Terner Center Blog: No Limits

Author Archives: Carol Galante

Highlights from the James R. Boyce Affordable Housing Competition Studio Symposium

Posted on by Carol Galante

As the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness remains at troubling heights, particularly in high-cost regions, planners, architects, and developers are working to confront the crisis with innovative design, financing, and construction methods.

Through the James R. Boyce Affordable Housing Studio course—generously funded by a gift from CED alumni James R. Boyce (M. Arch. ‘67) and co-taught by David Baker and Daniel Simons of David Baker Architects—Carol Galante, Faculty Director of the Terner Center and the I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor of Affordable Housing and Urban Policy in the College of Environmental Design, connects students from a variety of backgrounds to the leading ideas in the field. In teams of architects, planners, and other real estate professionals, the students completed a collaborative final: the development, financing, and design of a comprehensive affordable housing project, with some component focused on homelessness.

On May 2nd, 2018, the instructors hosted a symposium to mark the end of the course, offering students the opportunity to present their final projects and receive feedback from a panel of judges made up of experts in the field. The symposium also featured a panel discussion We Can Do This: Solving the Crisis of Homelessness, moderated by Professor Galante and offering ways that affordable housing professionals can help alleviate the crisis.

We Can Do This: Solving the Crisis of Homelessness

The day began with presentations and a panel discussion with California-based practitioners working to combat the affordable housing and homelessness crisis. In her opening remarks, Professor Galante described the urgent need for high-impact solutions: “After I named this panel ‘We Can Do This,’ one of my fellow panelists called me up and said ‘That seems audacious.’ So, I’ll start by saying, I named it this because we have to do this.”

That sentiment was echoed in the presentations of the practitioners, many of whose work was used as precedent-setting case studies for the students in the course. Angela Brooks, FAIA, Managing Principal at Brooks + SCARPA in Los Angeles, showed examples of her firm’s permanent supportive articulated how integral good design, driven by residents themselves, is to changing lives and breaking stereotypes. Brad Wiblin, Senior Vice President at BRIDGE Housing, spoke about the role of developers to rapidly expand the supply of affordable housing built while also utilizing partnerships with other organizations to provide high quality property management services and ensure long-term support for tenants. David Baker, FAIA, Principal at David Baker Architects and a co-instructor of the CED studio course, discussed how modular construction can streamline and speed production. Finally, Tomiquia Moss, Chief Executive Director of Hamilton Families, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that works to end family homelessness, contextualized the conversation with the direct services, funding strategies and systemic changes that her organization emphasizes to rapidly rehouse and prevent homelessness in the first place.

A video of the panel discussion is available here.

Student Presentations

After a networking lunch, the student groups had the chance to present their proposals for affordable housing developments sited on two potential infill lots, one in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood and the other in Downtown Oakland.

South of Market San Francisco Developments

600 Jessie

by Ali Mills, Malen Leon Farrera, Miao Li, James Perez, and Kristin DeMarco

600 Jessie is a mixed-use project that seeks to provide 260 units and supportive services for low-income adults, including artists, and transitional aged youth, as well as space for market rate retail and office space for organizations focused on connection with the surrounding Filipino community.

Gateway on Mission

by Sean Doocy, Paige Dow, Kevin Gao, and Michael Marks

Gateway on Mission will house a diverse mix of populations, leveraging partnerships with existing nonprofits to provide services to residents and utilizing modular construction to speed up the development timeline.

Keystone Commons

by Cynthia Armour, Julie Mendel, Weinan Huang, and Yang Liu

Keystone Commons will provide a total 263 affordable housing units, with units dedicated to veterans and transitional-aged youth.

Downtown Oakland Developments

The Ebell

by Matt Fairiss, Fang Fang, Fiona Ruddy, and Matt Turlock

Inspired by the values of the Ebell Women’s Club, the Ebell is a supportive housing development for 79 pregnant women and families with children under five experiencing homelessness.

Lakeside Collective

by Brian Goggin, Can Ge, James Conlon, and Xiaoyu Ma

Seeking to comfortably house greater numbers of people than traditional affordable housing projects, Lakeside Collective is a 380-unit, 560-bed housing development with a mix of small studios and dorm-style units.

The Beacon

by Shiyuan Chen, Erin Lapeyrolerie, Mercedes Harris, Megan Stenftenagel, and Christiana Whitcomb

The Beacon is a mixed-use development with 240 units of 100% affordable housing—some for formerly incarcerated individuals, some rental units for families, and some for-sale, income-restricted condominiums as well as spaces for resident services and commercial spaces.

The two winning projects:
Keystone Commons

the Ebell

Congratulations to these two groups and to all the students who participated in the course! The studio represents a unique opportunity for students across departments to marshal their different skill sets in order to find better ways of designing and building affordable housing. The results of the competition showcase the innovation made possible by cross-collaboration.


Why We Need a New Conversation on Rent Control in California, Today.

Posted on by Carol Galante

Leaders seeking to address California’s housing crisis are facing an important challenge: how to take meaningful and significant policy action to “stop the bleeding” of rising costs, eviction and displacement without generating new challenges that will only prolong the state’s deep affordability challenges. Today’s debate over rent control, and particularly, the movement to repeal Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (which places statewide limits on how jurisdictions implement rent control), has pushed this challenge to the fore. One side of the debate is working to qualify a measure on the November ballot that would fully repeal Costa-Hawkins, enabling localities to expand rent…


A Reform Proposal for the Federal Housing Administration

Posted on by Carol Galante

Media reports and other sources in Washington, D.C. suggest momentum is building for housing finance reform. According to a recent piece in National Mortgage News, “the White House and congressional GOP are eyeing a tight window between tax reform and the 2018 midterms to pass housing finance reform. And with key policymakers readying their exit, the effort could be the most concerted push yet.” As policymakers debate the future of the nation’s housing finance system, I urge them not to overlook both the importance of the Federal Housing Administration and the improvements it needs in order to fulfill its mission and…


A Golden Rule for the Golden State? How State Action Could Help Solve California’s Housing Crisis

Posted on by Carol Galante, Carolina Reid

In the United States today, over 20 million households are spending more than 30 percent of what they earn just to pay the rent or mortgage on their home. Both locally and nationally, the repercussions of this affordability crisis are taking center stage. In recent weeks, the resignation of one local leader over housing costs and frustration with chronic political inaction in her community set off a flurry of media coverage and social media conversation. Meanwhile, recent poll results have elevated the issue of housing affordability onto the national stage as well. Underlying these recent events is the reality that the…


State Policy Solutions to the Short Supply of Housing

When it comes to a lack of affordability in housing, it’s no secret that California is outpacing the nation. Average home prices are about two and half times more expensive than the rest of the country, and rents are about 50 percent higher. A shortage in supply is a key contributing factor, and we need both public policy and private sector solutions that will help expand housing production to better meet demand. This week, the Terner Center is sharing an analysis of one important avenue to meeting this challenge in California: improvements to state land use regulations to promote an…


Putting the Tool to Work: Takeaways from the Housing Development Dashboard

Posted on by Carol Galante

The Terner Center’s recent release of the Housing Development Dashboard was met with enthusiasm from media outlets, practitioners, and policymakers, all commenting on its important contribution to our understanding of local housing production and related policies. I want to share some of my biggest takeaways from the Dashboard, to illustrate why and how I think it can provide critical insight into these issues, and help to pave a way forward in addressing our housing challenges in the Bay Area and eventually, nationwide. In many ways, the Dashboard validates, and provides evidence for, much of my intuition (honed from a career in…


Launching the Housing Development Dashboard

Posted on by Carol Galante

In the short time since we launched the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, I have been inundated with requests to weigh-in on the issue of how to best address the housing affordability crisis- not just at its epicenter in the San Francisco Bay Area- but in similarly situated high job growth regions from Boston to San Diego. While there are multiple contributing factors to the crisis, I keep coming back to one simple premise: supply matters, and we need to expand housing supply in equitable and environmentally sustainable ways.  This statement rarely makes anyone happy.  Most want to hear answers…


Why By-Right Affordable Housing in California is the Right Thing to do

Posted on by Carol Galante

The following piece was originally drafted as a letter of support for Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed legislation to streamline local housing approvals. The original letter, with citations, can be found here.   The Permit Streamlining Act. On May 13, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown proposed a change to state law that would streamline affordable housing proposals and spur much needed housing production. Introduced as a part of the administration’s May Revision to the 2016-17 Budget, the by-right bill would effectively change the way local jurisdictions approve housing projects. In doing so, Brown has acknowledged that in order to facilitate more building throughout…


Federal Housing Administration Delivers Success

Posted on by Carol Galante

Today, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) delivered its Annual Report to Congress and the report demonstrates that FHA met and exceeded the 2% capital reserve requirement for the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF) and improved the Fund value by over $40 billion since it went negative in fiscal year 2012. This good news validates that the policies put in place by FHA over the last 7 years have enabled FHA to strengthen its financial position while also strengthening the economy and providing access to mortgage credit to millions of families. The FHA team deserves tremendous credit for this achievement. The…


Housing: The Silent Crisis?

Posted on by Carol Galante
Filed under: Informing the Dialogue

This piece was originally published on the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foudation for Housing America's Families Blog on June 30th, 2015. The original post can be found here. June 18th marked the official launch of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families. As a member of their National Advisory Committee, I was in attendance for the event, and had the opportunity to share some thoughts on the “Silent Housing Crisis.” The subject is of particular interest as I prepare to launch The Terner Center for Housing Innovation, which shares many of the goals of JRT Housing. Both JRT Housing…