The Strategic Growth Council has given the green light to 54 potential projects to prepare full applications for funding under the newly created Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program. The 54 projects are seeking $301 million in funding -- about 2 1/2 times as much as the $120 million program has to dole out.

Final applications must be completed by April 20 and SGC plans to select the winners by July. Only the 54 applicants on the finalists' list will be given access to the online application.

Of the 54 applications going forward, 44 (worth $235 million) have affordable housing setasides and 37 (worth $229 million) are located in disadvantaged Census tracts -- the definition of which was the subject of considerable debate last year.The finalists represent a diverse array of communities in 22 counties.

Geographically, the biggest winner in the finalists' round was the Bay Area, which got the green light to apply for about 40% of the statewide pie (21 of 54 projects and $138 million out of $301 million). By contrast, the SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments) region, with more than twice the population as the Bay Area, got the green light to apply for about 20% of the pie (12 projects and $52 million).

On the face of it, the county-level winner was Los Angeles County, with 10 projects worth $38 million moving forward. (Outlying SCAG counties did poorly in comparison.) But maybe the biggest county-level winner was Alameda County. With 15% of L.A. County's population, Alameda got the green light for eight projects worth $42 million.

The biggest winner among developers was Meta Housing of Los Angeles, which got the green light to move forward with eight projects worth $22 million -- four in L.A., three in the Bay Area, and one in Yolo County. No other developer got the green light for more than two projects. BRIDGE Housing, SANDAG, and Chelsea each got the green light on two applications, with a total value of between $13 million and $15 million in each case. There is a $15 million limit on awards to individual developers.

SGC received 147 concept proposals by last month's deadline. Those proposals requested a total of $760 million in funding. Fifty-four of those projects have been selected to submit full proposals.  They are collectively requesting $301 million, meaning that rough 40 percent of projects stand to be funded once grants are awarded. Many of these projects are competing for subsets of funds set aside for disadvantaged communities and for affordable housing. 

The AHSC application process was discussed at a series of workshops in February. See CP&DR coverage