International Honors for Mutual Housing’s Sustainable Housing Model

A member organization of the Environmental Council of Sacramento, Mutual Housing California has been honored with the 2017 World Habitat Award. Each year the World Habitat Awards, in partnership with the United Nations–Habitat, are presented to two outstanding and innovative housing projects—from more than 100 entries from across the globe. The judges—who include Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing—choose developments and providers that not only produced outstanding housing solutions, but also can be copied elsewhere.

Mutual Housing at Spring Lake being 100% Zero Net Energy, means the utility bills are extremely low. Built in 2015, the 62-apartment and townhome community generates energy by solar panels installed on buildings and carport roofs to meet its electricity needs. Each home has a real-time, color-coded meter that helps residents track their energy use and stay within expected amounts for their apartment size. A water-based system for heating and air-conditioning also contributes to the energy savings, which are expected to reach 45,439 kilowatt hours and $58,000 annually.

The community has received LEED platinum certification, the first for a multi-family affordable housing development in Yolo County. The community also received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor airPLUS certification and a Cool Davis Climate Solution Award in 2016.

Mutual Housing’s sustainability commitment and breakthrough of providing zero net energy to a very low income population is remarkable but, what sets Mutual Housing apart is more than physical housing. The World Habitat award also highlights their achievement in providing a high-quality housing option that is affordable to agricultural workers and their families – many of whom struggle with housing insecurity. The estimated 6,000-plus agricultural workers in Yolo County endure some of the worst housing conditions—and most dangerous jobs—in the country.

“We are grateful to receive the 2017 World Habitat Award—and to join the ranks of so many remarkable finalists that are improving the housing conditions of people facing enormous challenges,” said Roberto Jiménez, Mutual Housing CEO. “We’re proud to have developed the first certified Zero Net Energy Ready rental-housing community in the USA, and equally proud that agricultural workers and their families are the beneficiaries of this achievement.”

Further still, Mutual Housing’s resident engagement work is broad and deep. They work with adults, children, and the elderly in a way which is inclusive and empowering, with a multiplicity of programs that speak to the genuine interests and challenges of resident members.

“Through the Community Organizer and other staff I have been presented with opportunities to work though some of my past traumas and grow my leadership skills,” said resident member Hector Sanchez. “We strive to build a community with one another knowing that each of us shares a connection to the agricultural land.”

The Environmental Council of Sacramento congratulates Mutual Housing California. The honor validates the exciting work being done as they continue to push the envelope of sustainable housing.

The other winner was the Post-Haiyan Self-Recovery Housing Programme in the Philippines. After the widespread devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, this project helped more than 15,000 families rebuild their homes and self-recover.

Instead of relocating families, the project helped people rebuild their housing using locally available materials and debris from destroyed houses. This means families were reached and helped more quickly and fewer were forced to leave the area. They also gained useful skills in the process.

“All of this year’s World Habitat Awards finalists are interesting and important,” said Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing. “They are helping so many people in difficult and vulnerable circumstances.

“Billions of people across the world still lack a safe home. These remarkable projects show that it doesn’t have to be like that,” said David Ireland, Director of World Habitat, funders and coordinators of the World Habitat Awards.

“Brilliant people and ideas have come together to show that people on low-incomes can live safely free from the fear of disease, natural disasters and insecurity.”

The World Habitat Awards began 30 years ago with the first awards being given in London in 1986 by HRH the Prince of Wales and the Dr. Arcot Ramachandran, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, at the time.

Run with support from UN-Habitat, the World Habitat Awards are the world’s leading housing awards. Full details can be found at www.worldhabitatawards.org.

Mutual Housing will be presented with the award in February at a United Nations conference in Malaysia. And coming up in March, the organization will break ground on the second phase of this housing community, planned to achieve positive net energy.

Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Columbia, Md.-based Enterprise Community Partners funded capacity-building grants to further Mutual Housing’s work in rural communities and sustainable development.

Founded in 1988, Mutual Housing California develops, operates and advocates for sustainable housing for the diversity of the region’s households.

A member of NeighborWorks America—a congressionally chartered nonprofit organization that supports community development nationwide—Mutual Housing has more than 3,200 residents, nearly half of whom are children.

For information, visit www.mutualhousing.com.

To get a chance to hear from Mutual Housing California in person, please attend the ECOS Board Meeting on January 23rd, 2018.

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Urban living in a suburb? Developers say that’s the latest trend in Folsom and Davis

By Hudson Sangree

November 12, 2017

The Sacramento Bee

In place of big houses and sprawling lawns, some buyers in the Sacramento suburbs are opting for townhomes or densely packed houses on tiny lots.

Click here to read the full article.


ECOS would love to see developers in our region pursue denser housing and walkable communities as the new norm, especially in Folsom. Let our region lead in reducing vehicle dependence and greenhouse gas emissions!

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Help Us Defeat Plans to Widen US-50!

Do You Want More Traffic, Noise, and Pollution in Your Neighborhood?

Local Sacramento residents are taking action on a serious threat to our neighborhoods – CalTrans intends to WIDEN Sacramento’s US-50 through Downtown Sacramento from I-5 to Watt Boulevard. We must act now! Our quality of life and our climate are at stake.

WHY NOT WIDEN THE HIGHWAY?
As concerned citizens, we want Sacramento to be a Green City and a Livable City.
Widening highways makes us just another dirty city because it:
1. Increases noise and air pollution (including greenhouse gases)
2. Induces demand (encourages people to drive more who wouldn’t otherwise). Expanding our freeways won’t decrease congestion.
3. Other local needs should take financial priority.

WHAT ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING?
Bigger freeways and more cars increase our emissions, making it impossible to do our part to halt global warming. Fact: we cannot meet our regional goals for GHG reductions unless we develop real alternatives to driving.

ISN’T THIS A CARPOOL LANE?
CalTrans is disingenuously calling this project “green” under the guise of a carpool lane. Carpool lanes have been shown to not significantly increase the number of people who carpool or the throughput of people. We support turning an existing lane into a carpool lane, or even turning this proposed lane into a transit only lane.

WE’RE CHALLENGING CALTRANS
With this lawsuit we are demanding that CalTrans acknowledge and compensate for the increase in greenhouse gas emissions and traffic impacts that will result from more cars and more car trips on a wider freeway. We want to stop these projects in our area and have the money spent on transportation that keeps our streets livable and unclogged, gives us transit that gets us where we need to go, and helps reverse climate change.

WE NEED MONEY TO WIN
We must raise $11,000 to take this stand to cover our legal fees. You can take the stand with us by contributing online on our “gofundme” page, or by donating to ECOS directly via our website (www.ecosacramento.net) by clicking the donate button. (Just be sure to mark your donation for “Highway 50 litigation” – donations are tax deductible.)

WITH YOUR HELP – WE CAN WIN!

Click here to read more about the project on the Caltrans website

Click here to read our July 2017 press release.

Click here to read the article published by the Sacramento Bee about this lawsuit.

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