New “HIP” solution created to drive progress for Bay Area region’s housing crisis

New “HIP” solution created to drive progress for Bay Area region’s housing crisis

A new “HIP” program of incentives passed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) last week will allow the San Francisco Bay Area to use Bay Area transportation funding to push for better housing outcomes.

NPH was proud to work closely with MTC staff and commissioners to shape and advocate for the new Housing Incentive Pool (HIP) program, a “race to the top” challenge that rewards the Bay Area cities and counties that build the most affordable housing with additional transportation funding.

Specifically, HIP incentives will go to the top 15 cities and counties in the Bay Area that build and preserve the most homes affordable to very-low, low, and moderate-income people between 2018 and 2022. These communities can receive millions of additional transportation dollars that they can put toward local transportation projects (bike lanes, sidewalks, road repaving, etc.).

To be eligible for the HIP incentives, cities and counties must also be in compliance with four California housing laws – Housing Element Law, the Surplus Land Act, Density Bonus, and Accessory Dwelling Units. Moreover, their affordable homes must be built in walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods identified by local governments or the state also known as Transit Priority Areas (TPAs) and Priority Development Areas (PDAs). This confluence of building and preserving affordable homes, promoting compliance with existing state housing law, and promoting construction in walkable transit-oriented places is a critical approach in helping the Bay Area become a more affordable and desirable place to live.

NPH research and expertise has long demonstrated that transportation investments and affordable housing must be mutually supportive to solve the Bay Area’s affordability and congestions crises. The HIP program represents this critical holistic approach to regional planning and investment and continues to build momentum on regional solutions in recent years, including passing local affordable housing revenue ballot measures and working with the State Legislature to create new BART transit-oriented housing opportunities. NPH is excited to continue to work closely with MTC around the HIP program and other regional initiatives to ensure that the Bay Area can be a place affordable to low income communities and where communities of color can stay and prosper.

Alina Harway