Q&A: Getting Creative on Permanent Supportive Housing with JPMorgan Chase’s James Vossoughi
The increased need for permanent supportive housing has recently been in the spotlight in terms of how to address the needs of chronically homeless people. Such independent living developments are designed to not only house individuals, but also provide them with all the services they need to thrive in their communities.
James Vossoughi, Commercial Banker and Vice President for Community Development Banking at JPMorgan Chase, works directly with clients to provide construction and permanent loans to finance the new construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing. Vossoughi is also the former long-term head of JPMorgan Chase’s Volunteer Leadership Program in the San Francisco Bay Area and says he is committed to being a well-rounded partner to clients.
We caught up with Vossoughi to discuss some success stories in his work with permanent supportive housing across the state of California.
Q. The pandemic has been a catalyst for legislation and programs around permanent supportive housing. In California in particular, what have some of the most successful programs been?
A. Policy changes designed to increase housing supply and incentivize reforms that decrease barriers to housing have been successful. Government entities, nonprofits and other stakeholders have also been focused on affordable and workforce housing as part a broader infrastructure push. At JPMorgan Chase, we are committed to acknowledging what challenges the industry faces and being supportive of what opportunities exist for progress.
Q. How does JPMorgan Chase work with developers to finance these new programs? What are some of the obstacles to development and funding?
A. Part of the challenges of looking at new ways to develop affordable communities is it may not have been done before or there may not be many, if any, examples to look at for experiences and best practices. We recognize the need to think outside the box in terms of what types of affordable communities we finance and how we mitigate risks for these communities. We understand and are committed to supporting our clients’ efforts to not only create new affordable housing, but also preserve the existing affordable housing that is so critical to cities.
Q. What is a success story for modular or hotel redevelopment creating affordable housing?
A. We have so many success stories. One example that is currently under construction and slated to be completed next year is 1064 Mission in San Francisco. It uses modular housing and will be the largest permanent supportive housing project for formerly homeless individuals to be built in San Francisco to date, including 256 studios for the formerly homeless, 103 of which are for seniors. The city will also be relocating its homeless services center and the offices of their homeless outreach team to the 1064 Mission site. The project will also house the developer’s relocated food services, workforce development and social enterprise program training center on the ground floor. Units are being shipped from the factory to the site as we speak.
Another successful example is in San Diego, where the former Kearny Mesa and Hotel Circle extended stay hotels have now been repurposed to provide 332 permanent homes as well as supportive services for residents who previously experienced homelessness, without Low Income Housing Tax Credit, with a total of over $50 million in bridge permanent financing.
Q. What is necessary to maintain progress following our return to “normal”?
A. It’ll take everyone working together; it’ll take a shared commitment to our local communities and investing in people, not just real estate. We need to put our heads together and figure out next steps to solve this affordable housing crisis. It also takes an understanding of what a lack of safe and secure affordable housing means to lower income households. This is especially true for communities of color, as we support an inclusive recovery program. Creative ideas will be needed to tackle the affordable housing crisis—something that JPMorgan Chase is unequivocally committed to, whether that’s modular housing or adaptive building reuse of hotels, churches, factories and all other types of affordable housing communities that our developers may bring to us.
*Pictured above: A rendering of 1064 Mission in San Francisco, the largest permanent supportive housing project for formerly homeless individuals to be built in San Francisco to date.