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Because California has one of the highest median home prices in the nation, housing affordability is one of most challenging problems for the state.  With the elimination of redevelopment law and real estate trends continuing to work against housing affordability, the state’s unmet housing needs continue to escalate and must be dealt with in a comprehensive and integrated fashion.  Accordingly, this is a special area of emphasis for the Firm.  We have extensive experience in advising cities and housing authorities on matters related to affordable housing. 

A truly successful affordable housing program involves elements of long-term planning, zoning, code enforcement, property acquisition, development transactions with incentives, environmental analysis, housing assistance, and public financing – and requires expertise in all those subjects.  Our Firm is one of only a few in the state with such broad expertise.


  • Housing Authority formation and compliance with Government Code Section 34200 et seq.
  • Formulation, negotiation, monitoring, and enforcement of Exclusive Negotiation Agreements (ENA), Cash Depository Agreements (CDA), Owner Participation Agreements (OPA), and Disposition and Development Agreements (DDA)
  • Property acquisition either by negotiated sale or condemnation
  • Hazardous wastes and toxic materials clean up, including brownfields
  • Economic development through loan and grant programs and business retention
  • Preparation of easements and other real estate documents
  • Prevailing wages legislation (SB 975)
  • Environmental documentation under CEQA
  • Relocation assistance
  • Low and moderate income housing requirements and housing assistance programs
  • State and Federal programs for housing assistance, including HOME Investment Partnership Program, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, and Section 8 Housing Program
  • Loan, grant, and deferred payment housing rehabilitation programs
  • First-time home buyer and rental assistance programs
  • State housing audits and general plan programs to maximize housing opportunities for low-income, minority, and disadvantaged persons
  • Density bonus and other zoning incentives
  • Drafting and enforcement of housing restrictions through covenant agreements
  • Housing Element updates and Regional Housing Needs Assessment

Expertise in Action

Our attorneys in this practice area have over 100 years of aggregate experience in economic development and housing, and have worked on numerous projects of importance in California.  These projects include mixed-use commercial/residential projects, senior citizen affordable housing, ownership and/or rental assistance programs, neighborhood commercial projects, and grocery/drug store complexes. 

We work in tandem with staff in a comprehensive fashion to explore various financial sources of funding, negotiate with potential developers, and obtain site control through negotiated sales or eminent domain.  Additionally, our firm assists in the planning and development process, analyzes zoning and land use requirements, and formulates and implements regulatory agreements to ensure housing remains affordable. 

Through award-winning projects, we have supported our cities in meeting the strong state legal mandates that encourage the provision of low- and moderate-income housing.  For example, we assisted the development of the 92-unit Signal Hill Las Brisas project, including a park and childcare center, which won the League of California Cities’ prestigious Helen Putman Award.  We have also negotiated projects ranging from a 157-acre $800,000,000 retail, entertainment, and housing project in Carson on a former landfill site to a 2.5 million square-foot award-winning Trammel Crow industrial/commercial project in Irwindale on a refilled former mining pit. 

Finally, with its own public finance specialty area, the Firm is one of the few that can offer attorneys with expertise in financing innovative projects.