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March 16 Deadline Approaching for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities NOFA

NEW FAQ Released for Current Fiscal Year Funding Cycle

March 11, 2016
Cities that are interested in applying for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) grants must submit their concept proposals by March 16. The Strategic Growth Council earlier this week released new responses to FAQ for the FY 2015-16 funding round.
The current Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), application and program guidelines are available through the Department of Housing and Community Development AHSC webpage. Updated AHSC income, rent and loan limits are also now available.
The AHSC program receives a 20 percent ongoing allocation of the proceeds from the state’s greenhouse gas reduction effort, commonly known as Cap-and-Trade. The program’s purpose is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through projects that implement land-use, housing, transportation and agricultural land preservation practices to support infill and compact development.

It also seeks to support a number of related public policy objectives, including: reducing air pollution, preserving and developing affordable housing, improving conditions in disadvantaged communities, and increasing mobility options and transit ridership.
Local governments, transportation and transit agencies, and both for- and nonprofit developers are eligible applicants for competitive grants.
The program includes three project prototypes, all of which must demonstrate a reduction in vehicle miles traveled:
  • Transit-Oriented Development Project Areas (TODs), which are designed to improve access to public transit, biking or walking infrastructure and affordable housing or mixed-use areas, with a focus on connecting residents to key destinations, like schools and neighborhood retail. Similar projects that impact a larger geographic area, such as regional transit hubs, and projects focused on improving transportation operations along transit corridors would also qualify.
  • Integrated Connectivity Project Areas (ICPs), which are designed to reduce the number or length of automobile trips through mode shift to transit use, bicycling or walking within areas lacking high quality transit, with an emphasis on providing disadvantaged community benefits.
  • Rural Innovation Project Areas (RIPA), which are similar to ICPs but instead target rural areas. 
Examples of RIPAs and ICPs may include bike/pedestrian connections from employment centers to transit, transit station improvements or a vanpool fleet paired with at least one additional capital or program use, like transit station improvements, an affordable housing development or a transit ridership program.
AHSC funds are to be awarded bases on “the merits of the proposal to support sustainable development that expands and improves transit, walking and bicycling infrastructure and provides opportunities to reduce vehicle miles traveled by supporting connectivity between housing and key destinations to bring about reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

For more information about this and other Cap-and-Trade programs, please see the League’s Cap-and-Trade Hot Issues page, which includes a recently updated, downloadable Cap-and-Trade Guide to the major funding programs affecting cities.

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