Q: What makes this Partnership different from similar efforts to solve the affordable housing crisis?
The Partnership for the Bay’s Future is the first of its kind in California because it consists of philanthropic, faith, government, business, and community leaders all working toward a shared vision: to address the affordable housing crisis. The public-private Partnership, and its Investment and Policy Funds, aims to expand and protect the housing stability of up to 175,000 households over the next five years and preserve and produce more than 8,000 homes over the next five to 10 years.
The Partnership is unique, in part, because of its focus on the “3Ps”—Protection, Preservation, and Production—and, because it achieves results both through investments and policy change. No other effort has the dual focus, recognizing that both investments and policy change are needed and that having both will deliver added leverage and impact.
The Investment Fund, set to be one of the largest of its kind, will offer flexible capital to invest directly in affordable, mixed, and middle-income housing projects. The country’s first-ever regional housing Policy Fund will support initiatives to preserve and expand housing, with an emphasis on strengthening low-income tenant protections.
Q: How much has each organization committed?
Our Partners have already secured initial funding of more than $260 million for an intended $500 million Investment Fund. The Policy Fund has secured almost $20 million of an intended goal of $40 million. The Partnership will continue to engage new Partners and funders. Please contact us for more information or if your organization is interested in becoming a Partner.
Q: How does this connect to efforts to alleviate homelessness?
We share a commitment to alleviating homelessness and are engaged in conversations about how to best integrate the work happening across the region into this Partnership. We are excited about the Bay Area’s emerging commitment to addressing housing and homelessness—and efforts to bring the two issues together, wherever possible.
The Partnership is launching with investment opportunities that would add to these programs, including:
We also recognize that interventions that more directly target the causes of and solutions to homelessness are needed, and the Partnership looks forward to working to more fully address the issue of homelessness in the future.
Q: How will the Partnership measure progress?
Today, two full-time workers, making $15 per hour—over $62k per year—can only afford to live in 5% of the Bay Area’s neighborhoods. Our goal is to change this and make the Bay Area a thriving place for more residents. The Partnership will measure progress by the number of homes created, the number of tenants protected, and the shifting percentage of neighborhoods that are affordable to most full-time workers.
Ultimately, we aim to expand and protect the housing rights of up to 175,000 households over the next five years and preserve and produce more than 8,000 homes over the next five to 10 years.
Q: How will the Partnership ensure the community is engaged and has a say?
This was important to us from the beginning. This Partnership was developed through years of conversations with community and faith leaders, housing experts, elected officials, and residents. As our Partnership expands, our Investment and Policy Funds will evolve to ensure this Partnership remains broad and inclusive—representing all groups of people that make the Bay Area great.
Additionally, the Partnership will rely upon a diverse Advisory Board, which includes investors from the philanthropic and corporate sectors, public sector and policy experts, and community leaders to inform the work and ensure it is grounded in the best interests of the community. The Partnership will evolve based on input from experts, advocates, and community members.
Q: How did this project originate, and what role has the community played?
The Partnership’s goal is to be additive and supportive of existing efforts underway. Its creation involved community conversations, in which we listened to the people affected by the housing crisis and gained a deeper understanding of the most effective ways to address their challenges. We also engaged a wide range of faith leaders and community and housing advocates to shape our approach to protecting tenant rights and promoting housing stability, while preserving and producing more affordable homes.
Q: How does this relate to the recently passed homeless tax on San Francisco businesses?
This Partnership is a separate effort spearheaded by the community, businesses, philanthropy, and housing advocates to help protect residents and create affordable housing in a comprehensive way. We also are focused on policy, because we know that just building more housing will not solve the issue.
Q: How will the Partnership make sure that large and small community developers will be able to benefit from available products and funds?
The Partnership’s Investment Fund will engage mission-aligned developers of all sizes. Several products have been designed for smaller developers who have historically faced barriers to accessing capital. As the Partnership grows, we will actively seek and incorporate community feedback to ensure we are promoting equitable, diverse solutions to the housing crisis.
Q: Can you speak to the role of tech companies in this crisis?
While not the root cause of the affordable housing crisis, the growth of tech companies has put pressure on a broken system. The current shortage of affordable housing has been created by a lack of protections for tenants, preservation of existing affordable housing and investment in new affordable units, as well as by a strong regional economy that has outgrown existing government policies and funding. Our Partners are focused on a combination of solutions that we hope will solve the crisis in the long-term. Tech companies are starting to build housing and support efforts to make housing more affordable. We are grateful to Facebook and Genentech, who have already invested in the Partnership, and look forward to other tech leaders joining in the future. We need tech companies and businesses to be involved in promoting long-term solutions, but they aren’t the only partners we need. To truly advance our goals, we need all businesses and groups at the table—working together.
Q: How will you address the environmental implications of additional, affordable housing?
The Partnership is working with community partners—including environmental advocates and stakeholders—to create solutions that positively impact the environment, in addition to helping residents. Every development will be evaluated and implemented in a way that addresses environmental and community concerns.
Q: Why aren’t other funders in this space included?
We are in conversation with a number of additional funders, with the hope that they will join the effort and contribute to the Investment and Policy Funds. We need all voices and investors at the table, and look forward to expanding our reach to support more residents.
Q: What kinds of policies will the Policy Fund support?
The Policy Fund will support local jurisdictions in passing and implementing policies that will protect tenants and preserve and produce housing. The Fund will use the policies vetted in the CASA (Committee to House the Bay Area) process as a menu of possibilities for jurisdictions to propose in their applications for funding. The Fund’s first effort will be Challenge Grants, which will be focused on strengthening tenant protections, and the preservation of affordable housing. For instance, the Fund would support jurisdictions in passing and implementing tenant protections such as just cause eviction, rental assistance, and tenant representation policies.
Q: Does the Partnership support the CASA (Committee to House the Bay Area) Compact recommendations?
We believe that in order to promote a thriving Bay Area for all, we need to invest in the production and preservation of affordable housing, as well as policies that protect tenants. To get there, our goal is for the Partnership’s efforts to complement the great work that community and faith leaders and housing advocates have already been leading for decades. One of our efforts is a Policy Fund that will support local jurisdictions in passing and implementing policies to protect tenants and preserve and produce housing. This Fund will use the policies vetted in the CASA process as a menu of possibilities for jurisdictions to propose in their applications for funding.
Q: Why did you focus only on 5 of the counties in the Bay Area?
This is meant to be a starting point—we want to be sure we’re being ambitious, but also focusing on a smaller number of counties, given the deep relationships and capacity needed to implement the funds effectively. By targeting resources to these 5 counties (Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa), we hope to jumpstart high-impact projects and policies that could have positive impacts throughout the region, and have the potential to expand to additional counties in future years.