Community Support Programs: Resources and Tools for Housing and Economic Development

The Bank offers valuable resources and tools to help our members and their community partners build and shape strong, vibrant, and resilient communities. We encourage you to learn more about the support we provide for affordable housing, first-time homebuyers, economic development initiatives, and targeted community lending in Arizona, California, Nevada, and other regions our members serve.

Affordable Housing Program (AHP): AHP General Fund and AHP Set-Aside Program

Each year, we contribute 10% of our net income from the preceding year to the AHP for projects and programs that create affordable housing opportunities for families and individuals earning up to 80% of the area median income. The majority of the funds are awarded through a competitive application process and used by members to help finance the development, acquisition, or rehabilitation of rental and owner-occupied housing. A portion of the funding is set aside for our first-time homebuyer programs, WISH and IDEA.

In 2020, we awarded $37.7 million in grants in the annual AHP funding competition and allocated $9.5 million for the WISH and IDEA programs. Since 1990, FHLBank San Francisco has awarded over $1.1 billion in grants to help create over 145,000 much-needed affordable rental and homeownership opportunities in communities served by the Bank’s member financial institutions.

AHP grants that are awarded through the competitive application process can support a wide range of rental and owner-occupied projects, from historic preservation and adaptive reuse to new construction and rehabilitation of rental or owner-occupied housing. Bank members submit applications for these grants in partnership with affordable housing sponsors. The next application cycle will begin in the first quarter of 2021.

WISH and IDEA First-Time Homebuyer Programs 
The WISH Program provides matching grants through Bank members to working families and individuals who are ready to make the transition from renting to owning. Eligible low- and moderate-income households can receive 4-to-1 matching grants of up to $22,000 for the purchase of a home, which can be applied to the downpayment or closing costs. The Bank allocates funding for WISH grants annually, and the next program cycle will begin during the first quarter of 2021.

The IDEA Program provides matching grants through Bank members to first-time homebuyers saving to buy a home through an Individual Development Account or by participating in a Family Self-Sufficiency or lease-to-own program. Eligible low- and moderate-income households can receive 4-to-1 matching grants of up to $22,000 for the purchase of a home, which can be applied to the downpayment or closing costs. The Bank allocates funding for IDEA annually, and the next program cycle will begin during the first quarter of 2021.

AHEAD Program
AHEAD grants support the efforts of members, working with local community organizations, to give a critical boost to programs and projects that target pressing community development needs by creating or preserving jobs, supporting a nonprofit’s organizational and capacity-building activities, or delivering social services, training and education, and other needed services and programs in low- and moderate-income communities. 

The Bank allocates AHEAD funds annually, and individual grants are awarded to members based on project eligibility and evaluation of the application. In 2020, the Bank awarded a total of $3.5 million in AHEAD grants in 2020, with $1.9 million in specially targeted grant funding awarded to support ongoing pandemic relief and recovery efforts. The next application cycle will take place during the second quarter of 2021.

Community Investment Credit Programs 
Bank members use our discounted credit programs to help finance affordable housing and economic development and community revitalization activities. Full details and applications for the following programs are available on the Bank’s Member Portal.

Advances for Community Enterprise (ACE)
Members can use ACE credit to provide funds or support projects and activities that result in the creation or retention of jobs or provide services or other benefits for low- and moderate-income people and communities. ACE funds may be used to support community lending and economic development, including small business, community facilities, and public works projects. 

Community Investment Program (CIP)
Members can use CIP credit to fund or support affordable housing or economic development activities that serve low- and moderate-income individuals and families and help develop and revitalize their communities. 

Community Investment Letters of Credit
Members can use standby letters of credit to facilitate a variety of transactions with third parties. A standby letter of credit is an obligation of the Bank to make payment to a third party if a member or housing associate does not perform its underlying obligation to that third party. Full details and applications for CIP and ACE letters of credit are available on the Bank’s Member Portal.

The Bank will continue to increase limits on CIP and ACE credit programs to support emergency disaster relief efforts in the 11th District. Members should contact their Relationship Manager to request an exception to the normal per member limits.

Borrowing Capacity for Community Financial Institution (CFI) Members
To promote economic development lending by our CFI members, the Bank provides borrowing capacity to CFI members on small business, small agribusiness, and small farm loans when they are pledged under a blanket lien. A CFI is an FDIC-insured depository with average total assets of less than $1.224 billion as of January 2020 (this cap is adjusted each year by the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index).

Targeted Community Lending Plan Activities
As part of the Bank’s annual Targeted Community Lending Plan, we:

  1. Identify and assess significant affordable housing needs in our district and use that information to enhance our community programs.
  2. Develop and maintain relationships with community and economic development organizations.
  3. Link community-based organizations to sources of technical assistance, experienced partners in community development, and advocacy groups.
  4. Offer application and compliance training and technical assistance for the Bank's community programs and products.

We invite you to visit for more information on the community programs described in this notice. Program application information, news about trainings and other events, and stories of how members have successfully used our programs are also available online.

Please call the Community Investment Department at (415) 616-2754 or contact your relationship manager to discuss how to take advantage of these valuable programs.

December 29, 2020 | FHLBank San Francisco