RSG

RSG's Housing Right Now Workshop (April 24th, 2019)

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Last Wednesday, RSG collaborated with law firm Rutan and Tucker, LLP to host a workshop ambitiously titled “Everything You Need to Know about Housing Now.” The event quickly sold out, illustrating just how eager city and county staff are to learn more about recent housing legislation and how it affects their communities. Held in RSG’s Irvine office, the event was attended by city and county staff from the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and Ventura.

The workshop presenters were attorneys Bill Ihrke and Kathy Jenson and RSG principals Tara Matthews and Hitta Mosesman, which allowed workshop attendees to hear about both the legal and practical implications of recent housing bills:

  • Bill delved into the nuances of several pieces of legislation, focusing primarily on Senate Bill (SB) 35, which streamlines the approval process for infill developments in local communities that failed to meet their Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).

  • Hitta provided several case studies of cities that have already received applications for projects from developers looking to take advantage of the streamlined approval process allowed by SB 35.

  • Kathy explained how recent housing legislation and the California Coastal Commission’s new focus on “no net loss” affects coastal communities.

  • Tara guided attendees through strategic steps to take to ensure compliance with the new housing legislation, including getting involved early in the RHNA process, updating local planning and zoning policies as needed, applying for SB 2 technical assistance grants by the November 30th deadline, maintaining a current inventory of existing affordable units and staying up to date on compliance monitoring, and filing the required annual reports.

In light of California’s housing crisis and the need for 100,000 new housing units each year, State legislators are looking to hold communities responsible for doing their part in creating more housing in California. For better or for worse, the recent Legislative Housing Package created several new requirements and implications for every California community. If you’re interested in learning more about how your community is impacted, please contact us at RSG today. We’re happy to help!

RSG at the 2019 Housing California Conference

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This year’s Housing California Conference marked the 40th anniversary of the organization’s tireless efforts to build a California with affordable and dignified housing for all. This year’s conference was flooded with celebration of recent legislative wins for housing, passion for the solutions, and enthusiasm for the future. With attendees ranging from community organizers, to housing developers, to state legislators, it is evident that housing is at the forefront of every Californian’s priorities.

The importance of housing and growth of its public support were highlighted by a significant increase in attendance – 2019 out-shined 2018 with approximately 50% more attendees. The estimated 2,200 attendees had the opportunity to attend an array of workshops ranging from public policy, to funding sources, to community engagement. With such a diverse collection, there were learning opportunities for everyone.

While the conference provided us with a variety of topics, it was tough to miss some common themes that resonated throughout most of the workshops – nimbyism, homelessness, and funding. Such themes highlight the fact that with growing support, there are also growing concerns. Fortunately, California’s strong, pro-housing leadership at the state level is actively making strides to provide cities across the state with the necessary tools to combat such obstacles as made evident by the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) palpable presence at the conference.

RSG left this year’s conference feeling energized about the direction California is heading in, and the growing public support for affordable housing. It was exciting to see how this 40th annual conference presented an educational experience that encompassed an inclusionary and progressive vision for affordable housing. We are eager to see the opportunities and solutions that will arise in future legislation and look forward to celebrating more wins at the 2020 conference in San Diego.

SB2 and You: What you need to be ready

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SB2 was first introduced in 2017 as one of 15 bills in the 2017 Legislative Housing Package. In it’s design to create a permanent funding source for affordable housing, the bill has led to $128 million becoming available in funding and technical assistance grants to help local governments implement activities aimed at addressing the challenges of our housing crisis, which include updates to general plans, local process improvements, updates to zoning ordinances, infrastructure financing plans, and pre-approved architectural and site plans, among many others.

With applications for Technical Assistance grants due November 30, 2019, RSG wants to make sure that you are ready to take advantage of this funding source.  Per the Housing and Community Development Department, applicants must meet all of the threshold requirements for participation in the program as provided in the grant guidelines and listed below:

  • Housing element compliance – The applicant must have a housing element that has been adopted by the jurisdiction’s governing body by the deadline specified in the NOFA and subsequently determined to be in substantial compliance with state housing element law pursuant to Gov. Code Section 65585.

  •  Annual Progress Report (APR) on the housing element - The applicant must submit the APR to the Department as required by Gov. Code section 65400 for the current or prior year by the date established in the NOFA.

  • Nexus to accelerating housing production - The applicant must propose and document plans or processes that accelerate housing production. The application must demonstrate a significant positive effect on accelerating housing production through timing, cost, approval certainty, entitlement streamlining, feasibility, infrastructure capacity, or impact on housing supply and affordability.

  • State Planning and Other Planning Priorities - Applicants must demonstrate that the locality is consistent with State Planning or Other Planning Priorities. Consistency may be demonstrated through activities (not necessarily proposed for SB 2 funding) that were completed within the last five years.

 Whether it be an inquiry as to if your project qualifies or a question about the application process, RSG is here to answer all your questions! Contact Irlanda Martinez (imartinez@webrsg.com) with any inquiries regarding SB2.

Housing California Conference

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The affordable housing community showed up in droves to the 2018 Housing California Conference. With a record attendance, it was clear to everyone the affordable housing crisis has gained significant ground.

Six candidates for California State Governor attended this year’s conference. They are all fully aware of the affordable housing crisis. There was a variety of solutions. From expediting the development process to bringing back redevelopment. We will soon find out the State’s stance on tackling the affordable housing crisis.

This year’s conference was also an opportunity to brush up on the latest trends. The workshops were plentiful. It was a great opportunity to learn about new and upcoming funding sources. HCD has relief coming are way in SB2 and SB3. Plus, an additional $2 billion will be available for supportive housing. We may want to brush up on TCAC’s new Opportunity Map. Benefits to projects located within high opportunity areas include site amenity points, increase in threshold basis limit, and a tiebreaker increase.

From the coffee and conversation with California’s gubernatorial candidates to the variety of workshop sessions, 2018’s Housing California Conference did not disappoint. And let’s not forget about the Housers After Dark event…one of the best yet.  RSG would like to thank everyone for stopping by our booth and saying hello. And a big thanks to those who participated in our game. We posed the following questions to participants:

  • What Percentage of California renters are paying more than 30% of their income on housing? Answer: 50%
  • What percentage of California owner-occupied households are paying more than 30% of their income on housing? Answer: 32%
  • Which county in the most cost burdened? Answer: Los Angeles

Out of the many participants who guessed correctly, we chose one lucky winner. Congrats to Anna Lam who received a $100 Amazon Gift Card.  This year’s Housing California Conference was the perfect blend of innovation and education and we look forward to seeing what next year has in store.

RSG Welcomes Greg Smith, Senior Associate!

At RSG, we are committed to providing valuable insight and effective solutions to issues communities face. The firm is excited to welcome Greg Smith to our team of dedicated professionals working to create economic development strategies for our clients!

With over six years of experience in affordable housing acquisition and finance, Greg has overseen 9% and 4% ground-up and rehabilitation projects throughout California. He has worked successfully with developers, and administered HUD and HAP contracts, project-based Section 8 vouchers, and other prominent affordable housing financing applications. Greg is a Licensed California Broker (BRE# 01126432), and in addition to affordable real estate development, he is well versed in commercial and other market-rate acquisitions.  

In the last year, Greg became a father. As a lifelong Lakers fan, the joy his daughter brings him is enough to fill the Kobe Bryant-shaped hole in his heart.

Written by Evanne Holloway, an Analyst at RSG

A Day in the Life of RSG

 

RSG always feels like a creative team in a creative place. There is never a dull moment, never a lack of free-flowing ideas and never a day that seems exactly like yesterday.

My day as a Senior Associate is always diverse and exciting. Here’s how a “typical” day looks:

8:30am - Arrive and check emails

8:45am - Set up property building tour with a potential buyer at one of our City of Irwindale owned properties (a fully leased up industrial warehouse and manufacturing building)

9:30am - Meet with our internal team to discuss strategy and action plan for some potential retail and housing development sites in Fountain Valley that the city is interested in redeveloping

Noon - Have a lunch and learn seminar at RSG about “how to improve marketing and the blog”

1:15pm - Research Department of Finance requests for the Long Range Property Management Plan for the City of El Monte

3:30pm - Do some pro forma analysis for a couple properties in a prominent city located in Orange County, one of which is an industrial property that the city owns and is looking to potentially sell to the open market

End of the Day – Grab a drink as our co-tenant, the Good Beer Company http://thegoodbeerco.com/in2.html, opens its tasting room

May your days be just as fulfilling as ours!

Written by Andrew Gee, Senior Associate at RSG

5 Fun Facts about RSG You (Probably) Didn’t Know

 

Do “fun” and “work” belong in the same sentence?  At RSG we believe they do.
RSG is a recognized leader in our industry, known for our long track record of helping communities meet their long-term goals.  But…did you know these fun facts about RSG?

1.    We work above a brewery. Since the fall, we’ve shared our building with a craft brewery.  In the evenings and on weekends, the area downstairs transforms into a tasting room open to the public!  Salud!

2.    We prioritize fitness. Hitta, an RSG principal and a certified personal trainer, leads a circuit training bootcamp outside our building during the lunch hour for all employees who are up for breaking a sweat.  We come back to work healthy and refreshed.

3.    We recycle to help our planet…and our community. Every December, we have the privilege of participating in the Adopt A Family Program, during which employees can choose to purchase toys and clothes for a local family in need, and the company uses the money we’ve earned from recycling bottles and cans all year to help the family buy a holiday dinner.  It makes us feel good about the work we do to make communities better.

4.    We are international - team members were born in Russia, Canada and the good old USA.

5.    We’re 35! RSG recently celebrated our 35th anniversary.  We’re proud of our past and excited for the future.  Cheers to many, many more years to come!

Written by Dominique Clark who is an Analyst at RSG

RSG: Past, Present and Future

 

RSG is a creatively charged counterpart to California public agencies.  Working with the people responsible for vibrant places and propelling them toward their goals, RSG helps to create better communities and bolder futures in the areas of real estate, economic development, fiscal health and housing initiatives.

For most of the past 35 years, RSG has been one of the top RDA consultants in California, specializing in affordable housing, plan adoption amendment and analyses.  In the wake of dissolution, RSG maintains the same core values to help make communities thrive.

Dissolution has changed the funding sources for projects and made communities more dependent on demographics.  While funding may be smaller scale and more specific, the needs are there.  RSG takes a creative approach to developing communities.

For the future, RSG is continuing its role and its purpose with a different route to the same goal.  Putting communities first, RSG’s commitment is stronger than ever.  Understanding that there is no “one size fits all” funding source, RSG leads the way.  Our consultants work hand in hand with communities with a new form of redevelopment that will create a brighter tomorrow.

In the coming weeks we plan to post a series that goes into the stories of RSG's past, present and future so please stay tuned!

 

RSG Defined

Recently we had an internal corporate exercise where members of our team discussed the basic question of how would we describe RSG to someone in an "elevator pitch", from this meeting we developed the following:

"Developing creative solutions to forge public-private partnering opportunities, RSG provides a broad range of real estate, economic development and governmental consulting services to public agencies and private investors.  These services are focused on improving the physical, social and financial health of local communities to assure bolder and brighter futures."

Let us know what you think, and let us know if the work we do and the services that we offer might be of interest to you.

A Return to RSG

 

In 2006, I left RSG to attend business school, not knowing how things would fundamentally change with regard to California Redevelopment and ultimately with RSG as a company.  My time as an analyst at RSG was amazing; I was working as part of the Real Estate Studio – and we were working on behalf of several incredible clients providing real estate advisory services.  Many of these cities needed assistance to analyze large-scale development proposals.  Needless to say, it was an exciting time.  Furthermore, I loved the culture of teamwork and the positive impact that RSG was creating for communities in California.

My goal in attending business school was to gain the finance and business focus specifically geared toward commercial real estate.  After graduation I joined a prestigious commercial real estate company with the hope of focusing on acquisitions and asset management, but soon learned that the economy was crashing and our business was going to shrink.  I was also reminded about my very fond memory of time at RSG from a work culture standpoint.  Frankly I missed it and had hope of finding it once again. 

A few years later, in 2011, California Redevelopment Dissolutionment happened, and California Redevelopment Agencies were effectively gone.  Personally, since I experienced the shock to the Commercial Real Estate Industry, I wasn’t completely surprised about what happened to redevelopment, but I knew that at some point in the near future there would still be a need to help our local communities using real estate development and investment as a tool, now more than ever.

Fast forward to today, and I see and now experience firsthand that RSG has made a transformation of sorts; where we are focused on community building and having our city clients’ interests at heart.  I also understand that we are able to provide advisory and transactional services for cities that have to deal with their proper asset management and disposition questions.  It is once again the beginning of a potentially exciting time, and I’m glad to be a part of it once more.

Written by Andrew Gee who was an Analyst at RSG in 2006 and recently returned as a Senior Associate.