NEWS: Housing LA: Critical Intel for Business Leaders and Decision Makers from NextUp Business Forum

Posted June 5th, 2015

More than 120 business, community, and opinion leaders and elected officials participated in the BizFed Institute’s NextUp Business Forum: Housing LA – Who Cares? Affordable Housing for Economic Development on Oct. 23, 2014, at Woodbury University in Burbank. This major half-day educational event brought together top academic, governmental, and industry experts to address the opportunities and challenges associated with meeting our region’s housing and economic development needs.Provided as a service by the BizFed Institute, with support from JP Morgan Chase and the LA County Community Development Commission, this compendium of the proceedings provides critical intelligence to inform decision making moving forward.

Tracy Rafter
BizFed Founding CEO

Virtual Forum: Experience the Full Proceedings Online

You can experience the BizFed Institute’s NextUp Forum: Housing LA – Who Cares? Affordable Housing for Economic Development in its entirety online via YouTube. Or, click any of the following links for the segment you wish to view:

  1. Opening Remarks and Introductions by LaDonna DiCammillo, BizFed Institute Chair, Dr. Luis Calingo, President, Woodbury University, and Tracy Rafter, BizFed Founding CEO
  2. Remarks: Framing the Challenge by Larry Kosmont, Founder and President, Kosmont Companies
  3. Presentation: Public Policy Perspective on Affordable Housing and Economic Development with introduction by Don St. Clair, BizFed Chair, and presentation by Brandon M. Weiss,  Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law & Policy, UCLA School of Law
  4. Presentation: From RDA to Affordable Housing: New Funding Opportunities in LA County with introduction by MC Townsend, BizFed Chair-elect and presentation by Sean Rogan, Executive Director, LA County Community Development Commission/Housing Authority
  5. Panel: “How do we leverage affordable housing for economic development in California?” with introduction by Tracy Rafter, BizFed Founding CEO and moderator Jeff Schaffer, VP & Market Leader, Southern California, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., Robin Hughes, President and CEO, Abode Communities, Tim Piasky, CEO, Building Industry Association of Los Angeles/ Ventura Counties, Jim Wong, Housing and Career Services Department, City of Pasadena, Alice Carr, Western Regional Manager, JP Morgan Chase, Ted Chandler, Chief Operating Officer, AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust
  6. Audience Discussion with Keynote Panelists
  7. Closing Remarks
Public Policy Perspective on Affordable Housing and Economic Development

Brandon M. Weiss, Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law & Policy, UCLA presented a Public Policy Perspective on Affordable Housing and Economic Development. Beginning with a quick review of the Housing Act of 1949, Professor Weiss explored the interplay between housing and jobs being the key to a strong economy as a major focus in years past, whereas today’s statistics indicate that this is no longer the case. He pointed out that today, only one quarter of households eligible for rental subsidies receive them. Additionally, he discussed:

  • Two main housing philosophies include the “right to housing” versus the “general right to self-ownership of one’s labor and right to receive schooling”
  • Federal subsidy priorities – HUD’s budget has been stagnant and declining, meanwhile the federal budget continues to grow
  • Public-private partnerships are key to expanding affordable housing in LA County
  • Though the need for renewing the Housing Act is critical, voters do not believe that our current Congress is capable of implementing such a grand gesture

Click here to download the full presentation.

From RDA to Affordable Housing: New Funding Opportunities in LA County

Sean Rogan, Executive Director, LA County Community Development Commission/Housing Authority discussed the need for affordable housing by sharing many startling facts and resources. According to the LA CDC, Los Angeles County is the least affordable metropolitan area in country. One quarter of all households pay more than half of their income on housing costs, and of the most heavily crowded 1% of census tracts across the country, more than half are in LA and Orange Counties. With a shortfalll of 490,340 affordable homes in LA, widespread side effects present themselves.

  • Kids in overcrowded housing have more behavioral and learning difficulties in school and suffer from more emotion and health issues than other kids
  • Approximately 57,000 people are homeless on any one night in Los Angeles
  • 13.2%, or 7,590 total homeless people in LA County, are homeless family members, including children

See the full presentation for detailed information about affordable housing funding, typical loan terms, general funds, and examples of eligible projects. Click here to download the full report.

The Experts: Diverse Points of View Illuminate Key Issues

The following individuals with diverse backgrounds and points of view came together to drive the discussion and share their expertise on the case for affordable housing in LA:

Jeff Schaffer, is Vice President and Southern California market leader at Enterprise Community Partners where he oversees Enterprise’s programs advancing the development of affordable housing in Southern California. Jeff moderated the expert panel.  He framed the discussion by pressing the panelists on questions such as:

  • With regard to construction career policies, LA City Council has said that we just need to build more affordable housing – is that going to be enough?
  • In terms of the subsidy gap in LA, is it worth looking into the the fee structure in place for new development in San Francisco as a model for development in LA?
  • Inclusionary housing policies – good or bad for LA?
  • Comprehensive approach to affordable housing should or should not include CEQA reform?
Robin Hughes is President and CEO of Abode Communities, an LA-based nonprofit developer, architect, manager and operator of service-enhanced affordable housing. In her 18 years leading Abode Communities, she has transformed it into a top 50 affordable housing developer nationwide. Her key points include:

  • From 2000-2012 rent increased by 25% and median income decreased by 9%
  • Jobs future depends on housing because companies cannot attract talented workers if they cannot afford nearby housing
  • LA rents are out of reach for many middle income people like nurses, security guards, medical lab technicians, etc
  • Dispelling the myth of affordable housing is key to prevening NIMBYism
  • Need for public subsidy because traditional real estate market cannot produce affordable housing for LA’s lower income wage earners

Click here to download Robin Hughes’ full report.

Tim Piasky is CEO of the Building Industry Association of Southern California’s Los Angeles-Ventura Chapter.  He previously was deputy director for Restore Neighborhoods Los Angeles, Inc. and has extensive private-sector building industry experience. Among his key points:

  • Three main causes of housing crisis: supply and demand, cost of housing, lack of household income growth
  • New housing construction is slow to rebound, with residential permitting activity at less than half of the 2004 peak level”
  • CEQA gives opponents a powerful weapon to block or delay developments through lawsuits, even after they receive planning approvals
  • Disparity between rising housing costs and decreasing wages

Click here to download Tim Piasky’s full report.

Jim Wong administers the City of Pasadena’s Affordable Housing Programs, including their inclusionary ordinance, managing City-funded housing projects, and overseeing the City’s inventory of housing assets. His key points:

  • Inclusionary Housing Ordinance adopted by Pasadena in 2001
  • 16M in In-Lieu revenues generated which are used to subsidize affordable housing development
  • Pasadena is dedicated to 15% local hiring practices on all affordable housing projects
  • According to Regional Housing Assessment from 2006-2014, only 217 of 711 total affordable housing units have been produced for very low income earners in Pasadena

Click here to download Jim Wong’s full report.

Alice Carr is Western Regional Manager for Chase Community Development Banking, a leader in providing financing solutions that benefit communities across the nation.  Prior to joining Chase in 2011, she managed the community lending division of Citigroup. Her key points:

  • Housing is smart public policy
  • Banks care about affordable housing for 2 reasons: Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and fulfilling obligations with the federal government and also because it’s good business
  • The asset class is consistently low risk and high performing
  • Two markets include CRA Markets and Economic Rate Markets
  • Banks play key role in creating the housing and conventional debt

Click here for more information about Chase Community Development Banking

Ted Chandler is the Chief Operating Officer of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, a $4.8 billion fund that invests pension capital to build affordable housing with union labor.  He is Vice-Chair of the National Housing Conference, and a founder of the California Housing Consortium. His key points:

  • LA has been a national leader in connecting construction to creating careers for low-income residents.
  • Construction jobs intended to be long term careers
  • Between 2009-2012, $690 in construction job earnings
  • 40% of construction jobs targeted for local hiring
  • Among Construction Career Policies in LA, achievement goals exceeded minimum requirements across the board

Click here to download Ted Chandler’s full report.

Access Photos from NextUp Business Forum: Housing LA – Who Cares? Affordable Housing for Economic Development
To see the images of the event, visit Scroll down to the Preview Gallery and type in AffordableHousing. Call (818) 954-9294 to order prints.
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