligibility, can be found on the newly launched website at www.matchfundla.com.