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Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program

Best Practice Category:

Affordable Housing Transit Prioritization, Accessibility, and Area Design Transportation Demand Management


The AHSC program provides grants and affordable housing loans for compact transit-oriented development and related infrastructure and programs that reduce greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions. These projects increase the accessibility of housing, employment centers, and key destinations via low-carbon transportation options (walking, biking, transit) resulting in fewer vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and mode shift. The stated goals of the program are twofold:

Rendering courtesy of Y&M Architects
credit: Rendering courtesy of Y&M Architects

  1. Result in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled (VMT)
  2. Increase accessibility of housing, employment centers and key destinations through low-carbon transportation options such as walking, biking and transit

The program supports these efforts by providing affordable housing loans and other capital grants for the creation of affordable housing, housing related infrastructure, sustainable transportation infrastructure, transit related amenities, and related programs. Eligible projects will be assessed as one of three prototypes: (1) TOD Project Areas, (2) Integrated Connectivity Project (ICP) Project Areas, or (3) Rural Innovation Project Areas (RIPA).

TOD Project Areas are required to be served by High Quality Transit where headway frequency is 15 minutes or less during peak hours and the service is either a railway or bus rapid transit. Additionally, the project area must include an affordable housing development, and eligible project areas must demonstrate VMT reduction through fewer or shorter vehicle trips or mode shift to transit use, bicycling, or walking.

Integrated Connectivity Project (ICP) Project Areas target communities with fewer existing transit options. These areas cannot be served by high quality transit. As before, though, the AHSC program supports affordable housing development, housing-related infrastructure, sustainable transportation infrastructure, or transportation-related amenities that can demonstrate VMT reduction through fewer or shorter vehicle trips or mode shift to transit use, bicycling, or walking.

The AHSC program has proven especially effective at supporting the creation of affordable housing in conjunction with improving mobility. The financial support in the form of affordable housing loans and capital grants can help close the financing gap in TOD areas where the market is insufficient to support new development independently. Investments supported through the AHSC program can serve as catalytic projects in areas with limited private sector transit-oriented investment. Furthermore, the program’s support for transportation infrastructure and other transit-related uses can bolster area transit, making future transit oriented developments in the area more effective and financially sustainable.


  • Improves connectivity and accessibility of jobs and services
  • Increased mobility options including active transportation
  • Reduced air pollution and improved public health


Sylmar Court Apartments

Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program funding was used to support the development of Sylmar Court Apartments in the northern San Fernando Valley. Sylmar Court is a 150 unit development along San Fernando Road in the city of Los Angeles. The project is a short walk from the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station. The Antelope Valley line provides access throughout the San Fernando Valley and to employment centers including Burbank, Glendale, and Downtown Los Angeles. The Sylmar Metrolink station is a major commuter hub. In addition to commuter rail, the station is heavily used for bus service with a Commuter Express bus line, seven local bus lines, and two Rapid Bus lines. In addition, the development site is adjacent to the San Fernando Road bike path.

The infill project consists of 150 units of which 100% are income-restricted. Twenty-five of the units will be reserved for residents with special needs. The project is LEED-Gold certified and will improve pedestrian amenities around the site.

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