48-Unit Affordable Housing Development in Long Beach Moving Forward After Scoring Tax Credit Award

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Renderings courtesy of Killefer Flammang Architects.

Following an award of a 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit—LIHTC, often pronounced “lie-tech” amongst housing builders—the 48-unit affordable complex known as the Vistas Del Puerto will move forward at 48 new affordable units will be built along the Blue Line at Pacific Coast Highway and Long Beach Blvd.

A partnership between affordable housing builder Clifford Beers Housing and Killefer Flammang Architects, the project is on 27,000 square foor lot at 1836-1852 Locust Ave.. It consists of two five-story structures that will have 47 affordable units and a managerial unit on floors two through five, and 40 parking spaces on the ground level. In addition, 4,671 square foot of that space will be used for the community that lives within it, as well as bike storage and a bike lounge for its citizens to work on their two-wheeled steeds.

The project is a welcomed addition to Long Beach’s housing supply, which lacks in not only overall supply but particularly in affordability. Currently, it is estimated that the County is behind by some 500,000 affordable units (and over one million units in total) behind in building, contributing to a housing crisis that is prompting increased homelessness and displacement.

The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) facilitates the investment of private capital into the development of affordable rental housing and, just as importantly, it allocates federal and state tax credits to the developers of these projects, include LIHTC through the federal government.

Affordable housing developers have many sources for funding—there are notices of available funding given through the County, for example—but this particular tax credit is the most important as it ensures the project can actually move forward. Should a project be unable to be awarded a LIHTC, their project gets pushed back, often by a year so they can apply for the next round of awards.

In the case of Vistas Del Puerto, they scored the more desirable LIHTC at 9%—rather than the 4% award—meaning that 70% of the project’s construction will be federally subsidized, with the developers unable to apply for any further federal subsidies.

“Folks apply to TCAC in January and wait until March to see if they are accepted,” said Ismar Enriquez of Killefer Flammang Architects, who also assisted the partnership with obtaining the tax credit. “If not, they get kicked down the road to June and, if neither works, the project goes on hold until the next year.”

There is also NOFA by county of LA and other funding sources but the big one is TCAC.

The conversation—pitting housing advocates against well-meaning, but selfish NIMBYs fearful of “losing their lifestyle” to so-called over-development—has erupted across the state, prompting politicians to figure out ways to downsize the crisis while homeowners and property owners rail against developers and renters.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.