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Why Affordable Housing Isn't Dead Yet

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It's been several years since redevelopment agencies died a painful death in California, with dire ramifications, especially for affordable housing. Now the last few projects to be built with redevelopment funds in the LA area are coming to fruition.

Nonprofit developer Abode Communities held a ribbon-cutting for one of these affordable communities last week, Riverwalk at Reseda. President Robin Hughes (with Revitalize Reseda's Nancy Sweeney and LA City Councilman Bob Blumenfield) tells us the project was an "enforceable commitment" when LA's CRA dissolved, with an agreement in place for the project to move forward and receive funding. But as the head of one of SoCal's oldest affordable housing providers, she says the loss of redevelopment and subsequent reduction in federal funding for affordable housing continues to beset disadvantaged communities.

As proof of the unmet demand for high-quality affordable housing, she notes more than 1,200 families applied for Riverwalk's 77 units. Abode also serves as the architect of record on its projects. Riverwalk's onsite amenities include a rose garden with a seating area, and a central landscaped courtyard. The project, which is aiming for LEED Gold certification, is located in an area formerly marked by aging buildings, vacant lots, and gang activity at the neighboring Reseda Park and LA River.

Bob (with Robin and Paul Hastings partner and Abode board director Ken Krug) praised the developer for its efforts in sustainable development and community transformation. Besides CRA/LA dollars, Riverwalk's funding sources included Abode Community Housing Fund, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, City of LA Housing & Community Investment Department, and Enterprise Community Loan Fund. US Bank provided a credit line and tax credit equity. Abode has more than 1,100 units in its pipeline to be produced or rehabbed by year-end 2019.