Catalyst Projects for California Sustainable Strategies Pilot Program

Provide incentives to sustainable communities and test innovative strategies designed to increase housing supply and affordability; improve jobs and housing relationships; stimulate job creation and retention; enhance transportation modal choices that reflect community values, preserve open space and agricultural resources; promote public health; eliminate toxic threats; address blighted properties; reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy conservation and independence. 

The six Catalyst Projects will maximize California’s ability to leverage public and private financial resources including local, State, and federal funds.  Catalyst Projects will position California to effectively participate and compete for any new federal initiatives resulting from the federal Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Environmental Protection Agency’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

Assistance Type and Terms

Successful applicants are eligible for a variety of resources and technical assistance, including access to specific State funding resources and priority or bonus points for specified State funds; targeting Technical Assistance from teams of State agencies; and other assistance as appropriate. 

The major focus of the Program is to support innovation and test sustainable strategies on the ground with actual development projects.  Projects that demonstrate cooperative and scale-appropriate methods and strategies that reflect the interdependence of environmental, economic, and community health will be most competitive.

Eligible Activities

Program grant funds must be used consistent with the requirements set forth in Section 6727 of the Government Code and must be documented expenses tied to the planning and development costs of the designated Catalyst Project and include the following:

  1. Costs to construct, rehabilitate, or acquire capital assets;
  2. Costs incidentally but directly related to the construction or acquisition of a capital asset; and
  3. Costs associated with the monitoring and evaluation of the success of the designated Catalyst Project’s sustainable strategies [limited to no more than five (5) percent of total grant award].

Eligible Applicants

Grants are provided specifically to previously designated Gold and Silver Catalyst Designees.  Gold Designees are eligible to apply for Catalyst Community Grant Program Funds in an amount up to $1,350,000.  Silver Designees are eligible to apply for Catalyst Community Grant Program Funds in an amount up to $500,000.  Eligible cities or counties are as follows:

  • City of Emeryville (Emeryville Marketplace)
  • City of San Francisco (Mission Bay)
  • City of Sacramento (Township 9)
  • City of San Diego (Village at Market Creek)
  • City of Fullerton (Fullerton Transportation Center)
  • City of National City (Paradise Creek Revitalization)
  • City of Chico (Meriam Park)
  • Town of Truckee (Truckee Railyard)
  • City of Marina (The Dunes)
  • City of Ontario (Downtown Core Catalyst Project)

Basic Requirements

The application must include a description of the current challenges to homeownership in the community including those challenges experienced by workforce and lower-income households.  In addition, the application must describe the homeownership component of the Catalyst Project including the following:

  1. A description of the number of homeownership units planned within the designated Catalyst Project including type of unit (condo, townhouse and or single-family detached) and affordability level; and
  2. A description of the innovative approaches to create homeownership opportunities within the Catalyst Project.  Examples could include co-operative housing, live-work spaces, multi-generational housing, community land trusts, adaptive re-use programs, lease to purchase programs, enhanced homebuyer education, first-time homebuyer assistance programs, programs targeted to school district or safety employees, reverse mortgage education and partnerships, foreclosure prevention programs.

Additional Requirements

The Grantee must commit to collect data to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of sustainable strategies over a five-year period.

For further information, contact the Department at (916) 263-2911.