A $1.1 billion project will mean thousands of jobs in Sacramento. Will renters be displaced?

By Theresa Clift | September 14, 2020 | The Sacramento Bee

Guadalupe Del Angel-Garcia moved into her North Oak Park apartment 14 years ago. Three years ago, her rent was about $800 a month. Now it’s $1,100.

The rent is increasingly difficult for her family to pay, especially since her husband was laid off from his restaurant job due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Oak Park is home. She’s lived there more than two decades and belongs to a close-knit community through her church.

When she heard about Aggie Square, a sprawling new project bringing thousands of jobs to the UC Davis Medical Center about a mile away, she was deeply concerned.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to learn how ECOS is involved in trying to get UC Davis to uphold the community development principles taught in their classes and make sure Aggie Square doesn’t cause more displacement in Sacramento’s underserved neighborhoods.


Image by Leroy Skalstad from Pixabay

No More Broken Promises

By Bill Motmans and Tamika L’Ecluse
June 10, 2020
Sacramento News and Review

“…city leaders have proposed federal stimulus funds for economic development projects, including UC Davis’s Aggie Square (a major real estate development aimed at attracting biotech companies), and bolstering the local tourism industry. Neither of these proposed investments will address the immediate and enormous suffering of families, the elderly and children living in neighborhoods such as Fruitridge, Del Paso, North Sacramento, Oak Park and Meadowview. Quite the opposite, investment in Aggie Square commercial projects without a community benefits agreement that includes a large prior investment in new affordable housing and existing neighborhood businesses, will, over time, increase demand for existing housing and commercial space and further destabilize and displace residents and small businesses.

A new coalition of several organizations working in vulnerable neighborhoods, called Sacramento Investment Without Displacement, was created to ensure that public financial investment builds up Sacramento neighborhoods, rather than destabilize them. Our coalition calls on local elected officials to fulfill their commitments to voters. No more broken promises. Now more than ever, with COVID-19 disproportionately hurting communities of color and disadvantaged neighborhoods, public investment must directly and immediately provide relief to our city’s most vulnerable residents.”

Click here to read the article in full.

Click here to learn more about the work being done by Sacramento Investment Without Displacement, of which ECOS is a part.

Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels

City Announces Temporary Ban On Residential Tenant Evictions

The Sacramento City Council adopted an ordinance on March 17 to establish a temporary ban on evicting residential tenants unable to pay rent due to a loss of income caused by the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

“It is vital for us to protect residential tenants during this tenuous time,” said Assistant City Manager Michael Jasso. “This ordinance is part of the City’s efforts to address the financial impacts of the disease on renters locally, the population most at-risk of swift housing displacement.”

Click here to view the article on the City of Sacramento’s website.

Why is this an environmental issue? People need to have the option to live near their jobs and other every day destinations. This means making sure there are enough affordable, quality residences in the urban core of Sacramento, even in the face of a pandemic. If people who work downtown cannot afford to live downtown, we are not going to meet our region’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. To do our part as a city, Sacramento must find ways to reduce the need for workers to commute every day.

Reminder to City to follow State Law on Surplus Land

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and the Sacramento Housing Alliance (SHA) have sent out letters to City of Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, as well as the Facilities & Real Property Superintendent Richard Sanders (at the Department of Public Works). These are to remind the City of Sacramento to follow the Surplus Land Statute.

In the letter to Mayor Darrell Steinberg, The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and the Sacramento Housing Alliance (SHA) write:

We are prompted to offer this reminder of the Surplus Land Act because of concerning trends in the sale of city properties. Reviewing recent sales of seven city owned lots, only one was sold to an affordable housing non-profit (City of Refuge, who plans to build a homeless shelter for women and children on the land). The other six were sold to for-profit entities. Most alarming is the case of 4722 9th Ave and 4601-4625 10th Ave, where the city rejected a proposal to build 130-195 affordable rental units in favor of market rate apartments.

We are requesting city officials be particularly mindful of a few key provisions in the Surplus Land Statute.

1. Prioritize proposals that make at least 25% of the housing units affordable to low income households.

2. Give priority to the proposal with the most affordable units at the most affordable level.

3. Enforce the inclusionary requirement tied to the sale or lease of surplus land.

4. The City of Sacramento can sell or lease the land at a discount to affordable housing developers.

Click here to view the full letter to Mayor Darrell Steinberg, and the four key provisions in the Surplus Land Statute.

In the letter to Superintendent Richard Sanders, The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and the Sacramento Housing Alliance (SHA) write:

The City has a real opportunity to lead on this important issue and we urge you to do so. For example, the City could serve as a clearinghouse for public surplus lands available in the city, including parcels controlled by other public agencies (local utilities, Regional Transit, RASA, etc.). Having a centralized location to get information about all public sites would support getting the most public benefit from the use of these sites and facilitate access to critical information to affordable housing developers and the public.

In summary, the Sacramento Housing Alliance and the Environmental Council of Sacramento specifically request [that] the City:

1. Establish specific policies and procedures to:

• Provide clear, consistent standards for evaluating the potential of publicly owned sites for disposition.
• Provide timely notice to public agencies and interested parties that a surplus site is available.
• Prioritize proposals for use of surplus properties that commit to making at least 25% of the housing units affordable to low income households.
• Prioritize proposals with the greatest number of affordable units at the most affordable price or rent.
• Ensure surplus property developed with 10 or more residential units include at least 15% of the units as affordable to lower income households.

2. Play a leadership role in maximizing the use of public surplus properties for affordable housing purposes by establishing a clearinghouse of sites available from all public agencies within the City including Regional Transit, public utilities, and RASA. In addition, the City should ensure all public agencies understand the law and their responsibilities regarding the use of public surplus property for affordable housing.

3. Evaluate establishing a phasing policy to maximize the potential reuse of surplus properties for affordable housing purposes.

4. Engage in a robust and transparent public process to establish such policies.

5. Encourage the Sacramento Area Council of Governments to establish a policy, similar to one adopted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the Bay Area, that incentivizes local governments using surplus public property for affordable housing purposes.

Click here to view the full letter to Facilities & Real Property Superintendent Richard Sanders.

MTP/SCS EIR Scoping Comments from ECOS

On May 25, 2019, ECOS submitted a letter outlining our comments and concerns about the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS) 2020 update, managed by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG).

The Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS) for the Sacramento region pro-actively links land use, air quality, and transportation needs. The current 2016 MTP/SCS was adopted in February 2016. The MTP/SCS is federally required to be updated every four years. The next MTP/SCS is required to be adopted by February 2020.

Click here to view the letter.