Community Investments

September 2005

Community Investments Vol 17, Issue 3
State Housing Trust Funds: Meeting Local Affordable Housing Needs


The history of housing trust funds in the United States is peppered with stories that illuminate both the challenges and benefits of developing new public sources of funding for affordable housing. Take California, for example. In 1985, California was one of the first states to create legislation supporting a housing trust fund, which in theory would have funneled revenue from offshore oil drilling to the production of affordable housing in the state. Advocates cheered the legislation, anticipating funds of around $20 million each year to be dedicated to affordable housing programs. However, despite its promise, the fund ended up allocating a mere $2 million a year for affordable housing, most of which was directed in support of ongoing programs like providing emergency shelter. So while California technically had a housing trust fund, it really was in name only.

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