Meet with us to talk about your project! 

Schedule a time to meet with the program coordinator for this grant program to talk about the scoring criteria, funding opportunities and how your project fits in. Schedule a time here.

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

  • Support economic opportunity by creating living wage jobs and training opportunities

  • Realize more equitable development outcomes

Announcements


2024 LCA Program Overview Webinar

March 6th, 2024
1:00PM-2:00PM
Learn about all Livable Communities 2024 funding opportunities in this informational session with the grants team. The webinar will cover program details and changes for 2024, applications deadlines, scoring criteria and more.
Register for the webinar here.


Minneapolis & St. Paul propective applicants - Required City Sponsorship Pre-Applications


The City of Minneapolis and the City of Saint Paul require prospective applicants to the Metropolitan Council's LCDA program to go through a pre-application process to select projects that they will sponsor. Cities have additional deadlines between April and June that prospective applicants will need to meet.
For more information and local contacts please see the City of Minneapolis website and the City of Saint Paul website.

LCDA Programs


Pre-development

Pre-development is an independent program as of 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 general construction costs. 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 2024 Development program below.

Scoring

  • Revised language in the scoring and less duplication 
  • ​Single step scoring process instead of previous two rounds of scoring
  • Process and Team categories have been combined into a single category

Match amount: No match required

Award limits: No specific city limits, but guidance is that up to 40% of available funds go to projects in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The remaining 60% of the funds are reserved for eligible suburban projects

Application Limits: Three per city

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

Extensions: Up to two years

$9.8 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 and how to prepare a successful application
August 12th
Applications due at 3:00pm in WebGrants
Late Fall
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 for rental, 80% AMI or lower for ownership.
  • Site acquisition is only eligible for affordable housing units or for jobs projects that improve economic opportunity for low-income residents.
    • 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.
  • Holding costs can be up to 5% of the requested site acquisition support or $100,000, whichever is less. 
If you have any questions about eligible activities, reach out to Program Coordinator Hannah Gary (hannah.gary@metc.state.mn.us)

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 is open to the general public. Elements 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 and commercial or industrial projects advancing economic opportunity
  • City or neighborhood parks
  • Parks, playgrounds, or areas that are primarily for the use of the residents of market rate residential buildings 
  • Demolition, abatement, cleanup, removal, hauling or disposal of contaminated materials or debris (see TBRA program for these costs).
  • Cleanup, removal, hauling or disposal of contaminated soil or debris.
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 (coordinate with Metro Transit early)
  • Bike parking or bike storage facilities that are open to the public, are in affordable housing buildings, or in jobs projects 
  • 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 experience for people walking, biking, or rolling to/through the site
  • County road improvements
  • Private sidewalks, amenities or amenity spaces specifically serving market rate residential development projects
  • 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 cost limits and prioritize DBE or DBE-qualifying vendors when possible. Reach out to Program Coordinator with any questions
  • Architectural and engineering fees not related to eligible grant activities
  • Traditional public meetings or other engagement activities required by law 
Site Acquisition
  • Site acquisition for affordable housing projects or projects focused on bringing economic opportunity 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.
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/commercial space tenants)
  • Improvements to interior of affordable units/commercial spaces to bring building to code, increase energy efficiency, and improve the quality of life of current/future residents or tenants of commercial spaces. 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/ commercial spaces 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 by a review panel made up of Council staff and external reviewers.

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 funding. 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 2024 LCDA Evaluation Explanations. We strongly encourage you to review this document as you work on your application. 

A word document of application questions will be available one month before applications open.

LCDA Development Scoring Table

While we recognize there are different types of inequities based on identity and circumstance, 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.

 

Scoring Table

Category
Criteria
Points

What: Proposed Project Outcomes

Housing
  • Build or preserve affordable housing; priority for projects that serve residents who have barriers to finding safe, affordable housing with the deepest affordability, include supportive services or other needed services
  • Build new affordable housing that helps the City meet their share of the region’s need for affordable housing at affordability levels needed most; OR Preserve and rehabilitate affordable housing, prioritizing cities at highest risk of losing Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) and/or with more housing cost burdened households
8
  • Further equity outcomes in housing access*
3*
Economy
  • Create or preserve permanent jobs OR Create workforce development and/or training opportunities; priority for projects with full-time living wage jobs
  • Create economic opportunity in health care, technology or environmental sustainability fields; advance strategic city job growth priorities; and/or create or preserve industrial jobs with access to regional transit systems
8
  • Further equity outcomes in access to economic opportunity*
3*
Compact, Connected Development
  • Increase density or intensity of land use in the project area; OR Preserve an existing building that newly activates or preserves activity in the area.
  • Make it easier and more comfortable for people to access their daily needs and desired amenities; OR Preserve existing connections to transportation options if project is preservation or rehab
8
  • Further equity outcomes in access to services and amenities*
3*
Environment and Livability
  • Minimize greenhouse gas emissions to the greatest extent possible
  • Conserve natural resources, include or address resilience needs and/or advance climate adaptation and mitigation strategies
8
  • Further equity outcomes in environmental impact and resilience*
3*
 

How: Proposed Project Process

Process
  • The project reflects the culture and needs of the community it is intending to serve*
8*
  • The City is taking steps toward addressing inequities at the local level, especially efforts to implement equitable development practices*
3*
TOTAL 55
Applications must score at least 33 of the total 55 points with 12 of the 23 equity points (*) to be eligible for funding. 

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.  
  • 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) 602-1757 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. 
(Shapefiles and tabular data for the tract information can be found here)
 
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 2023 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
 
Past Webinars

2022 LCDA and TOD Development Grant Panel Discussion
The Panel Discussion featured past LCDA and TOD grant applicants and awardees to discuss their experience participating in the programs including suggested strategies and lessons learned.
Watch the webinar here

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 2024 Program Essentials (PDF)
LCDA Development 2024 Evaluation Explanation (PDF)

LCDA Program Coordinator

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