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

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Anti-gentrification effort aims to shape Aggie Square

By Felicia Alvarez, Staff Writer
February 18, 2020
Sacramento Business Journal

A group of residents under the name Sacramento Investment Without Displacement are calling for Aggie Square’s planners and developers to help protect the area against gentrification.

The group is advocating for a “community benefits agreement” that would make some of those protections legally enforceable, said Gabby Trejo, the group’s leader.

Sacramento Investment Without Displacement is working with a coalition[*] that includes the Sacramento Housing Alliance, the La Familia Counseling Center, Sacramento Area Congregations Together and Building Healthy Communities’ site in Oak Park, which is part of a $1 billion community development initiative by The California Endowment. Trejo is also the executive director of Sacramento ACT.

Click here to read this article.

*ECOS is proud to be a part of this coalition! Click here to learn more about Aggie Square and how ECOS is involved.

Image by Sri Harsha Gera from Pixabay

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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.

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