About NPH

MidPen Housing's Schapiro Knolls. Photo by Frank Domin

Vision

NPH sees a future where everyone has a place to call home and where low-income communities and communities of color stay and prosper in the Bay Area. We envision a day where everyone has access to an affordable home; improving our health, our children’s educational outcomes, our environment, our transit system, our regional competitiveness and keeping the Bay Area diverse and equitable.

Mission

The Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) activates our members to make the Bay Area a place where everyone has an affordable and stable home. We are 750 affordable housing developers, advocates, community leaders and businesses, working to secure resources, promote good policy, educate the public and support affordable homes as the foundation for thriving individuals, families and neighborhoods.

About NPH

Since 1979, NPH has been the collective voice of those who support, build and finance affordable housing. NPH promotes the proven methods of the non-profit sector and focuses government policy on housing solutions for low-income people who suffer disproportionately from the housing crisis. We do not build nor develop affordable housing; we support our members to build, develop, and preserve affordable housing. NPH has been instrumental in strengthening the local, regional and statewide movement on affordable housing and supportive services. Over the last three decades, NPH membership has grown steadily to include individual activists, local governments, affordable housing developers, leading financial institutions, community development organizations, environmental non-profits, and faith-based organizations. In addition to our legislative advocacy work, NPH offers technical assistance, public policy development, professional training, networking opportunities, and resources for housing policy analysts, advocates and activists. NPH is a 501(c)3, not-for-profit public benefit corporation of California.

NPH plays several important roles in the community:

Legislative advocate NPH advocates for effective legislation, funding sources and land use policies that enable affordable home development and support thriving, diverse and equitable communities.

 

Membership organization Our 700+ members include the full spectrum of housing practitioners, including non-profit housing developers of all scopes and sizes, for-profit developers, housing advocates, local governments, financial institutions and environmental and faith-based groups. While extremely diverse, our supporters share a singular passion for making the Bay Area a more affordable and equitable place to live.

 

Policy pioneer We are frequently called upon to formulate new ideas for promoting affordable housing. Check out our current state-wide efforts and regional solutions.

Concise communicator We are nationally recognized for gaining community acceptance of affordable housing. Check out our Toolkits.

 

Coalition-builder – we are known for advocating affordable housing through strategic partnerships and alliances. Check out how we are Working with Communities.

 

Networker – we connect practitioners in this incredible diverse field so they can learn from one another’s experiences. Our working groups provide members with up-to-date information on shifting development, property and asset management, and legislative issues. Check out our Working Groups.

About Affordable Housing

What is affordable housing?

According to the federal government, housing is “affordable” if it costs no more than 30% of the monthly household income for rent and utilities. If your household income is $60,000 a year, you should pay no more than $1,500 monthly for your mortgage or rent and utilities. If you are in a sales job, making $12.00 an hour, you should be paying no more than $624 dollars a month in rent and utilities. Every community needs to offer a wide range of housing opportunities for the diverse populations that live and work there.

What are the benefits to affordable housing?

There are many benefits such as: – Providing housing for the local workforce, especially lower wage earners Revitalizing distressed areas – Directing economic benefits to the local community, such as increased jobs and sales taxes – Reducing traffic and improving air quality – Promoting economic and social integration while building community – Avoiding unnecessary, costly public expenditures by providing stable living situations for homeless people and people with special needs

Who lives in affordable housing?

People who need decent, affordable homes in which to raise families and live healthy, productive lives are at the core of NPH’s work. In the Bay Area, the continued high price of housing and other living expenses coupled with stagnant real wages have made the simple need for a stable home that is affordable out of reach for an increasing number of people. The following scenarios paint a picture of who lives in affordable housing properties: The American Dream is impossible for many: The Bay Area has one of the lowest home-ownership rates in the nation due to the high cost of housing. Salaries are not keeping pace with housing prices: A minimum wage earner must work 141 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. In relatively affordable Solano County, that same worker still must put in 99 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment. It’s not just minimum wage workers and those on fixed incomes: The market-rate rents for apartments and high home prices mean that school teachers, child care workers, nurses, and other professionals are also paying too much of their earnings on housing. NPH members build a range of affordable homes – rental, homeownership – for a range of incomes – very low-, low-, and moderate-income households – and a range of needs – senior housing, family housing, service enhanced housing for the disabled, youth transitional housing. Ensuring that there is housing at many different levels of affordability is key to addressing the affordable housing crisis.

Who does affordable housing serve?

Affordable housing serves a plethora of people, families, seniors, and people with disabilities. Affordable housing developments often serve as a steppingstone for young families, a stable place to get back on one’s feet for vulnerable community members, and a cost-effective living situation for persons with special needs. Affordable housing can be ownership or rental, a single duplex or the size of many market-rate apartment complexes. Many developments are designed by award winning architects with LEED certifications. They blend into community like any other housing development. Contemporary affordable housing is designed to fit with the character of the neighborhood, with high-quality construction and professional management. Affordable housing developments meet local building standards and design requirements. Professional on-site resident management includes stringent tenant selection and quick responses to maintenance requests.

How is affordable housing created?

Affordable housing is developed by private developers, mostly non-profits, of which are local community or faith-based organizations, using a combination of rental income, private funding and government subsidies. Over the past decade, many communities in the San Francisco Bay Area have shown that partnership among local government, non-profit housing developers, community leaders and private financial institutions can create attractive, successful affordable housing developments that not only serve residents, but are an asset to the broader community. At the federal level, massive cuts in the funding available for affordable housing have reduced public/private partnerships because local governments depend upon federal subsidies to stretch their limited funds.

What steps are involved in creating affordable housing?

Bay Area communities have shown that partnerships between local government, non-profit housing developers, community leaders and private financial institutions can create attractive developments that serve residents and are an asset to the broader community.

  • STEP 1: The local community sets the framework for needs, available funding and the city’s housing policies set the framework in which any housing proposal will be considered.
    • a. Housing Needs Assessment As part of ensuring the continued vitality of its community, each locality regularly reviews whether people of all income levels can meet their housing needs in its jurisdiction.
    • b. Land Use and Requirements Each city establishes its own General Plan, zoning ordinances, planning codes, housing policies, requirements and standards. These policies anticipate expected community concerns about any new developments, and set guidelines for appearance, traffic, noise, parking, the size and density of a building, and the materials used in construction.
    • c. Available Funding Each city establishes a budget of funds available to assist in the development of housing in its jurisdiction. Federal and state financing sources include: low income housing tax credits, bank loans, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants and loans (e.g. Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS or “HOPWA”), HOME Investment Partnership funds, Affordable Housing Program (AHP) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. In some cities, local programs provide other funds, for example, redevelopment fund set-asides, in-lieu fees from developers of market rate projects or local housing trust funds or bonds.
  • STEP 2 The community and a developer partner in a building concept, potential financing and finding available land.
    • a. Process Often, local government invites proposals from experienced developers to meet an identified need. Sometimes, a local community-based developer assembles a project with the local government. In most cases, the developer will perform some early design work, financial feasibility calculations, and other analysis to make sure the concept is sound before publicizing the idea broadly.
    • b. Concept Dependent upon the community’s identified need, the concept must address many issues: the resident population to be served, including their income level; the special services to be offered (if any); restrictions of available funding sources; characteristics of available land, and other factors. The community also considers the track record and special expertise of the developer involved.
    • c. Financing In the last decade, affordable housing developers have assembled complex funding packages to make developments financially feasible, combining federal, state, local government funds and private funds with the project’s anticipated rental revenues. Typically, local government funds leverage larger federal and state contributions. Most communities require the developers to pay for infrastructure and impact fees (e.g. for local schools) to serve their projects. Homeownership developments require significantly deeper public subsidies and, considering the numbers of people assisted, homeownership is a less efficient use of available subsidies. This is the reason most affordable housing developments are rental units.
    • d. Land Suitable sites may be identified (and sometimes owned) by the local government, identified by a real estate broker, donated by its owner for this purpose, or found by other means.
  • STEP 3 Local government, property owners, community groups and concerned individuals review, revise, and approve the proposal.
    • a. Review The local government reviews the proposal to ensure that it meets the city’s requirements and policies. When local government funds are involved, a regulatory agreement is often used to make sure that the development is managed and operated according to the community’s standards. The law requires local governments to ensure that both developers and potential residents are not subject to discrimination. In general, this requires that local government limit public scrutiny to the proposed building and its potential land use impacts, rather than considering who will be living in the building. In the case of housing for persons with disabilities, the local government must also make “a reasonable accommodation” (e.g. make an exception to its setback requirement) to enable these housing opportunities to be realized.
    • b. Revision Concerned individuals, local property owners, and community groups often participate in public review processes as well as in direct meetings with affordable housing developers. Often, revisions will be made to respond to valid concerns, improve the proposal and satisfy all legal requirements.
    • c. Approval Once a proposal is approved and financing is secured, the developer proceeds with construction or rehabilitation. During construction, tenant selection begins. Tenants are carefully screened and selected before they move in. Property maintenance and tenant management are ongoing.