The need for equitable transit-oriented development is greater than ever, but the challenges and opportunities to advancing this work have changed over time. The Bay Area Transit Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (TOAH) is currently on hiatus as we work to retool the program to respond to the current and future needs of the Bay Area. Providing financing tools that connect more people to opportunity is what we do, and we’re developing new ways to fulfill that promise. We’ll be back soon with updates on the changes and when TOAH will be back in action.
The $50 million Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) Fund was created to provide financing for the development of affordable housing and other vital community services near transit lines throughout the Bay Area. Through the fund, developers could access flexible, affordable capital to purchase or improve available property near transit lines for the development of affordable housing, retail space and other critical services, such as child care centers, fresh food outlets and health clinics.
Launched in 2011, the TOAH Fund was made possible through a $10 million investment from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The Low Income Investment Fund served as the Fund Manager and an originating lender, along with five other leading community development financial institutions (Corporation for Supportive Housing, Enterprise Community Loan Fund, LISC, Northern California Community Loan Fund, and Opportunity Fund). Additional capital for the Fund was provided by Citi Community Capital, Morgan Stanley, the Ford Foundation, Living Cities, and the San Francisco Foundation. For more information about the organizations involved in the creation of the TOAH Fund, visit the Partners page.
The mission of the Fund is to promote equitable transit-oriented development (TOD) across the nine-county Bay Area by catalyzing the development of affordable housing, community services, fresh foods markets and other neighborhood assets.
Housing & Transportation Affordability
The Bay Area’s high housing costs put significant pressure on working families. Half of all Bay Area households spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs, compared to 1/3 of residents nationally. To afford housing, Bay Area residents must travel further to get to work as many jobs have moved away from city centers. The number of Bay Area commuters traveling more than 45 minutes to work is the second highest in the nation. The dual burden of housing and transit is even heavier for lower income families. Bay Area households earning $20,000-$50,000 spend 63% of their household budgets on the combined costs of housing and transportation, the highest percentage in the country.
Supporting mixed-use developments that incorporate affordable housing and are located in close proximity to high-quality public transit can be a meaningful tool to help working families save money. According to a study by Reconnecting America and the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, a household could have saved over $9,000 by using public transportation instead of driving. However, many households must drive because public transportation and necessary amenities and services are too far from their home.
While transit-oriented developments can benefit lower-income households, the complex nature of building TOD projects and the high market value associated with living near public transit has meant most projects served higher income clients. For this reason, the TOAH Fund partners are collaborating to encourage equitable TOD projects in the Bay Area and ensure that low-income families share in the benefits of more walkable neighborhoods and connections to the larger regional economy.