2020 Affordable Housing Advisory Council Annual Report

REPORT FROM THE CHAIR

With the pandemic still ongoing, the full consequences of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis are still unfolding. As we anticipated at this time last year, mere weeks after the public health emergency was declared a pandemic, the health and economic effects of the coronavirus have been most severe for the most vulnerable people that members of FHLBank San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council collectively serve.

Our hearts break for the lives lost to the virus locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. No group or community has been spared from the ravages of the virus, but we know how especially deadly it has been across our Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, among the vulnerable elderly and people of all ages with existing health challenges, and for all the essential workers who put themselves at greater risk to provide for the rest of us. Unhoused people may be the most invisible and uncounted victims of the virus: no one seems to quite know exactly what the numbers are for a demographic that is always in flux and impossible to fully count for any purpose.

Relatively swift and meaningful federal support for the overall economy combined with some just-in-the-nick-of-time federal and state funding for vital safety net programs, like unemployment insurance, have mitigated, or are at least temporarily keeping at bay, some of the most dire predictions about the impact of COVID-induced economic recession. Yet we can’t un-see the many tragic images we saw repeatedly throughout 2020, from the overwhelmed healthcare workers shrouded in PPE rushing around in chaotic hospital wards to the daily traffic jams caused by millions of Americans queuing in their cars at food banks across the country – many of them people who had never before accepted a free food box.

While the Fed has done much to counteract the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, significant parts of the economy remain broken, especially for those who were housing, food, and healthcare insecure before the pandemic. This is not lost on someone who holds sway over the economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who has spoken recently about the growing number of tents popping up along his route to work in Washington, D. C., and has repeatedly warned Congress not to declare victory over the recession prematurely.

At best, this is a strikingly uneven recovery:

  1. Even with signs of overall improvement in the U.S. labor market, about four-in-ten unemployed workers had been out of work for more than six months in February 2021, about double the share in February 2020.
  2. Job losses have been heavily concentrated in the service sector where so many women and people of color traditionally toil.
  3. Feeding America estimates that by the end of 2021, 42 million Americans, including 13 million children, will experience food insecurity.
  4. Housing poverty continues unabated, with tens of millions of Americans spending more than 30% of their income on rent. 
  5. At the start of 2020, homelessness was on the rise, with about 580,000 people living on the streets or in temporary shelter. The real depth and urgency of the country’s homelessness crisis during the pandemic may not be measurable.

Meanwhile, supplemental joblessness benefits, eviction moratoriums, and mortgage forbearance programs will sunset soon, at the same time a hot housing market at the upper end is squeezing out low- and moderate-income people who struggle to make the rent or a mortgage payment in ordinary times.

On the Ground in the Bank’s District

Members of the Bank’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council (Council) report that their affordable housing portfolios have not generally experienced significant declines in rent collection to date, which is partially attributable to the fact that many of their residents work in essential services or are seniors on fixed incomes.

Nonetheless, in discussions around this Council’s virtual table there is a consensus that unless rental aid programs receive further extensions, some projects may yet experience significant income declines, putting stress on the portfolios and potentially the viability of the organizations that run them. At the same time, responding to the pandemic’s shelter-in-place orders with accommodations for their own organizational staff, properties, and residents have generated unexpected costs.

Among the myriad ways the pandemic has affected affordable housing residents, Council members have noted overcrowding as families and friends band together to pay the rent, tenants not able to pay for both utilities and rent, lack of access to the broadband and laptops children need for online education, upticks in mental health issues and domestic violence, and a vastly increased need for all manner of support services, including childcare, food assistance, healthcare, benefits navigation, and more. Council members representing organizations involved in community economic development have also highlighted the devastating impact on the small businesses that are essential to thriving communities.

A force of nature changed most major aspects of how we conduct our daily lives and continues to exacerbate a myriad of longstanding problems. There is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel as the long-awaited vaccine roll-out gains steam and the overall economic recovery begins to gain ground. But the pandemic was not the only thing shining a spotlight on tragic inequities in our society over the past year. We’ve also seen the most long-lasting reckoning with issues of racial justice and inequality since, many say, the height of the civil rights era.

Reasons for Optimism

The Council appreciates the Bank’s commitment to contributing to solutions for narrowing the Black-White homeownership gap, and the related wealth gap. We look forward to hearing more about how this commitment will be activated in the coming months.

It is also welcome news that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is taking steps to reinstate two critically important fair housing regulations that have long been aimed to addressing systematic racism in housing -- Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) and the Disparate Impact rule. Both rules provide an added layer of responsibility for HUD grantees to grapple with systemic racial discrimination and work towards more equitable housing programs, or else risk losing federal funding.

The Biden administration’s appointment of Marcia Fudge to lead HUD is a clear signal that preventing foreclosures and closing the homeownership gap are priorities. President Biden has shown strong support for a variety of proposals to advance equity in housing, including first-time homebuyer tax credits, expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and Housing Trust Fund and better enforcement of fair housing laws. He campaigned on expanding the reach of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and closing loopholes that allow for less lending in underserved communities.

More immediately, the federal eviction moratorium that was part of the first coronavirus relief bill has been extended through the end of 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which cited the risk of spreading COVID-19 if people are kicked out on the street. This is an important acknowledgement of what we at the Council have long known to be true, that housing is healthcare.

Issues in Focus at the State Level

In Arizona, advocates are looking to add an additional $25 million allocation to the State's Housing Trust Fund in 2021. A $19 million allocation made in 2019 was partially redirected to fund eviction prevention and assistance for landlords during the pandemic. Work is still underway to pass legislation creating a State LIHTC Program, with a bill introduced at the end of January 2021.

California's 2020-2021 budget includes $750 million for Project Homekey, which will convert hotels into housing for the homeless and direct $600 million to assist low-income taxpayers with rent and other expenses. It maintains the $500 million annual expansion of the state's LIHTC program that was introduced last year. The budget also provides funding for a Housing Accountability Unit, established within the state's Department of Housing and Community Development, to provide technical assistance and enforce housing laws that set benchmarks for housing production.

A shortened California legislative schedule contributed to few new housing bills being passed in 2020, except for a last-minute bill to prevent evictions and SB1079, which helps prevent private equity firms from buying foreclosures. Bills to be considered in 2021 include AB1199, intended to curb corporate investment in single family homes, SB5, which puts a housing bond measure on the ballot in 2022, SB9, which allows lot splits on single family parcels, and SB6, which allows residential development on commercially zoned properties.

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto introduced two bills at the national level that would reauthorize affordable housing programs and help fight housing discrimination. The Senator also worked to ensure that the Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation retained $18 million to help families with mortgage delinquencies or downpayments. In a special session called because of the pandemic, the Nevada state legislature passed SB1, which creates alternative pathways for dispute resolution designed to protect tenants from eviction.

Across the Bank’s district, development and labor costs that have been rising in recent years were further exacerbated by the pandemic. Construction delays have been common, driven by pandemic-related staffing and site maintenance issues, along with material shortages and lengthened timelines for utility installations and permit approvals. Modular construction continues to promise cost savings through simultaneous sitework and building construction. Analysts also note that streamlined zoning and permitting along with more flexible sources of funding are needed to decrease construction timelines and reduce costs.

Just as we were a year ago, we continue to be challenged to find new ways to solve old problems, to mitigate the devastating social and economic consequences of the pandemic for the same people we work together to serve in the best of times: lower-income families and individuals struggling to find a safe and stable place to call home, a shelter for the night, or the means to buy a home of their own, along with people, populations, and whole communities that lack equitable economic opportunity.   

The Bank’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council is pleased to present this annual report, which describes how the Bank’s Community Programs and related activities responded to unexpected, urgent needs for pandemic relief and recovery in 2020 while continuing to be a vital resource for expanding access to affordable housing, homeownership, and economic opportunities.

2020 AHP: Targeted Solutions for Old and New Priorities

For the 2020 AHP funding competition, the Bank made changes to its AHP Implementation Plan in anticipation of a decrease in total funding available for the AHP. The Bank reduced the maximum subsidy a project may request from $1.5 million to $1.25 million and, to better address persistent affordable housing challenges throughout the Bank’s three-state district of Arizona, California, and Nevada, the Bank increased the total points available for In-District Projects from three to five points. More details about the most recent Implementation Plan revisions are available at fhlbsf.com.

In 2020, FHLBank San Francisco awarded $37.7million in AHP grants to 50 projects that will construct or rehabilitate 3,514 units of housing affordable for lower-income families and individuals in the Bank’s three-state district of Arizona, California, and Nevada. Twenty FHLBank San Francisco member financial institutions, working in partnership with community-based housing developers, submitted successful applications in the funding competition, with grants ranging from $190,000 to $1.25 million. Grants were awarded to members with total assets ranging from under $500 million to those with assets over $25 billion.

The AHP is a flexible source of gap funding for projects that are designed to serve very low -, low-, and moderate-income families and individuals, many with special needs. All the 2020 grant winners will supply some specific mix of valuable social services to support residents, ranging from financial literacy education and job coaching and placement assistance to onsite afterschool care and medical and behavioral health services.

Thanks to the combined efforts of the Bank’s member financial institutions and their affordable housing partners, AHP grants awarded over the past 30 years have helped increase the supply of affordable housing in the urban, suburban, and rural areas served by the Bank’s membership. The program plays a critical role in supplying resources that strengthen communities and change lives for the better.

Projects supported by this year’s AHP funding will meet the diverse needs of diverse communities, families, and individuals, including:

  • Lower income working families struggling to keep housing near centers of employment
  • Low-income seniors who want to age-in-place in the big cities or small towns where they feel at home
  • Vulnerable unhoused women with children in need of safe transitional housing
  • Youth in need of both shelter and supportive services to help them transition to self-sufficiency
  • Chronically unhoused veterans and veterans with other special needs, and their families
  • Individuals on the path to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction

The 50 AHP grant winners in 2020 included one member that had not previously been awarded an AHP grant.

2020 Competitive Affordable Housing Program Results

  2020 2020 2020 1990-2020     
(Dollars in millions, except subsidy per unit) Rental Ownership Total  
Applications Received        
     Number of Applications 157 13 170 6,545
     Subsidy Requested $118.4 $3.0 $121.4 $3,041.8
Approved Applications        
     Number of Applications 50 0 50 2,427
     Subsidy Awarded $37.7 $0.0 $37.7 $1,068.2
     Number of Affordable Units 3,514 0 3,515 134,870
Effectiveness        
     Average Subsidy per Unit $10,720 n/a $10,720 $7,920

These results reflect adjustments, cancellations, and modifications to projects as of December 31, 2020.

Projects awarded funding in the 2020 funding competition feature a wide variety of unique characteristics, for example:

7th and Campbell (Oakland, CA): Transforming a vacant lot into 79 affordable apartment homes near the West Oakland BART regional transit station, this project's onsite commercial spaces will serve as a small business incubator center for local low-income entrepreneurs, including the formerly incarcerated. The potential mix of businesses include a fitness center, healthcare clinic, health-food cafe, community market, urban farm, and a technology training and support hub for gig economy workers and those left behind by the digital divide.

Lightfighter Village (Marina, CA): Replacing blighted and substandard units on the former Fort Ord military base, this project will create a community with 71 new units of permanent supportive veteran’s housing that prioritizes homes for homeless veterans.

681 Florida Street (San Francisco, CA): Located in the City’s Mission District, a Priority Development Area, this project will include 9,250 square feet of designated production, distribution, and repair (PDR) space focused on community arts and aimed at keeping the artistic and cultural identity of the neighborhood. There will be separate entrances: a private entrance to the housing lobby for residents, and an atrium-like portal supplying entrance to the arts/PDR space.

Decatur and Alta Apartments (Las Vegas, NV): This 60-unit senior housing project is part of a larger 480-unit affordable rental housing development featuring 240 senior and 240 family units on 20-acre site. With a park, grocery store, pharmacy, and healthcare facility all within walking distance, car won’t be needed engage with the larger community.

Anaheim and Walnut (Long Beach, CA): On a site that’s been vacant for over 10 years, this 88-unit development will include a New Market Tax Credit-financed and separately owned 18,000 square foot health and wellness center serving both residents and nearby community members.

Casa Paloma (Midway City, CA): This is a modular construction project will create permanent supportive housing for low-income families. A robust community-involved design process means that residents of the surrounding neighborhood will also benefit from Casa Paloma amenities, including a community garden.

AHP Modernization: Full Implementation of the Final Rule

January 1, 2021 was the deadline for implementation of the final rule amending the AHP regulation, except for certain provisions related to changes to owner-occupied retention policies and procedures that had to be implemented by January 1, 2020.

The Bank implemented several provisions of the final rule in time for the 2020 AHP competition and the WISH and IDEA homeownership set-aside programs cycle. For WISH and IDEA, the maximum subsidy amount per household was increased and owner-occupied retention requirements were revised. For the competitive AHP, named the AHP General Fund as of January 1, 2021, the Bank adopted monitoring requirements related to tenant income documentation for LIHTC projects and project sponsor notification of LIHTC project noncompliance. The Bank also revised its direct subsidy agreements and retention agreement templates for homeownership and rental projects to incorporate these changes.

Targeted Community Lending Plan

Per the amended regulation, the Bank conducts market research annually to identify housing and economic development needs, community lending credit needs, and market opportunities across the Bank’s district of Arizona, California, and Nevada. The Bank consults the Advisory Council, Bank members, housing associates, and economic development organizations in the district to conduct this research and develop and implement a Targeted Community Lending Plan (TCLP) that includes performance goals for the Bank.

During 2020, a year of unprecedented crisis and uncertainty, the primary themes uncovered were the unrelenting demand for affordable housing, racial disparity in housing and economic development, and the expected effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially on the most vulnerable populations across the Bank’s district, and beyond. Nonetheless, the Bank met or exceeded the goals set in its 2020 Targeted Community Lending Plan.

  1. The number of unique members using the Bank’s Community Investment (CIP) and Advances for Community Enterprise (ACE) Advances or Letters of Credit or receiving AHEAD Program grants totaled 84.
  2. The number of unique members participating in the Bank’s community programs workshops or receiving individual technical assistance sessions was 83.
  3. Bank staff actively participated in 76 live or virtual affordable housing and community development industry conferences, meetings workshops and other events.

The Bank’s 2021 Targeted Community Lending Plan identifies needs and potential opportunities for addressing them in the following areas: 

  1. The Bank’s district survey identified family, rental, homeless, and permanent housing as priorities.
  2. The district’s needs are similar to or greater than those of the U.S. overall, especially in the areas of income inequality and homelessness.
  3. The Bank’s district has the greatest shortage of affordable housing for extremely low-income households in the U.S.
  4. There is significant racial and gender disparity in income, housing cost burden, homelessness, homeownership, small business ownership, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  5. Supportive services are an essential part of housing and economic needs both nationally and in the district.
  6. Grant funding for small businesses is a critical economic development need across the district.

WISH & IDEA: Helping First-Time Homebuyers Build Wealth

Homeownership continues to be a big part of the American dream. For low- to moderate-income individuals and families, the journey to becoming a homebuyer takes an extraordinary amount of hard work, thrift, and determination. The downpayment assistance our programs offer can help aspiring homeowners overcome one of the biggest barriers to achieving their dream and begin to build intergenerational wealth.

In 2020, the Bank earmarked $9.5 million to fund WISH and IDEA matching grants for low- and moderate-income individuals and families aspiring to homeownership. With this funding, 41 unique members, including 8 members participating for the first time, are helping homebuyers in Arizona, California, Nevada, and other states where Bank members do business and put down roots in their communities.

With the 2020 homeownership program cycle beginning just after the COVID-19 crisis was declared a pandemic and widespread shelter-in-place orders went into effect, the normally busy spring homebuying season was noticeably subdued. Like other industries, the real estate and mortgage sectors adapted to doing business virtually as needed. By the time summer arrived and some restrictions lifted, participating members reported that pent up demand drove an active summer and fall homebuying period during which lower-income buyers were able to take advantage of the Bank’s downpayment assistance programs.

Both WISH and IDEA programs offer eligible low- to moderate-income households 4-to-1 matching grants of up to $22,000 that can be applied to downpayment and closing costs for the purchase of a home. WISH grants are targeted to working families and individuals who are ready to make the transition from renting to owning, and the grants can be paired with local, state, and federal mortgage loan programs, such as Fannie Mae HomeReady and Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages. IDEA grants help homebuyers who have been saving for the purchase of their first home through an Individual Development Account, participating in their local housing authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency homeownership program, or completing a lease-to-own program administered by a nonprofit or government entity.

In the 20 years since the first homebuyer received a matching grant through these homeownership programs, the Bank has funded nearly $117 million in WISH and IDEA matching grants, helping more than 8,300 households realize their dream of owning a home of their own. Meet some of the families who have achieved their dream of homeownership with a boost from the WISH and IDEA programs, including the Fulton family of Oxnard, California and the Kabayiza family of Tucson, Arizona.

Credit Products: Supporting Economic Development, Affordable Housing, Homeownership, and Community Stability

The Bank’s Community Investment Cash Advance (CICA) programs offer Bank members a lower-cost source of funds they can lend for affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization, and economic development activities that benefit low- to moderate-income communities. 

In 2020, members took advantage of these lower cost funds to respond to the pandemic, boost local economies, create new affordable housing, and facilitate homeownership for lower-income households, using:

  • $240.7 million in Advances for Community Enterprise (ACE) Program funds to support community lending and economic development activities, including small business loans and SBA Paycheck Protection Program funds. The funding is expected to create or retain over 11,000 jobs. Eight members used the program in 2020.
  • $648.6 million in Community Investment Program (CIP) advances. The 24 CIP advances will be used by eight different members to fund mortgages for households earning up to 115% of the median income for the area in which they live, to finance first-time homebuyer programs, to create and maintain affordable housing, or to support other eligible lending activities related to housing for low- and moderate-income families, totaling over 2,500 housing units.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Bank also offered members a special zero percent interest Recovery Advance credit product with terms of six-months or one-year that could be used provide immediate relief to property owners, businesses, and other customers struggling with the financial impacts of the pandemic, among other uses. 185 members transacted the product for a total of $1.75 billion in funding.

The Bank continues to allow exceptions to normal per member limits on the discounted advance programs – Community Investment Program (CIP) and Advances for Community Enterprise (ACE) – to support pandemic and disaster relief and recovery efforts throughout the Bank’s three-state district.

AHEAD: Grants for Economic Development and Pandemic Relief and Recovery

In response to the COVID-19 crisis and its economic shocks, the Bank’s board of directors added $2 million to its planned $1.5 million allocation for the 2020 AHEAD Program. The additional funding enabled the Bank’s members to support targeted pandemic-related initiatives and help local nonprofits struggling to adapt to increased costs, loss of staff, and postponed fundraising campaigns tied to the pandemic.

Through the 2020 AHEAD Program, the Bank awarded $3.5 million in grants to 97 nonprofits. The grants, delivered by the Bank’s member financial institutions to nonprofits in Arizona, California, and Nevada, are aimed at providing both immediate and long-term pandemic relief and boosting economic development in lower-income communities.

$1.6 million in grants were awarded to 45 projects that will boost economic development activity and create greater opportunity in underserved and low-income communities. An additional $1.9 million in funding went to 52 nonprofits providing immediate and long-term pandemic relief, including food, rental assistance, homeless services, health services, and other support services to individuals, families, and communities most affected by the pandemic. These grants helped meet urgent essential needs and will also support the longer journey to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Distribution of 2020 AHEAD Grants

AHEAD grant distribution pie chart

Pandemic Relief initiatives included supplying cash, clothing, food, and rental assistance to families and individuals, paying for hotels to shelter vulnerable unhoused people, purchasing PPE and paying for cleaning, supporting or replacing nonprofit fundraising for nonprofits, filling gaps in operating support, and technology upgrades. In addition, many of the non-pandemic relief projects had a pandemic response component, such as social service assistance and technology upgrades.

The Bank reviewed 362 applications submitted in 2020 before selecting 97 AHEAD grant winners. Sixty-five participating Bank members, including twenty that sponsored winning applications for the first time, delivered grants ranging from $20,000 to $37,500 to 97 nonprofits in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Among the recipients are:

African American Community Service Agency: Member Meriwest Credit Union delivered a $37,500 grant to support the agency’s operations and ability to provide needs-based services to ethnically diverse low-income children, families, and seniors in San Jose and greater Santa Clara County.

Chicanos Por La Causa: Member Western Alliance Bank delivered a $37,500 grant to support expansion of CPLC’s YouthBuild program and targeted outreach for the program to individuals receiving services at a Las Vegas homeless resource center.

Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission: Member City National Bank delivered a $37,500 grant to buy a refrigerated truck that will enable the organization to increase essential food deliveries to multiple homeless shelters the Mission operates, which needed to rapidly increase capacity to meet new demand for shelter beds as a result of the pandemic.

Mission Economic Development Agency: Member First Republic Bank delivered a $37,500 grant to support a pilot program aimed at helping Latinx and immigrant entrepreneurs shift to an online business model appropriate for the pandemic.

Placer Food Bank: Central Valley Community Bank delivered a $37,500 grant to purchase a cold storage unit needed to increase capacity at their distribution hub to meet growing demand for hunger relief because of the pandemic.

White Mountain Apache Housing Authority: Clearinghouse CDFI delivered a $37,500 grant to support veterans living on the reservation by providing regular transportation to medical appointments and to VA offices where they can apply for benefits.

Since 2004, the Bank has awarded over $18 million in AHEAD Program grants to support over 600 nonprofit projects and programs in Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Supporting Localized Disaster and Pandemic Relief and Recovery Efforts

Beginning in 2017, the Bank took several steps to provide immediate relief to communities affected by disasters and support rebuilding efforts, including direct donations, matching donations for members, and raising the per-member limits for CIP and ACE discounted advances used to fund recovery and rebuilding efforts in affected areas.

In 2020, the Bank disbursed $106,000 in matching contributions on behalf of ten members to 14 nonprofit organizations serving communities affected by natural disasters in the district. With Bank members contributing $113,000, disaster relief efforts received $219,000 in total contributions.

In response to the unprecedented COVID-19 public health emergency and its devastating economic impact, beginning in May 2020, the Bank made a total of $1.5 million available to match donations members made to directly support nonprofits or small businesses struggling to survive during a difficult and uncertain time.

Members enthusiastically made the most of the Bank’s flexible and easy to access matching funds to amplify their own support of local nonprofits and small businesses. As of December 31, 2020, a total of 92 FHLBank San Francisco members contributed $1.36M to nonprofits and small businesses, and the Bank contributed over $738,000 to match 246 donations.

Many of the nonprofits Bank members selected for matching donations are day-to-day lifelines for people in their communities who are food and housing insecure in normal times and became even more essential as the pandemic put extreme pressure on lower income families and individuals.

Financial support during this time was critical to their ability to keep their doors open and continue to provide food, shelter, PPE, rental and other financial assistance, and more, to those in need during the pandemic.

Supporting Community Program Users

In 2020, Community Investment team members conducted all informational work sessions virtually except for a series of WISH and IDEA workshops that took place before the pandemic was declared. The Bank held:

  • Five webinars on the AHP competitive application process 
  • Eight AHP compliance webinars 
  • Three WISH & IDEA in-person workshops—in Arizona, California, and Nevada—plus three webinars 
  • Two AHEAD webinars on the application, disbursement, and monitoring processes 

Reaching Out to Engage with Diverse Stakeholders

Effective outreach is part of what helps the Bank further its mission and achieve its Targeted Community Lending Plan goals. The Bank establishes and nurtures relationships with policymakers and public officials, government agencies, affordable housing advocates and experts, and a variety of community and economic development organizations. 

In 2020, the Bank quickly pivoted to virtual engagement with stakeholders and partners. A highlight of the event calendar was the inaugural Nevada Housing Summit at which the Bank was a headline sponsor:

The Nevada Housing Summit was held in October 2020 and hosted by the Nevada Housing Coalition (NHC), a statewide affordable housing advocacy organization that is a women-led organization operating in an underserved market. The Bank was instrumental in NHC’s early development, awarding NHC a $35,000 AHEAD grant through member Charles Schwab Bank in 2019. The grant was a key piece of early funding that led to the hiring of the organization’s first employee, Executive Director Christine Hess. The Bank helped drive new NHC membership through two Lunch & Learn events in Nevada in 2019 and continued to help NHC build capacity with a $37,500 AHEAD grant in 2020, again through Charles Schwab.

NHC started 2020 with an ambitious plan to host a statewide affordable housing conference in the spring, which was postponed due to the pandemic. The Bank stayed in communication with NHC as it developed the conference into October’s online event, titled “2020 Nevada Housing Summit, a Virtual Convening.” Over 250 people from 140 organizations registered to attend, and attendees rated the event 4.8 out of 5.

In addition to providing financial support and planning assistance, the Bank participated in the event presentations. Steve Traynor, Acting President and CEO, spoke at the Opening Plenary session and Kevin Blackburn, Managing Director, Public Affairs, gave introductory remarks for a prerecorded closing message from Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. Eric Cicourel, Director of Affordable Housing, participated in a panel discussion to highlight the Bank’s Affordable Housing Program and Irise Tam Bailey, Community Lending Director, participated in a panel about homeownership opportunities and highlighted the Bank’s first-time homebuyer matching grant programs.

The homeownership panel included a presentation by a regional representative from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers on the 2020 State of Housing in Black America, which explained both barriers and potential solutions to increasing rates of Black homeownership over the next five years.

Other affordable housing and community development events and organizations the Bank sponsored in 2020 included:

  1. A Community of Friends
  2. Abode Communities
  3. Arizona Housing Coalition
  4. California Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (CAL-ALHFA)
  5. California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH)
  6. California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC)
  7. Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc (CPLC)
  8. Chinatown Community Development Corporation
  9. Community HousingWorks
  10. East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC)
  11. Greenlining Institute
  12. Housing California
  13. Little Tokyo Service Center
  14. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Phoenix
  15. Navajo Nation
  16. Nevada Housing Coalition
  17. Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH)
  18. Opportunity Alliance Nevada
  19. Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
  20. San Diego Housing Federation
  21. Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority
  22. Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC)
  23. West Angeles Community Development Corporation

In Closing

On behalf of the Advisory Council and Vice Chair Carol Ornelas of Visionary Homebuilders, I would like to thank the Bank’s Board of Directors, Bank management – with a special shout out to Steve Traynor for his long-time, steadfast support for the Council – and team members, and the Bank’s member financial institutions and their community partners for their dedication to finding and delivering meaningful solutions to existing and emerging affordable housing and economic development challenges.

We are delighted to welcome the Bank’s new President and CEO Teresa Bryce Bazemore to our table along with new board member Lori Gay, whom many of us know from her long tenure with Neighborhood Housing Services in Los Angeles.

And last but certainly not least, following an extensive search process to identify nominees for an open seat on our Council, we are very pleased that it has been filled by Tyrone Roderick Williams, an industry leader who is the deputy executive director leading development on behalf of the City and County of Sacramento at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

I am pleased to report that in 2021 the Bank is making available $38.4 million in funding for the competitive application AHP General Fund and $11 million for the WISH and IDEA programs. on the long road to a real and inclusive recovery from the pandemic and its myriad economic aftershocks, these resources will be more valuable than ever.

Respectfully submitted,

Steve Hastings
Chair
Affordable Housing Advisory Council

 

On the Ground in the Bank’s District

Members of the Bank’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council (Council) report that their affordable housing portfolios have not generally experienced significant declines in rent collection to date, which is partially attributable to the fact that many of their residents work in essential services or are seniors on fixed incomes.

Nonetheless, in discussions around this Council’s virtual table there is a consensus that unless rental aid programs receive further extensions, some projects may yet experience significant income declines, putting stress on the portfolios and potentially the viability of the organizations that run them. At the same time, responding to the pandemic’s shelter-in-place orders with accommodations for their own organizational staff, properties, and residents have generated unexpected costs.

Among the myriad ways the pandemic has affected affordable housing residents, Council members have noted overcrowding as families and friends band together to pay the rent, tenants not able to pay for both utilities and rent, lack of access to the broadband and laptops children need for online education, upticks in mental health issues and domestic violence, and a vastly increased need for all manner of support services, including childcare, food assistance, healthcare, benefits navigation, and more. Council members representing organizations involved in community economic development have also highlighted the devastating impact on the small businesses that are essential to thriving communities.

A force of nature changed most major aspects of how we conduct our daily lives and continues to exacerbate a myriad of longstanding problems. There is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel as the long-awaited vaccine roll-out gains steam and the overall economic recovery begins to gain ground. But the pandemic was not the only thing shining a spotlight on tragic inequities in our society over the past year. We’ve also seen the most long-lasting reckoning with issues of racial justice and inequality since, many say, the height of the civil rights era.

Reasons for Optimism

The Council appreciates the Bank’s commitment to contributing to solutions for narrowing the Black-White homeownership gap, and the related wealth gap. We look forward to hearing more about how this commitment will be activated in the coming months.

It is also welcome news that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is taking steps to reinstate two critically important fair housing regulations that have long been aimed to addressing systematic racism in housing -- Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) and the Disparate Impact rule. Both rules provide an added layer of responsibility for HUD grantees to grapple with systemic racial discrimination and work towards more equitable housing programs, or else risk losing federal funding.

The Biden administration’s appointment of Marcia Fudge to lead HUD is a clear signal that preventing foreclosures and closing the homeownership gap are priorities. President Biden has shown strong support for a variety of proposals to advance equity in housing, including first-time homebuyer tax credits, expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and Housing Trust Fund and better enforcement of fair housing laws. He campaigned on expanding the reach of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and closing loopholes that allow for less lending in underserved communities.

More immediately, the federal eviction moratorium that was part of the first coronavirus relief bill has been extended through the end of 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which cited the risk of spreading COVID-19 if people are kicked out on the street. This is an important acknowledgement of what we at the Council have long known to be true, that housing is healthcare.

Issues in Focus at the State Level

In Arizona, advocates are looking to add an additional $25 million allocation to the State's Housing Trust Fund in 2021. A $19 million allocation made in 2019 was partially redirected to fund eviction prevention and assistance for landlords during the pandemic. Work is still underway to pass legislation creating a State LIHTC Program, with a bill introduced at the end of January 2021.

California's 2020-2021 budget includes $750 million for Project Homekey, which will convert hotels into housing for the homeless and direct $600 million to assist low-income taxpayers with rent and other expenses. It maintains the $500 million annual expansion of the state's LIHTC program that was introduced last year. The budget also provides funding for a Housing Accountability Unit, established within the state's Department of Housing and Community Development, to provide technical assistance and enforce housing laws that set benchmarks for housing production.

A shortened California legislative schedule contributed to few new housing bills being passed in 2020, except for a last-minute bill to prevent evictions and SB1079, which helps prevent private equity firms from buying foreclosures. Bills to be considered in 2021 include AB1199, intended to curb corporate investment in single family homes, SB5, which puts a housing bond measure on the ballot in 2022, SB9, which allows lot splits on single family parcels, and SB6, which allows residential development on commercially zoned properties.

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto introduced two bills at the national level that would reauthorize affordable housing programs and help fight housing discrimination. The Senator also worked to ensure that the Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation retained $18 million to help families with mortgage delinquencies or downpayments. In a special session called because of the pandemic, the Nevada state legislature passed SB1, which creates alternative pathways for dispute resolution designed to protect tenants from eviction.

Across the Bank’s district, development and labor costs that have been rising in recent years were further exacerbated by the pandemic. Construction delays have been common, driven by pandemic-related staffing and site maintenance issues, along with material shortages and lengthened timelines for utility installations and permit approvals. Modular construction continues to promise cost savings through simultaneous sitework and building construction. Analysts also note that streamlined zoning and permitting along with more flexible sources of funding are needed to decrease construction timelines and reduce costs.

Just as we were a year ago, we continue to be challenged to find new ways to solve old problems, to mitigate the devastating social and economic consequences of the pandemic for the same people we work together to serve in the best of times: lower-income families and individuals struggling to find a safe and stable place to call home, a shelter for the night, or the means to buy a home of their own, along with people, populations, and whole communities that lack equitable economic opportunity.   

The Bank’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council is pleased to present this annual report, which describes how the Bank’s Community Programs and related activities responded to unexpected, urgent needs for pandemic relief and recovery in 2020 while continuing to be a vital resource for expanding access to affordable housing, homeownership, and economic opportunities.

2020 AHP: Targeted Solutions for Old and New Priorities

For the 2020 AHP funding competition, the Bank made changes to its AHP Implementation Plan in anticipation of a decrease in total funding available for the AHP. The Bank reduced the maximum subsidy a project may request from $1.5 million to $1.25 million and, to better address persistent affordable housing challenges throughout the Bank’s three-state district of Arizona, California, and Nevada, the Bank increased the total points available for In-District Projects from three to five points. More details about the most recent Implementation Plan revisions are available at fhlbsf.com.

In 2020, FHLBank San Francisco awarded $37.7million in AHP grants to 50 projects that will construct or rehabilitate 3,514 units of housing affordable for lower-income families and individuals in the Bank’s three-state district of Arizona, California, and Nevada. Twenty FHLBank San Francisco member financial institutions, working in partnership with community-based housing developers, submitted successful applications in the funding competition, with grants ranging from $190,000 to $1.25 million. Grants were awarded to members with total assets ranging from under $500 million to those with assets over $25 billion.

The AHP is a flexible source of gap funding for projects that are designed to serve very low -, low-, and moderate-income families and individuals, many with special needs. All the 2020 grant winners will supply some specific mix of valuable social services to support residents, ranging from financial literacy education and job coaching and placement assistance to onsite afterschool care and medical and behavioral health services.

Thanks to the combined efforts of the Bank’s member financial institutions and their affordable housing partners, AHP grants awarded over the past 30 years have helped increase the supply of affordable housing in the urban, suburban, and rural areas served by the Bank’s membership. The program plays a critical role in supplying resources that strengthen communities and change lives for the better.

Projects supported by this year’s AHP funding will meet the diverse needs of diverse communities, families, and individuals, including:

  • Lower income working families struggling to keep housing near centers of employment
  • Low-income seniors who want to age-in-place in the big cities or small towns where they feel at home
  • Vulnerable unhoused women with children in need of safe transitional housing
  • Youth in need of both shelter and supportive services to help them transition to self-sufficiency
  • Chronically unhoused veterans and veterans with other special needs, and their families
  • Individuals on the path to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction

The 50 AHP grant winners in 2020 included one member that had not previously been awarded an AHP grant.

AHP Modernization: Full Implementation of the Final Rule

January 1, 2021 was the deadline for implementation of the final rule amending the AHP regulation, except for certain provisions related to changes to owner-occupied retention policies and procedures that had to be implemented by January 1, 2020.

The Bank implemented several provisions of the final rule in time for the 2020 AHP competition and the WISH and IDEA homeownership set-aside programs cycle. For WISH and IDEA, the maximum subsidy amount per household was increased and owner-occupied retention requirements were revised. For the competitive AHP, named the AHP General Fund as of January 1, 2021, the Bank adopted monitoring requirements related to tenant income documentation for LIHTC projects and project sponsor notification of LIHTC project noncompliance. The Bank also revised its direct subsidy agreements and retention agreement templates for homeownership and rental projects to incorporate these changes.

2020 Competitive Affordable Housing Program Results

2020 Competitive Affordable Housing Program Results

  2020 2020 2020 1990-2020     
(Dollars in millions, except subsidy per unit) Rental Ownership Total  
Applications Received        
    Number of Applications 157 13 170 6,545
    Subsidy Requested $118.4 $3.0 $121.4 $3,041.8
Approved Applications        
     Number of Applications 50 0 50 2,427
     Subsidy Awarded $37.7 $0.0 $37.7 $1,068.2
     Number of Affordable Units 3,514 0 3,515 134,870
Effectiveness        
     Average Subsidy per Unit $10,720 n/a $10,720 $7,920

These results reflect adjustments, cancellations, and modifications to projects as of December 31, 2020.

Projects awarded funding in the 2020 funding competition feature a wide variety of unique characteristics, for example:

7th and Campbell (Oakland, CA): Transforming a vacant lot into 79 affordable apartment homes near the West Oakland BART regional transit station, this project's onsite commercial spaces will serve as a small business incubator center for local low-income entrepreneurs, including the formerly incarcerated. The potential mix of businesses include a fitness center, healthcare clinic, health-food cafe, community market, urban farm, and a technology training and support hub for gig economy workers and those left behind by the digital divide.

Lightfighter Village (Marina, CA): Replacing blighted and substandard units on the former Fort Ord military base, this project will create a community with 71 new units of permanent supportive veteran’s housing that prioritizes homes for homeless veterans.

681 Florida Street (San Francisco, CA): Located in the City’s Mission District, a Priority Development Area, this project will include 9,250 square feet of designated production, distribution, and repair (PDR) space focused on community arts and aimed at keeping the artistic and cultural identity of the neighborhood. There will be separate entrances: a private entrance to the housing lobby for residents, and an atrium-like portal supplying entrance to the arts/PDR space.

Decatur and Alta Apartments (Las Vegas, NV): This 60-unit senior housing project is part of a larger 480-unit affordable rental housing development featuring 240 senior and 240 family units on 20-acre site. With a park, grocery store, pharmacy, and healthcare facility all within walking distance, car won’t be needed engage with the larger community.

Anaheim and Walnut (Long Beach, CA): On a site that’s been vacant for over 10 years, this 88-unit development will include a New Market Tax Credit-financed and separately owned 18,000 square foot health and wellness center serving both residents and nearby community members.

Casa Paloma (Midway City, CA): This is a modular construction project will create permanent supportive housing for low-income families. A robust community-involved design process means that residents of the surrounding neighborhood will also benefit from Casa Paloma amenities, including a community garden.

AHP Modernization: Full Implementation of the Final Rule

January 1, 2021 was the deadline for implementation of the final rule amending the AHP regulation, except for certain provisions related to changes to owner-occupied retention policies and procedures that had to be implemented by January 1, 2020.

The Bank implemented several provisions of the final rule in time for the 2020 AHP competition and the WISH and IDEA homeownership set-aside programs cycle. For WISH and IDEA, the maximum subsidy amount per household was increased and owner-occupied retention requirements were revised. For the competitive AHP, named the AHP General Fund as of January 1, 2021, the Bank adopted monitoring requirements related to tenant income documentation for LIHTC projects and project sponsor notification of LIHTC project noncompliance. The Bank also revised its direct subsidy agreements and retention agreement templates for homeownership and rental projects to incorporate these changes.

Targeted Community Lending Plan

Per the amended regulation, the Bank conducts market research annually to identify housing and economic development needs, community lending credit needs, and market opportunities across the Bank’s district of Arizona, California, and Nevada. The Bank consults the Advisory Council, Bank members, housing associates, and economic development organizations in the district to conduct this research and develop and implement a Targeted Community Lending Plan (TCLP) that includes performance goals for the Bank.

During 2020, a year of unprecedented crisis and uncertainty, the primary themes uncovered were the unrelenting demand for affordable housing, racial disparity in housing and economic development, and the expected effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially on the most vulnerable populations across the Bank’s district, and beyond. Nonetheless, the Bank met or exceeded the goals set in its 2020 Targeted Community Lending Plan.

  1. The number of unique members using the Bank’s Community Investment (CIP) and Advances for Community Enterprise (ACE) Advances or Letters of Credit or receiving AHEAD Program grants totaled 84.
  2. The number of unique members participating in the Bank’s community programs workshops or receiving individual technical assistance sessions was 83.
  3. Bank staff actively participated in 76 live or virtual affordable housing and community development industry conferences, meetings workshops and other events.

The Bank’s 2021 Targeted Community Lending Plan identifies needs and potential opportunities for addressing them in the following areas: 

  1. The Bank’s district survey identified family, rental, homeless, and permanent housing as priorities.
  2. The district’s needs are similar to or greater than those of the U.S. overall, especially in the areas of income inequality and homelessness.
  3. The Bank’s district has the greatest shortage of affordable housing for extremely low-income households in the U.S.
  4. There is significant racial and gender disparity in income, housing cost burden, homelessness, homeownership, small business ownership, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  5. Supportive services are an essential part of housing and economic needs both nationally and in the district.
  6. Grant funding for small businesses is a critical economic development need across the district.

WISH & IDEA: Helping First-Time Homebuyers Build Wealth

Homeownership continues to be a big part of the American dream. For low- to moderate-income individuals and families, the journey to becoming a homebuyer takes an extraordinary amount of hard work, thrift, and determination. The downpayment assistance our programs offer can help aspiring homeowners overcome one of the biggest barriers to achieving their dream and begin to build intergenerational wealth.

In 2020, the Bank earmarked $9.5 million to fund WISH and IDEA matching grants for low- and moderate-income individuals and families aspiring to homeownership. With this funding, 41 unique members, including 8 members participating for the first time, are helping homebuyers in Arizona, California, Nevada, and other states where Bank members do business and put down roots in their communities.

With the 2020 homeownership program cycle beginning just after the COVID-19 crisis was declared a pandemic and widespread shelter-in-place orders went into effect, the normally busy spring homebuying season was noticeably subdued. Like other industries, the real estate and mortgage sectors adapted to doing business virtually as needed. By the time summer arrived and some restrictions lifted, participating members reported that pent up demand drove an active summer and fall homebuying period during which lower-income buyers were able to take advantage of the Bank’s downpayment assistance programs.

Both WISH and IDEA programs offer eligible low- to moderate-income households 4-to-1 matching grants of up to $22,000 that can be applied to downpayment and closing costs for the purchase of a home. WISH grants are targeted to working families and individuals who are ready to make the transition from renting to owning, and the grants can be paired with local, state, and federal mortgage loan programs, such as Fannie Mae HomeReady and Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages. IDEA grants help homebuyers who have been saving for the purchase of their first home through an Individual Development Account, participating in their local housing authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency homeownership program, or completing a lease-to-own program administered by a nonprofit or government entity.

In the 20 years since the first homebuyer received a matching grant through these homeownership programs, the Bank has funded nearly $117 million in WISH and IDEA matching grants, helping more than 8,300 households realize their dream of owning a home of their own. Meet some of the families who have achieved their dream of homeownership with a boost from the WISH and IDEA programs, including the Fulton family of Oxnard, California and the Kabayiza family of Tucson, Arizona.

Credit for Economic Development, Affordable Housing, Homeownership, and Stability

The Bank’s Community Investment Cash Advance (CICA) programs offer Bank members a lower-cost source of funds they can lend for affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization, and economic development activities that benefit low- to moderate-income communities. 

In 2020, members took advantage of these lower cost funds to respond to the pandemic, boost local economies, create new affordable housing, and facilitate homeownership for lower-income households, using:

  • $240.7 million in Advances for Community Enterprise (ACE) Program funds to support community lending and economic development activities, including small business loans and SBA Paycheck Protection Program funds. The funding is expected to create or retain over 11,000 jobs. Eight members used the program in 2020.
  • $648.6 million in Community Investment Program (CIP) advances. The 24 CIP advances will be used by eight different members to fund mortgages for households earning up to 115% of the median income for the area in which they live, to finance first-time homebuyer programs, to create and maintain affordable housing, or to support other eligible lending activities related to housing for low- and moderate-income families, totaling over 2,500 housing units.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Bank also offered members a special zero percent interest Recovery Advance credit product with terms of six-months or one-year that could be used provide immediate relief to property owners, businesses, and other customers struggling with the financial impacts of the pandemic, among other uses. 185 members transacted the product for a total of $1.75 billion in funding.

The Bank continues to allow exceptions to normal per member limits on the discounted advance programs – Community Investment Program (CIP) and Advances for Community Enterprise (ACE) – to support pandemic and disaster relief and recovery efforts throughout the Bank’s three-state district.

AHEAD: Grants for Economic Development and Pandemic Relief and Recovery

In response to the COVID-19 crisis and its economic shocks, the Bank’s board of directors added $2 million to its planned $1.5 million allocation for the 2020 AHEAD Program. The additional funding enabled the Bank’s members to support targeted pandemic-related initiatives and help local nonprofits struggling to adapt to increased costs, loss of staff, and postponed fundraising campaigns tied to the pandemic.

Through the 2020 AHEAD Program, the Bank awarded $3.5 million in grants to 97 nonprofits. The grants, delivered by the Bank’s member financial institutions to nonprofits in Arizona, California, and Nevada, are aimed at providing both immediate and long-term pandemic relief and boosting economic development in lower-income communities.

$1.6 million in grants were awarded to 45 projects that will boost economic development activity and create greater opportunity in underserved and low-income communities. An additional $1.9 million in funding went to 52 nonprofits providing immediate and long-term pandemic relief, including food, rental assistance, homeless services, health services, and other support services to individuals, families, and communities most affected by the pandemic. These grants helped meet urgent essential needs and will also support the longer journey to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Distribution of 2020 AHEAD Grants

AHEAD grant distribution pie chart

Pandemic Relief initiatives included supplying cash, clothing, food, and rental assistance to families and individuals, paying for hotels to shelter vulnerable unhoused people, purchasing PPE and paying for cleaning, supporting or replacing nonprofit fundraising for nonprofits, filling gaps in operating support, and technology upgrades. In addition, many of the non-pandemic relief projects had a pandemic response component, such as social service assistance and technology upgrades.

The Bank reviewed 362 applications submitted in 2020 before selecting 97 AHEAD grant winners. Sixty-five participating Bank members, including twenty that sponsored winning applications for the first time, delivered grants ranging from $20,000 to $37,500 to 97 nonprofits in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Among the recipients are:

African American Community Service Agency: Member Meriwest Credit Union delivered a $37,500 grant to support the agency’s operations and ability to provide needs-based services to ethnically diverse low-income children, families, and seniors in San Jose and greater Santa Clara County.

Chicanos Por La Causa: Member Western Alliance Bank delivered a $37,500 grant to support expansion of CPLC’s YouthBuild program and targeted outreach for the program to individuals receiving services at a Las Vegas homeless resource center.

Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission: Member City National Bank delivered a $37,500 grant to buy a refrigerated truck that will enable the organization to increase essential food deliveries to multiple homeless shelters the Mission operates, which needed to rapidly increase capacity to meet new demand for shelter beds as a result of the pandemic.

Mission Economic Development Agency: Member First Republic Bank delivered a $37,500 grant to support a pilot program aimed at helping Latinx and immigrant entrepreneurs shift to an online business model appropriate for the pandemic.

Placer Food Bank: Central Valley Community Bank delivered a $37,500 grant to purchase a cold storage unit needed to increase capacity at their distribution hub to meet growing demand for hunger relief because of the pandemic.

White Mountain Apache Housing Authority: Clearinghouse CDFI delivered a $37,500 grant to support veterans living on the reservation by providing regular transportation to medical appointments and to VA offices where they can apply for benefits.

Since 2004, the Bank has awarded over $18 million in AHEAD Program grants to support over 600 nonprofit projects and programs in Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Supporting Localized Disaster and Pandemic Relief and Recovery Efforts

Beginning in 2017, the Bank took several steps to provide immediate relief to communities affected by disasters and support rebuilding efforts, including direct donations, matching donations for members, and raising the per-member limits for CIP and ACE discounted advances used to fund recovery and rebuilding efforts in affected areas.

In 2020, the Bank disbursed $106,000 in matching contributions on behalf of ten members to 14 nonprofit organizations serving communities affected by natural disasters in the district. With Bank members contributing $113,000, disaster relief efforts received $219,000 in total contributions.

In response to the unprecedented COVID-19 public health emergency and its devastating economic impact, beginning in May 2020, the Bank made a total of $1.5 million available to match donations members made to directly support nonprofits or small businesses struggling to survive during a difficult and uncertain time.

Members enthusiastically made the most of the Bank’s flexible and easy-to-access matching funds to amplify their own support of local nonprofits and small businesses. As of December 31, 2020, a total of 92 FHLBank San Francisco members contributed $1.36M to nonprofits and small businesses, and the Bank contributed over $738,000 to match 246 donations.

Many of the nonprofits Bank members selected for matching donations are day-to-day lifelines for people in their communities who are food and housing insecure in normal times and became even more essential as the pandemic put extreme pressure on lower income families and individuals.

Financial support during this time was critical to their ability to keep their doors open and continue to provide food, shelter, PPE, rental and other financial assistance, and more, to those in need during the pandemic.

Supporting Community Program Users

In 2020, Community Investment team members conducted all informational work sessions virtually except for a series of WISH and IDEA workshops that took place before the pandemic was declared. The Bank held:

  • Five webinars on the AHP competitive application process 
  • Eight AHP compliance webinars 
  • Three WISH & IDEA in-person workshops—in Arizona, California, and Nevada —plus three webinars 
  • Two AHEAD webinars on the application, disbursement, and monitoring processes 

Reaching Out to Engage with Diverse Stakeholders

Effective outreach is part of what helps the Bank further its mission and achieve its Targeted Community Lending Plan goals. The Bank establishes and nurtures relationships with policymakers and public officials, government agencies, affordable housing advocates and experts, and a variety of community and economic development organizations. 

In 2020, the Bank quickly pivoted to virtual engagement with stakeholders and partners. A highlight of the event calendar was the inaugural Nevada Housing Summit at which the Bank was a headline sponsor:

The Nevada Housing Summit was held in October 2020 and hosted by the Nevada Housing Coalition (NHC), a statewide affordable housing advocacy organization that is a women-led organization operating in an underserved market. The Bank was instrumental in NHC’s early development, awarding NHC a $35,000 AHEAD grant through member Charles Schwab Bank in 2019. The grant was a key piece of early funding that led to the hiring of the organization’s first employee, Executive Director Christine Hess. The Bank helped drive new NHC membership through two Lunch & Learn events in Nevada in 2019 and continued to help NHC build capacity with a $37,500 AHEAD grant in 2020, again through Charles Schwab.

NHC started 2020 with an ambitious plan to host a statewide affordable housing conference in the spring, which was postponed due to the pandemic. The Bank stayed in communication with NHC as it developed the conference into October’s online event, titled “2020 Nevada Housing Summit, a Virtual Convening.” Over 250 people from 140 organizations registered to attend, and attendees rated the event 4.8 out of 5.

In addition to providing financial support and planning assistance, the Bank participated in the event presentations. Steve Traynor, Acting President and CEO, spoke at the Opening Plenary session and Kevin Blackburn, Managing Director, Public Affairs, gave introductory remarks for a prerecorded closing message from Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. Eric Cicourel, Director of Affordable Housing, participated in a panel discussion to highlight the Bank’s Affordable Housing Program and Irise Tam Bailey, Community Lending Director, participated in a panel about homeownership opportunities and highlighted the Bank’s first-time homebuyer matching grant programs.

The homeownership panel included a presentation by a regional representative from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers on the 2020 State of Housing in Black America, which explained both barriers and potential solutions to increasing rates of Black homeownership over the next five years.

Other affordable housing and community development events and organizations the Bank sponsored in 2020 included:

  1. A Community of Friends
  2. Abode Communities
  3. Arizona Housing Coalition
  4. California Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (CAL-ALHFA)
  5. California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH)
  6. California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC)
  7. Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc (CPLC)
  8. Chinatown Community Development Corporation
  9. Community HousingWorks
  10. East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC)
  11. Greenlining Institute
  12. Housing California
  13. Little Tokyo Service Center
  14. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Phoenix
  15. Navajo Nation
  16. Nevada Housing Coalition
  17. Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH)
  18. Opportunity Alliance Nevada
  19. Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
  20. San Diego Housing Federation
  21. Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority
  22. Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC)
  23. West Angeles Community Development Corporation

In Closing

On behalf of the Advisory Council and Vice Chair Carol Ornelas of Visionary Homebuilders, I would like to thank the Bank’s Board of Directors, Bank management – with a special shout out to Steve Traynor for his long-time, steadfast support for the Council – and team members, and the Bank’s member financial institutions and their community partners for their dedication to finding and delivering meaningful solutions to existing and emerging affordable housing and economic development challenges.

We are delighted to welcome the Bank’s new President and CEO Teresa Bryce Bazemore to our table along with new board member Lori Gay, whom many of us know from her long tenure with Neighborhood Housing Services in Los Angeles.

And last but certainly not least, following an extensive search process to identify nominees for an open seat on our Council, we are very pleased that it has been filled by Tyrone Roderick Williams, an industry leader who is the deputy executive director leading development on behalf of the City and County of Sacramento at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

I am pleased to report that in 2021 the Bank is making available $38.4 million in funding for the competitive application AHP General Fund and $11 million for the WISH and IDEA programs. On the long road to a real and inclusive recovery from the pandemic and its myriad economic aftershocks, these resources will be more valuable than ever.

Respectfully submitted,

Steve Hastings
Chair
Affordable Housing Advisory Council