A shortage of affordable housing is one of the most complex challenges faced by cities around the country, especially as the need is expanding and most municipal budgets are tightening. The problem is increasingly urgent in California, where the City of Long Beach is at the leading edge of municipalities seeking out best practices and resources to provide both short-term relief and long-term solutions for the housing crisis. Last year, the City took that process a step further, adopting a wide-ranging plan of twenty-nine recommendations to address deficiencies in both low- and moderate-income housing.
Long Beach has seen a renaissance of investment in recent years, especially in the downtown area, but not all communities have reaped its benefits. This lag in median household income has collided with rising rents and limited alternatives, pricing many households out of the market. The result has been displacement and even homelessness. The nature of Long Beach’s housing market compounds the problem: 59 percent of the City’s households rent as opposed to own, compared to 35 percent nationwide. Nearly half of those renters spent more than 35 percent of their income on rent (the federal government sets affordable housing as that which costs no more than 30 percent of income), putting an unusually high percentage of people at risk. But the crisis affects not only low-income residents; moderate-income households are feeling the pinch too.
The affordable housing crisis cuts across economic, social and racial/ethnic lines. For that reason, local leaders are seeking solutions that ensure a diverse, inclusive and equitable Long Beach. Since the City cannot implement all recommendations from its working plan at once, it is focusing on those with broader implications, including such proposals as a local document recording fee to generate revenue for affordable housing and a tenant protection ordinance. To support this work, the Long Beach Department of Development Services will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level fellow for one year who will develop a roadmap and begin implementation of priority affordable housing programs. Recognized as a leader in combating homelessness by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of Long Beach hopes to achieve the same results in affordable housing. This presents a unique opportunity for a fellow to make a mark on one of the most important urban issues of our day.
Project Summary & Potential Deliverables
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the fellow and the host agency.
Starting in September 2018, it is proposed the FUSE Fellow will review the working plan on affordable housing adopted by the Long Beach City Council and convene meetings with community, nonprofit and private-sector stakeholders to integrate their views as part of the research process. Next, in coordination with city officials, the fellow will move policy projects forward, investigating funding sources and providing a breakdown of steps necessary to implementation. This process will prepare the way for the fellow to set priorities, culminating in program implementation with community buy-in for that implementation.
This fellow’s success in this endeavor will be evaluated based on several factors. It will be necessary to engender a sense of stakeholder participation in crafting the final road map and inspire a feeling of unity behind it. With a strong background in policy and program research, preferably related to housing or social services, as well as strong project management abilities, the fellow should effectively analyze proposed initiatives, set priorities, and organize project plans, partnerships and funding sources. At least a third of the year should be dedicated to getting an initial project up and running, ensuring that it is on sustainable footing to continue operating successfully into the future. It is hoped the chosen program will achieve measurable impacts before the year is concluded, in terms of funding sources and housing units produced or slated for production.
The fellow’s project management skills and ability to act independently as a bridge across city agencies and a wide spectrum of stakeholders will help the City of Long Beach convert its policy ideas on affordable housing into effective practice.
- Conduct a landscape assessment: Get up to speed on the City Council’s working plan on affordable housing and conduct additional research as needed. Consult with City officials to get updates on policy developments, particularly with respect to the tenant protection ordinance. Begin to develop a roadmap for implementation, including prospective funding sources, for targeted policy options.
- Engage and align stakeholders around goals: Meet and establish regular lines of communication with stakeholders, including City agency staff, representatives from community organizations, nonprofits and property owners/developers. Ensure all concerns and perspectives are heard and incorporated, both in program content and in prioritizing program deployment. Acting as facilitator, guide the decision-making process to achieve broad support around the prospective projects.
- Prioritize goals and create an implementation plan: Determine programming priorities based on cost/benefit analysis and buy-in from both affordable-housing advocates and property developers. The goal is to move forward with this process quickly and efficiently but not precipitously: unity will be the key to success. Create a step-by-step plan for implementation (roadmap) of the chosen program(s), with partners and funding sources in place.
- Implement initial phase of affordable housing program: Oversee the implementation of the first projects identified as priorities. Assign specific roles and responsibilities for stakeholders and define timelines for achieving those goals. Develop specific ways to measure progress and outcomes. Monitor the projects closely, troubleshooting as needed to ensure success, and working to sustain the services offered.
- Tom Modica, Assistant City Manager, City of Long Beach
- Patrick Ure, Bureau Manager, Housing and Neighborhood Services Bureau, City of Long Beach
- At least 15 years of professional experience consulting, project management, housing development or a relevant field, particularly with a strong background in data and policy research and strategic planning.
- Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
- Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
- Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
- Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
- Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
- Ability to create direction and movement within politically charged
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
- Commitment to inclusion, or the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.
Click the link below to upload a resume and complete the online application questions in lieu of a cover letter. The application process will allow you to indicate interest in more than one fellowship opportunity. You only need to submit one application. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as selections will be made on a rolling basis and specific opportunities may close quickly.
A FUSE Fellowship is a 12-month engagement requiring fellows be primarily committed to their partnership with the government agency throughout the year to ensure the success of their project. Fellows are retained as independent contractors of FUSE Corps and are paid an annual stipend of $90,000 through monthly installments. This commitment begins on September 24, 2018 and ends September 20th, 2019.
The FUSE Fellowship is an equal opportunity program with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives. We strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.