May the Force be With Affordable Housing

?????????????????????????????????Star War’s creator George Lucas has made news for decades, with his successful movies, his Skywalker studio, his Edutopia website and his general reticence to be the focus of news articles.  But he has been in the news recently for an activity that is a departure from these subjects.

As NPR’s Marketplace discussed recently in this article, Lucas is making news for a donation of property in Marin County, California, where he has headquartered his operations for many years.  He donated the Grady Ranch to local non-profit PEP Housing and also will provide funding to build 200 units of affordable housing.

As those of us who develop affordable housing know well, having a single land owner and financing partner is as rare as hen’s teeth.  Most affordable housing deals are much more like the last PEP Housing project, 13 units with 19 sources of funding and almost as many sets of rules about how the funding can be used.

Affordable housing projects are a big challenge, but present a big payoff–housing that allows low-wage workers and those on fixed incomes to live in decent housing with money left to pay for the other things that make life worthwhile.