Fellowship Openings

Launching a Housing Finance Agency to Fund Expanded Housing in Los Angeles

Project: Launching a Housing Finance Agency to Fund Expanded Housing in Los Angeles

Agency: Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department

Location: Los Angeles, CA


Project Context

Reducing homelessness in Los Angeles is a priority with such strong support, and one that is linked so closely with the housing crisis, that voters in 2016 overwhelmingly approved a $1.2 billion bond measure toward construction of housing for the area’s homeless population. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, more than 55,000 people lack shelter in the Los Angeles metro area on any given night. Meanwhile, the housing crisis has been exacerbated by factors including gentrification and restrictive zoning laws that have drastically reduced the number of affordable units. There is an increasing need for the City to develop its own capabilities to fund expanded housing, as federal housing funds have been slashed, with the most recent budget proposal from the White House calling for even deeper cuts.

The Housing + Community Investment Department of Los Angeles (HCIDLA) is the largest municipal issuer of affordable housing bonds in California and an active provider of financial products for rental and for-sale affordable housing. Seeking to expand housing stock by establishing new and more self-sufficient financing methods, over the past year HCIDLA has begun the initial phases of creating a Housing Finance Agency (HFA) modeled on the New York City Housing Development Corporation, which has been successful in generating direct subsidies for housing through the issuance of bonds and low-cost development loans.

With a capability analysis almost complete and delineation of an implementation strategy underway, HCIDLA is now preparing for the second phase of the project: actual implementation of an HFA. To support this work, HCIDLA will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive fellow for one year who will help clear legislative hurdles, devise a business plan, secure first-stage funding and launch the Los Angeles Housing Finance Agency. If successful, the fellow will play a key role in producing new financing tools that help HCIDLA tackle the city’s housing shortage for decades to come.

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 that the FUSE Fellow will begin by assessing work completed on the project to date and, in consultation with HCIDLA management, determine work remaining and a plan for carrying it out. The fellow will build strong relationships with HCIDLA’s executive management team while demonstrating the flexibility and confidence to coordinate effectively with varied stakeholders including city staff, consultants and partners.

Following this initial assessment, the fellow will be well-equipped to pivot quickly to laying the groundwork for establishing the HFA, specifically around fulfilling legislative requirements. Relying on research and presentation skills, adaptability and working relationships with stakeholders, the fellow will assist in overcoming challenges and coalescing momentum to achieve the required legislation.

Once legislative authorization for the HFA is obtained, the fellow will move into the implementation phase. Utilizing goal-setting and organizational skills, the fellow will design a solid business plan, secure funding and coordinate the creation of the HFA. Expertise in public finance will be essential in exploring and evaluating financing options that will ultimately lead to the success of the project. By providing HCIDLA with new tools and capabilities, the fellow will help the HFA expand housing in Los Angeles in the long-term, alleviating the toll of homelessness and increasing affordable options for Angelenos.

  • Determine status of project and outstanding objectives — Meet with HCIDLA management to become familiar with steps taken toward instituting a housing finance agency. Gain understanding of HCIDLA’s goals around spurring housing development and construction, including expanding affordable stock as well as facilitating middle-income development. Identify components of project that will be areas of focus going forward.
  • Prepare for implementation and securitization — Working closely with the HCIDLA team and using the proposals it has developed, design a business plan for setting up the HFA that encompasses staffing, operation, initial financing products, and other details. Explore and analyze safe harbor-compliant financing options that could be utilized initially or at a later date, including mortgage revenue bonds. Draw up prospectuses for investors and package complex financing strategies into more accessible concepts for general audiences. Provide evaluative information to HCIDLA management.
  • Provide key support to winning legislative approval and solidifying support — Determine needed legislation and assist in efforts to procure it, including carrying out research, writing proposals, developing and making presentations and other actions as required by HCIDLA’s executive management team. Address challenges within HCIDLA and among other city agencies, working to maintain stakeholder support as the project evolves and ensuring ongoing buy-in from internal and external stakeholders.
  • Coordinate the funding and launch of the HFA — Begin structuring financing deals. Before the end of the fellowship year, ensure that initial funding is in place and being directed to developers. Work with HCIDLA team to execute the launch of the HFA within that time frame. Interface with the placement agent and provide a framework for evaluating financing options in future years to maintain adaptability and effectiveness.

Key Stakeholders 

  • Rushmore Cervantes, General Manager, Housing and Community Investment Department
  • Sean Spear, Assistant General Manager, Housing Development, Housing and Community Investment Department


  • At least fifteen years of professional experience in a relevant field, particularly with a strong background in public and/or housing finance. Legislative experience would be beneficial.
  • Familiarity with bond finance and/or securitization instruments would be beneficial.
  • Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations and written documents.
  • 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 potentially ambiguous environments.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
  • Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.

To Apply

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.