Livable Communities Demonstration Account (LCDA)

Focus on housing, jobs, and efficient growth

The Livable Communities Demonstration Account (LCDA) provides funding for projects that increase access to housing, jobs, services and transit in an effort to support more equitable, livable communities in the region.
 

LCDA program goals

  • Maximize connections between housing, jobs, and regional amenities like parks, trails, and cultural centers

  • Create more housing choices through introducing new housing types or preserving affordable housing, minimizing the project’s impact on climate change through sustainable site design and building practices

  • Contribute to an economically prosperous and equitable region by creating living wage jobs accessible to local workers

Announcements


2022 Minneapolis LCDA Pre-Applications Due (MINNEAPOLIS PROJECTS ONLY)

April 29th, 2022
Learn more on their website.


2022 LCA General Information Webinar Session

March 3, 2022
The webinar covers all of the LCA programs for 2022. Learn about changes to programs, new programs to 2022, the 2022 schedule, funding amounts, and other opportunities to learn more about specific programs.
Listen to the webinar here


 

LCDA Programs


Pre-development

Pre-development is an independent program in 2022, find more information on the page: Pre-Development

Development

Development grants are for development or redevelopment projects that support Livable communities and Thrive MSP 2040 goals and are ready to begin construction within the 36-month grant period. Eligible costs may include stormwater management, public realm improvements, renewable energy systems, site acquisition and preparation, and rehab of affordable housing. Reach out to the program officer for more information on the program and eligible costs. You can also see what was funded last year. Find information about the 2022 Development program below.

Scoring

  • More points available for the minimum equity score with more of those points on project outcomes   

  • Expansion of jobs criteria to include training programs or other projects that support economic stability  

  • Considering partnerships formed around the project rather than overall team readiness

Eligible Activities

New eligible activities (see Eligible Activities tab for details)
  • EV charging infrastructure or installation costs
  • Public restrooms (not including SAC charges)
  • Outdoor resident amenity spaces for affordable housing projects
  • General landscaping elements for affordable housing projects
  • Construction costs for affordable housing projects
  • Universal design elements to improve accesible connections to and within the project site
  • Landscaping to improve the pedestrian experience
  • Design and engineering fees for grant requested activities (up to 10% of the total award
Schedule
  • Development applications will be due in August, at the same time as TOD applications, and funding recommendations will be made in December of 2022. 

Match amount: No match required

Award limits: If eligible applications from suburban communities request more than 60% of available funds no more than 40% of the funds can be awarded to Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Application Limits: Three per applicant

Grant terms: 36 months (three years) from the date of award

Extensions: Up to two years

$9 million available. If eligible applications from suburban communities request more than 60% of available funds no more than 40% of the funds can be awarded to Minneapolis and St. Paul.

LCDA Development Timeline

June & July
Technical assistance sessions on topics related to LCDA scoring
August 15th
Applications due at 3:00pm in WebGrants
October
Applicants will be notified about the Step One review. Applications meeting the minimum score and the minimum equity score will move to Step Two.
December
Funding decision made by the Council

Livable Communities grants support specific project activities rather than giving money to the project as a whole. As part of the application the project team will list specific activities and estimated costs. Livable Communities grants cannot pay for work done before the grant is awarded (except for site acquisition). Keep this in mind as you think about what activities you plan to ask to be supported.  

Some of the activities in the table are only eligible in some circumstances. Refer back to this list as you look through the eligible activity table.  

  • All affordable housing must be affordable for a minimum of 15 years at 60% or lower of AMI
  • Site acquisition is only eligible for affordable housing units or for jobs projects that improve access for low-income residents.
    • Holding costs can be up to 5% of the requested site acquisition support or $100,000, whichever is less. 
  • Support for activities that are eligible only for affordable housing units will be prorated to the percentage of affordable units in the project. For example, if 50% of the units are affordable, you can request up to 50% of the costs for that activity.
  • Design and engineering fees for eligible activities can be up to 10% of the total award amount.

LCDA Development Eligible Activities

Eligible Activities
Ineligible Activities
Environmental Sustainability 
  • Infiltration swales or tanks
  • Landscaping that is an integrated part of the stormwater management system
  • Pervious pavement 
  • Green roofs
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Fuel cells; and
  • Wind turbines
  • Project-specific or district-wide stormwater management plans, district-wide heating and cooling plans, and district-wide waste management plans that conserve natural resources and mitigate impacts on climate change
  • EV charging infratructure or installation costs
  • Photovoltaic cells
Project Site
  • Public space that encourages social interactions through design or programming. Elements to create welcoming spaces can include, but are not limited to: 
    • lighting
    • landscaping
    • seating and furnishings
    • sidewalks and paths
    • Wayfinding elements 
    • public restrooms (does not include SAC charges)
  • Public art design process to create an intentionally designed piece of public art which contributes to the identity or sense of place of the development project and/or surrounding neighborhood. The design process should include an artist or arts organization. 
  • Public art features, including but not limited to murals, mosaics, and sculptures, which contribute to the identity or sense of place of the development project and/or surrounding neighborhood. To be considered public art, it must be led and fabricated by a professional artist and/or art organization.
  • Playgrounds or outdoor recreational areas intended to serve residents of affordable housing developments  
  • Public community gardens or community gardens at affordable housing developments 
  • Demolition and removal of existing structures.
  • Grading and soil correction to prepare a site for construction.
  • Outdoor resident amenity spaces for affordable housing projects
  • General landscaping elements for affordable housing projects
  • Construction costs for affordable housing projects
  • City or neighborhood parks
  • Parks, playgrounds, or areas that are primarily for the use of the development project’s tenants or residents of market rate residential buildings 
  • Demolition, abatement, cleanup, removal, hauling or disposal of contaminated materials or debris.
  • Cleanup, removal, hauling or disposal of contaminated soil or debris.
  • General cosntruction costs for projects that do not include affordable housing
Improved Connections
  • New streets or street extensions only for local public streets
  • Public sidewalks or trails that enhance the pedestrian environment and connect the project to nearby uses and amenities
  • Site-integrated transit shelters
  • Outdoor public bike facilities or outdoor bike facilities for residents of affordable housing developments 
  • Extensions or modifications of local public utilities that directly serve the development project
  • Publicly available portion of shared-use parking
  • Enhanced broadband connections for affordable housing projects 
  • Universal design elements to improve accesible connections to and within the project site
  • Landscaping to improve the pedestrian experience
  • County road improvements
  • Private sidewalks, amenities or amenity spaces specifically serving market rate residential development projects
  • Perimeter sidewalks or boulevards that do not improve the bike or pedestrian experience
  • Surface parking and parking structures without a shared public component
  • Expansion or extension of local public utilities not directly related to the development project
  • Transit infrastructure or capital investments e.g., transit stations, station platforms, and park-and-ride facilities.
  • Regional parks or trails and trails that would otherwise be included within a city’s capital improvement budget
  • Trail, sidewalk, or road connections that do not directly connect to or support the project site.
Design and Community Engagement 
  • Design workshops and community engagement activities that center those least represented and most impact by historic racial inequities (including but not limited to compensation for consultants leading work, participants, advisory committee members, childcare, food for engagement events*)
  • Design and engineering fees for grant requested activities (up to 10% of the total award)
* Food costs should be within Council limits and be purchased from DBE or DBE qualifying vendors
  • Architectural and engineering fees related to the general site or building or not related directly to grant-funded elements specifically listed as “eligible”
  • Traditional public meetings or other engagement activities required by law 
Site Acquisition for Affordable Housing and Jobs
  • Site acquisition for affordable housing projects or projects focused on bringing jobs to low-income areas. Eligible sites acquired after the date of award or for sites acquired within 12 months before the application is due are eligible
  • Holding costs up to 5% of the awarded acquisition amount or $100,000, whichever is less. 
    • Eligible holding costs include property maintenance, insurance, and interest.
  • Sites purchased more than 12 months before the application due date 
  • Acquisition for market rate housing or jobs not in low-income areas
  • Sites purchased by a project partner who will gain financially from the purchase
  • Site assembly for lands to be used for transit infrastructure.
Affordable Housing Preservation and/or Rehab
  • Exterior improvements to bring the building to code or improve energy efficiency of the building. Examples include window replacement, roof replacement, exterior finishing replacement (brick siding, etc.), or mechanical system replacement (Savings from energy efficiency should be passed on to the residents)
  • Improvements to interior of affordable units to bring building to code, increase energy efficiency, and improve the quality of life of current or future residents. Examples include low flow plumbing fixtures or energy savings appliances.
  • Improvements to indoor communal spaces. Examples include improvements to community gathering rooms, fitness centers, and areas in which supportive services are offered. 
  • Improvements to building grounds and outdoor community gathering spaces. Examples include landscaping, playgrounds, greenspace, and community gardens. 
Affordable and market rate units should be identical and evenly distributed throughout the building(s)
  • Legal fees associated with preservation 
  • Upgrades to market rate units  
  • Relocation costs 

Development applications are scored in two steps. Step One is a review by a team of Metropolitan Council staff. Projects need to meet minimum scores in the Step One review to advance to the next round of review. Step Two is a review done by the Livable Communities Advisory Committee (LCAC). This 15-member review panel will make the final funding recommendation to the Council.   

Look through the scoring criteria and how each section is weighed to see how your project might score in the review process. In addition to the overall minimum score, applications need to meet a minimum equity score to be eligible for Step Two review. Criteria that count toward the equity score are marked with an asterisk (*).

Questions reviewers will be asking themselves, along with examples of how to achieve points in each category, are available in the 2022 LCDA Evaluation Explanations.

A word document of application questions can be requested up to a month before applications are due. Reach out to the program officer to ask for a Word document. 

LCDA Development Scoring Table

LCA is focused on addressing racial inequity in the region given race is the largest predictor of inequitable outcomes in jobs, housing, and other LCA goals. Projects addressing racial equity will be prioritized in scoring. Projects addressing other inequities will earn points towards how they address those inequities but will not receive full points unless they also consider the intersection of racial inequity.

 

Step One

Step Two 

Category
Criteria
Points
Criteria
Points

What: Proposed Project Outcomes

Housing
  • Create or preserve affordable housing
    opportunities with priority given to projects that serve populations not currently served by the local housing market, for projects with the deepest affordability, and for those including supportive services or other needed services
  • Create new affordable housing that furthers the City’s ability to meet their share of the region’s need for affordable housing, considering what the need is across affordability levels; OR Preserve and rehabilitate affordable housing, prioritizing communities at highest risk of losing Naturally Occurring Affordable
    Housing (NOAH) and/or communities with higher rates of housing cost burdened households
8
  • Create or preserve intentional community connections and relationships in the development and support current or future residents through design, programming, and/
    or services
7
  • Further equity outcomes in housing access*
2*
Jobs
  • Create or preserve permanent employment
    opportunities; priority for projects with living
    wage jobs
  • Create or preserve jobs that support
    economic stability of the community in the
    project area
  • Create economic opportunity in priority
    high-growth and high-opportunity sectors
    of the region’s economy including health
    care, technology or environment; and/or
    advance city job growth priorities and/or
    create/preserve industrial jobs with access to
    regional transit systems
8
  • Support economic growth of the community through expanded jobs options supporting
    cooperatively owned businesses or supporting the economic stability of the community the project is intending to serve
  • The business model, business type, or
    hiring practices of the business creating
    or preserving the jobs support economic mobility, economic stability, or wealth creation, especially among populations that experience economic disparities
7
  • Further equity outcomes in access to economic opportunity*
2*
Compact, Connected Development
  • Increase density or intensity of land use on the site or in the project area if new
    construction; OR
    Preserve or intensify land use and density on the site or in the project area in a way that uses an existing building more efficiently
  • Takes advantage of available connections between housing, jobs, services and amenities across the region using existing and planned transit and transportation systems
  • Increase diversity of uses and activities in the project and/or access to services and amenities, with a focus on complementary uses and human-centered experiences
8
  • Provide design-led strategies, specific to the population the project is intending to serve, that support or expand infrastructure for
    people to walk, bike, or use other kinds of
    transportation in and around the project site, including accessibility and universal design
    features, especially those that contribute to larger existing or planned networks
  • Create a welcoming public realm and access to green space that facilitates social interactions and increases community resilience within the project site and project area
7
  • Further equity outcomes in access to services and amenities*
2*
Environment and Livability
  • Maximize access to local and regional parks and trails through outreach, site design, or programming
  • Minimize greenhouse gas emissions
  • Conserve natural resources and follow sustainable site design practices
8
  • Mitigate negative environmental impacts on residents or workers in the area; priority for projects in areas most impacted by past environmental harms
  • The projects uses sustianable site and/or building design practices to increase resilience and mitigate environmental harm; priority for equitable environmental outcomes
7
 
  • Further equity outcomes in access to local and regional parks and/or address environmental sustainability in locations where residents have been most impacted by environmental harms*
2*
 

How: Proposed Project Process

Process
  • Address a residential and/or workforce need
    that was identified by or with residents or
    workers most impacted by inequities*
5*
  • Provide meaningful engagement, including stakeholders that represent the demographics of the residential and/or workforce community, centering those under-represented and most impacted
  • The project and the team use a strategic and integrated approach to addressing equity
    issues
7
  • The City is taking steps toward addressing inequities at the local level, especially efforts to implement equitable development
    practices*
3*
 

Who: Proposed Project Team

Project Team
  • The project forms partnerships between
    government, private for-profit, and non-profit sectors
  • Local efforts to contribute to the project financially, considering the context of
    community capacity
8
  • The funding sources identified, not necessarily committed, for the project reasonably reflect what is necessary to complete the project
5

Equity

  • The project team, including partners, is designed to be reflective of and responsive
    to the community the project is intending to serve*
2*
  • The intended outcomes of the project will result in more equitable outcomes
2
Step One Total 58 Step Two Total 42
Applications must score at least 39 of the total 58 Step One points to move to Step Two with 12 of the 18 equity points (*) awarded. 
Applications must score at least 65 of the total 100 available points

After reviewing the funding availability, timeline, and eligibility sections please visit the Apply for LCA Grants page for details on how to apply for the LCDA Development program. 

Saving Documents
Please save all documents as compressed PDF files with the naming format: [Applicant_Project_AttachmentName]. For example, a site plan from City Y for their Downtown Development would be named City Y_Downtown Development_Site Plan. Contact the program officer if you have any questions about how to save or attach any of the required documents. 

From the online Make-A-Map tool:

  • Overview Map  
  • Aerial Map 
  • Parcel Map 
Make-a-Map Instructions
Enter an address or landmark in the search bar to navigate to your project area. 
  • Click “Sketch the Project” and select “Livable Communities Demonstration Acct” from the dropdown menu. Provide a name for your project. 

  • Use the zoom and pan buttons to navigate to your project site. Click “Sketch a Boundary” and, using the crosshair as a guide, draw the project boundary. A gray polygon with a red outline will begin to appear. Once you have finished outlining the boundary, double click to close the polygon. If there are multiple, non-contiguous parcels that are part of your project, you have the option of sketching another boundary. 

  • Select “Print” and “Create the maps”. The system will generate three maps for LCDA; a Parcel Map, Overview Map, and Aerial Map. Please be patient – depending on your connection, it can take up to one minute to generate the maps. 

  • Click each PDF to download them separately. See “Saving Documents” as a reminder for how to name each of the three Make-a-Map documents. 

Other required attachments:  
Each attachment should be no more than 10 pages long. If you are submitting a stormwater management plan, please include a summary of the plan that outlines the approach to stormwmater management. 

  • Grant Requested Activities Plan A site plan clearly showing the location of each requested grant activity. If you are requesting funds for something that covers the entire site, like site prep, just make a note on the plan that the activity will cover the entire site.  
  • Site Plan A plan of the entire site showing all ground floor uses, vehicle, bike, and pedestrian entrances, public and semi-public spaces, and transit stations and/or stops.  
  • Context Map A map showing the site and nearby amenities like parks, trails, plazas, schools, shops, libraries etc. 
  • Perspective A ground perspective from any adjacent streets.  
  • Resolution A resolution of local support from the applicant. Sample resolutions for projects coming from cities and counties or development authorities are available in the LCA Resource Library.  
Required for Stormwater, Site Acquisition, and Community Engagement Requests: 
  • Stormwater management: A stormwater management plan summary that explains stormwater calculations for the site, outlines the stormwater management strategies, and supports the amount requested for stormwater management activities.  
  • Site acquisition: an appraisal, or broker price opinion, stating appraised value of the property being purchased with the site acquisition funds.  
  • A community engagement plan outlining what engagement has been done so far, how you plan to engage those least represented and most impacted by racial inequities, and how the engagement will shape your project going forward. 
 

Grantees submit semi-annual reports outlining ongoing project progress. These progress reports are supplemented by details provided in each payment request. Depending on the activities included in your grant award, there may be additional reporting requirements. These will be included in the grant agreement.  For example, projects awarded funding for community engagement should document the engagement process and submit a final report with their final payment request. 
 
A final report is required with the last payment request. The final report will ask about project successes, the impact of the grant funding, and any challenges in completing the project.
 
As a grantee you are responsible for alerting the LCA grants administration team of any changes to the project. The grant administrator will work with you to decide if there needs to be an amendment to your grant agreement based on the project changes.

Development grants may be used as a loan for projects that include affordable housing partially financed through LIHTC. Grantees must enter into a loan agreement with the project owner and comply with additional reporting requirements.
 
Contact LCA Senior Project Administrator with questions regarding reporting requirements and grant follow-up
Samuel Johnson, Senior Project Administrator, (651) 602-1297 Samuel.Johnson@metc.state.mn.us

See the LCA FAQ page more information about LCA programs

Should I apply to LCDA or TOD?
Reach out to the program officer for either or both programs to talk about where your project might be the best fit. We recommend self-scoring your project based on the scoring criteria for each program to see where you might be more competitive. It is helpful to pay attention to the category weighting in each program to better understand the priorities for each program. 

Can I apply to both LCDA and LCDA-TOD?
No. You should decide which program is a better fit for your project and apply to either LCDA or LCDA-TOD. You can also reach out to the program officer for either or both programs to talk about where your project might be the best fit.

I don’t have site control. Can I still apply?
Yes, you will need to have control, a PA, or a letter of intent from the current owner

Can I get a Pre-Development grant and a Development grant?
Yes. Pre-Development grants are available to help projects become development projects that will help meet both LCA and Thrive goals. Projects are encouraged to apply for Pre-Development funds to support activities early on in the planning process to include LCA and Thrive goals before they come to the Development program.

Will the program pay for work done before the grant was awarded?
No, with the exception of site acquisition for affordable housing or jobs projects in low-income areas. Other than site acquisition, the grant money can only pay for work done after the grant is awarded. More information about paying for site acquisition is available in the Eligible Activities tab. 

LCA Project Data Profile Mapping Tool
Use the LCA Project Data Profile Mapping Tool to look up housing, demographic, transportation and job information about the census tract your project is located in. 
 
Workshops
The LCDA and TOD programs offered a series of technical assistance workshops to help applicant teams develop competitive projects in 2021. Information in these sessions are useful for 2022 applicants.

The technical assistance is broken out into two parts for each topic: a one-hour webinar about the topic and a three-hour workshop to go deeper into how that topic relates to your project. 

Project Process
Identifying community needs, specific project outcomes and impacts, and community engagement
Watch the Webinar

Equity
How projects can contribute to reducing racial disparities in the region
Watch the Webinar

Environment 
Conserving natural resources and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions 
Watch the Webinar

Design
Ensuring the project design connects to and addresses community needs, racial disparities, and sustainability goals
Watch the Webinar

For questions on the webinars or help registering please contact LCDA or TOD Program Officers.
 
Prefer a PDF document of the key program pieces?
The Program Essentials document has key dates, funding amounts, eligible activities, and the scoring table. 
LCDA Development 2022 Program Essentials (PDF)
LCDA Development 2022 Evaluation Explanation (PDF)

LCDA Program Coordinator

Hannah Gary (she/her)
hannah.gary@metc.state.mn.us