State of New York Mortgage Finance Agency and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority Selected as Winners of 2018 Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award

For more information, contact: Trish Riggs, 202-624-7086; trisha.riggs@uli.org

BOSTON (October 9, 2018) – The State of New York Mortgage Finance Agency and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority have been selected by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Terwilliger Center for Housing as the joint winners of the 2018 Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award, which is an annual recognition of the innovative ways the public sector is addressing the country’s affordable housing crisis.

The winners, selected by a jury of nationally renowned housing industry leaders, were announced today during ULI’s 2018 Fall Meeting in Boston. Terwilliger Center Founder and former ULI Chairman J. Ronald Terwilliger served as the jury chairman. “Now more than ever, state and local governments need to lead on ensuring an adequate supply of affordable housing options for their residents,” Terwilliger said. “The wide-ranging efforts by New York State and the City of Los Angeles are bringing significant local resources to bear and raising the bar for other cities to meet.”

The State of New York Mortgage Finance Agency was selected for its unique approach to assist homeowners at risk of losing their homes. Using a new tool called the Community Restoration Fund (CRF), the agency purchases mortgages on properties believed to be occupied and assists the homeowners by connecting them with nonprofit advocates, who in turn assist them with restructuring their debt. In the event that the homeowner cannot pay the restructured debt, the agency provides transitional support to the families and attempts to resell the property as affordable housing. To date, the agency has purchased 570 mortgages in an effort to assist homeowners and stop property abandonment, while leveraging more than $112 million in private funds to help in the effort.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) was recognized for creating an innovative way to ensure that those who use public transportation as their primary means of transportation can afford to live near it. In order to assist in this effort, the agency created the Metro Affordable Transit Connected Housing Program (or MATCH), a public-private lending partnership that seeks to preserve affordable housing near new and existing nodes of transportation. Metro also utilizes a Joint Development Agreement, which takes advantage of Metro’s ground lease policy. This policy requires that 35 percent of all housing built on Metro-owned land must be affordable to households earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income. This program has helped create more than 700 affordable housing units, with nearly 1,000 additional units planned.

“Each of these projects and policies demonstrates the commitment and leadership that is necessary to make affordable workforce housing accessible to those who so desperately need it,” Terwilliger said. “They are an inspiration that I hope will lead to more solutions for more of our communities.”

The Larson Award winners were selected from a group of finalists including the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and the New York City Housing Development Corporation. The award recognizes exemplary state and local programs, policies, and practices that support the production, rehabilitation, or preservation of workforce and affordable housing. It was created in 2011 to honor the legacy of the late Robert C. Larson, a former Terwilliger Center advisory board member, former ULI Foundation chairman and a longtime ULI trustee. The Larson Award is part of the ULI Terwilliger Center’s housing awards program, which honors developments and programs that provide affordable, well-designed, and accessible housing choices for people with a mix of incomes, including families earning up to 120 percent of the area median income.

The program recognizes states and localities that undertake a broad range of policy and administrative initiatives to support housing affordability. This can take the form of regulatory or administrative changes such as allowing higher densities and waiving fees, or programs that provide grants or financing assistance. Policy programs are judged on several factors, including impact on the supply of workforce housing, comprehensiveness of the tools and programs employed, involvement of public/private partnerships, and the ability to leverage private and nonprofit funds, among other criteria.

In addition to Terwilliger, members of the 2018 Larson Award jury were: George Casey, president and chief executive officer, Stockbridge Associates, Alan George, executive vice president and chief investment officer, Equity Residential, Nina Janopaul, president and chief executive officer, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, Gadi Kaufmann, managing director and chief executive officer, RCLCO, Dara Kovel, president of development, Beacon Communities, Linda Mandolini, president, Eden Housing, Michael Pitchford, president and chief executive officer, Community Preservation and Development Corporation, and Margaret Wylde, chief executive officer, Pro Matura Group.

NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: Courtesy images of the Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award winner and finalists are provided by ULI upon request for use by members of the press. For more details on the award and previous winners, visit the Larson Award webpage.

About the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing

The ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing conducts research, performs analysis, provides expert advice, and develops best practice recommendations that reflect the residential land use and development priorities of ULI members in all residential product types, with special attention to workforce and affordable housing. The center was established in 2007 with a gift from longtime ULI member and former ULI chairman J. Ronald Terwilliger.

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