CASA is a year-and-a-half long convening of diverse, multi-disciplinary Bay Area leaders to create a regional housing implementation plan that commenced in June 2017 and will wrap up in October 2018. Led by representatives from local and regional government, business, the social equity community, labor, private and affordable housing development, philanthropy, and finance, CASA is one-third of the way toward developing the plan, which aims to dramatically change the housing production paradigm and enable the Bay Area to meet its housing needs and protect its most vulnerable residents.
As the CASA facilitator, I have had the opportunity to work closely with the Co-Chairs and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) leadership to guide the process for both its Steering Committee and Technical Committee. By December, the group had held five Technical Committee meetings and one Steering Committee meeting, and had completed a significant portion of its preliminary work. You can download the meeting agendas to learn more about the group’s work, but here’s a quick recap of where we have been and a forecast on where we are going:
- June: 50 members of the Steering and Technical Committees shared the impacts of the housing crisis, key obstacles faced by their organizations and constituents, and actions they were taking in response to the lack of affordability and availability of housing.
- July: Key themes from the June meeting and a literature review on the Bay Area crisis and relevant statewide, national, and international thought leadership were shared. A work plan strategy map was presented.
- September: The three Co-Chairs presented preliminary ideas corresponding to our Actions Strategy focusing on housing production, the preservation of affordable housing stock, and the protection of vulnerable residents and communities. We also debuted our governance frameworks and action ideas templates, and received an overview of MTC’s funding sources (new vocabulary for housing and social equity folks!). Using our Gradients of Agreement decision-making system, we scored the protection and production action ideas.
- October: We scored the last of the three prongs of our work – the preservation ideas, and we reviewed the scoring from the September meeting to determine where we had general agreement and/or lack of consensus. We also had detailed presentations on distinguishing between gentrification and displacement, understanding the underlying pressures and strategies to strengthen the resilience of communities, and understanding the financial realities of building housing.
- December: We held our first workshop to begin building the key elements of our regional housing framework, and to gather feedback on our community engagement strategy. Detailed presentations identified the amount of publicly owned land that could be available for transit-proximate housing development, and we received an update on MTC’s work on its housing actions from its Plan Bay Area 2040.
2018 will bring continued focus on articulating our framework to ensure that the plan is equitable, inclusive, and impactful, and that it puts the Bay Area on a trajectory to meet the needs of its current and future residents. Please follow our progress as we build out and vet our action ideas through our Technical and Steering Committees, community meetings, and CASA members’ networks. If you are interested in adapting and building upon this process for your region or local community, please reach out to Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With more than 30 years of experience in the real estate development and investment banking industries, Jennifer LeSar brings a diverse background to her work in community development and urban revitalization. Her technical expertise spans from policy and program development to the origination and underwriting of complex investments in equity funds, multi-family portfolios, and historic and low-income tax credit properties utilizing federal and state financing programs.
For more information about innovative approaches to address our housing crisis, contact Jennifer LeSar, President and CEO, at Jennifer@lesardevelopment.com.