Housing is a Human Right
We believe that safe, clean, and comfortable housing is a human right. There is a growing affordable housing crisis in each of the regions in which we at Beneficial State live and work, and we feel that we, as a bank, have the ability and responsibility to help find and fund solutions for housing affordability and preserve this right for everyone.
Through partners and clients, we are providing loans to help build and retain places for individuals and families to live and stay in the communities they love. We also seek new and innovative solutions to secure permanent affordability and ownership opportunities for people of all income levels.
We track the number of loan dollars to units built and retained at the HUD affordability levels for each region. We also provide and track loans to support moderate and market rate multi-family housing. Together the creation and retention of these types of housing in our communities help to both support increasing demand overall, and also ensure that affordable units are being created and retained now, rather than waiting for supply to “naturally” ease prices. Finally, we seek to help tenants avoid eviction by supporting non-profit housing organizations in our communities.
As of December 2017, Beneficial State Bank had outstanding commitments of approximately $84 million in mission-aligned affordable housing loans, helping to support 6600 units of affordable housing in partnership with other lenders.
The Context: Housing Crises
The San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Fresno, Portland, and Seattle are each experiencing an affordability crisis. As rents and home prices soar, longtime residents struggle to stay in their homes. The Portland City Council officially declared a housing emergency in October 2015 and Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray declared that Seattle is “facing [it’s] worst housing affordability crisis in decades.”
San Francisco Bay Area
The bulk of our loans over the past three years have been in the San Francisco Bay Area. The following data help to paint a picture of the situations in Oakland and San Francisco.The City of Oakland has created a special cabinet on housing affordability, and according to A Roadmap Toward Equity: Housing Solutions for Oakland, California, a study that sampled 15 Oakland neighborhoods found that the “majority of current Oakland residents could not afford to rent or purchase homes at the current prices in their neighborhoods.” Over the period of 2007-2013, Oakland issued 10,932 fewer housing permits than it needed to keep up with demand, an average of 1560 fewer units per year than needed.
In San Francisco, the story is similar. According to San Francisco Business Times (Jul 8, 2015), in reference to the City of San Francisco Planning Department’s Housing Balance report, “While the city has built 6,559 new deed-restricted, affordable housing units for low-income people since 2005, it has lost 5,470 rent-controlled, affordable units over the same span.” That’s an average net of 108 new affordable units each year in the city.
The Lives Impacted
Against the incredible tide of short-term housing run-ups, our clients do the hard work of building, maintaining and managing affordable units for individuals and families in our communities, and their impact is significant. They serve all types of people, from young families, to seniors to individuals dealing with substance abuse.
One of our nonprofit loan clients doing this work in the Bay Area is Options Recovery Services. Tom Gorham, pictured here, is Executive Director. Based in Berkeley, CA, the mission of Options Recovery Services is to break the cycle of addiction which causes homelessness, crime and broken families. In addition to providing treatment services, Options Recovery Services provides affordable housing units to people in recovery.
Definitions and Methodology
The Beneficial State metrics on this page describe affordable units developed, in development, or retained with the help of loan commitments through December 2017, often in conjunction with other lenders. We determine affordability in compliance with HUD income limits, and include 1) deed restricted units (section 8 or otherwise designated), 2) units by nonprofit affordable housing developers, 3) those explicitly dedicated to affordability in the loan documentation, and 4) affordable units provided by multifamily housing property owners with a history of maintaining affordable well-maintained units, accepting Section 8 vouchers, and exhibiting good tenant relations.
In addition to housing that meets this strict and prioritized definition of affordable housing, our lending also supports workforce housing — housing at rates affordable to households making 80-120% (depending on the market) of Area Median Income (AMI) in our markets.