The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee Wednesday awarded more than $310 million in federal stimulus grant awards to 31 “shovel-ready” affordable housing projects around the state.

The committee approved the cash awards in exchange for previously awarded and unused tax credits, said spokesman Joe DeAnda.

The tax credits had been awarded to help developers attract investment capital to help finance their projects, but slumping market conditions made selling the tax credits difficult, often deflating prices to a level that was not financially feasible for the developer or left them unable to sell the credits at all, according to DeAnda.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allows prior tax credit recipients to exchange those credits for cash at a value of $0.85 for each $1 of credit.

“Getting these funds out the door is vital to repairing California’s economy,” state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, the committee’s chair, said in a statement. “By reviving these projects, we’ll create needed affordable housing for working Californians and their families, and we’ll help put people back to work.”

While tax credits are generally distributed annually over 10 years, the exchange funds will be awarded in a lump sum, and developers could have cash in hand in as few as 60 days, DeAnda said.

Additional ARRA exchange funds will be distributed at the allocation committee’s August and December meetings. The application deadline for the December meeting is Nov. 10. Applications for the August meeting closed yesterday.

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