"Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history."
– Carter G. Woodson
Dear Friends, Partners, and Allies,
February is Black History Month. While we celebrate the significant achievements and stories of Black Americans, we should also pause and reflect on where we are, as a nation and as a state, in our efforts to realize racial justice. Within the housing system, we still see historic and ongoing displacement, exclusion, and segregation preventing people of color from obtaining and retaining their own homes and accessing stable, affordable housing in thriving communities.
As we remember how Blacks and all people of color have played a crucial role in building our country, we must continue to actively press for equity and inclusion within our systems and institutions. The best way to honor their contributions is to continue to break down artificial barriers so everyone has free and open access to pathways leading to stability, success, and prosperity. At Housing California, we know this journey starts with a place to call home.
That’s why Housing California and California Housing Partnership recently shared a sneak peek of the Roadmap HOME 2030 when we released our bold 10-year vision, 4 audacious goals, 5-pronged transformative, equity-centered framework with an initial package of 12 policy priorities for 2021 — to begin California’s journey together to advance racial justice, end homelessness, and create stable, affordable homes for all. Starting now, the Roadmap HOME will shape the way Housing California advances our work — from our Annual Conference and Lobby Day to our partnerships and policy agenda. Because we know that it takes a coordinated, all-in approach to shape a new narrative and shift and build power to create the systems changes and structural reforms our state needs to realize the true California Dream
Working with RUN leaders, legislative champions, and state and national partners, we are advancing solutions that reflect the vision of the Roadmap HOME — closing racial equity gaps and creating homes, health, and prosperity for all. For example, Assembly Bill 71 would create an ongoing source of more than $2 billion a year to end the cycle of homelessness for thousands of Californians by closing corporate tax loopholes. Assembly Bill 328 would shift cost savings from prison closures to affordable homes for formerly incarcerated Californians — rebuilding lives and communities.
By pushing for game-changing policies, we can create a state where racial, economic, social and housing justice become the norm and not the aspiration. Now I invite you to join us by reading more about these and other initiatives below and how you can take action today.
In solidarity, strength, and gratitude,
Joining the Movement
As we launch into the new year and a better future for us all, we ask you to consider making a donation or joining as a member to help us meet the monumental tasks in front of us. With your support, Housing California can do more to advance racial justice and create homes, health, and prosperity for all Californians.
Roadmap HOME 2030 announces its 2021 Priorities
"Small solutions don't solve big problems. As Senate Housing Committee Chair, I've prioritized big and bold ideas to solve our housing problems that match the scale of the crisis. While we have taken important strides these past few years, it's clear to me that it's time we had a long-term comprehensive plan like the Roadmap HOME."
-Sen. Scott Wiener
On January 26, Housing California and California Housing Partnership released the Roadmap HOME 2030 package of 12 policy priorities for the 2021 legislative session, developed in partnership with dozens of leading policy experts, researchers and statewide advocacy organizations. In order to create affordable homes, keep people housed, and end homelessness, California needs a comprehensive, strategic game plan with bold solutions and sustainable, ongoing funding. The Roadmap HOME 2030 delivers data-driven policy solutions that center racial equity and set clear mileposts for success.
The legislative session is underway, and we need our elected officials to go big to build momentum. We know they respond to pressure from constituents — can you join us by sending your legislator an email?
The campaign is working towards the launch of the Roadmap HOME 2030 in March. Stay in the know by signing up for updates.
COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout in Homelessness Response Systems
Join the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for a webinar on February 9, 2021 about the COVID-19 vaccine plan for Homelessness Response Systems. The webinar will feature presenters from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HCD, the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council, HUD Technical Assistance staff, and guests from a highlighted California community.
A New Deal for Housing Justice
As we start the year building messages that open minds, inspire change, and spur action, there are lots of great resources that can help guide us as we devise communication plans and messages that advance housing equity. One of our key partners, Community Change, just announced the public release of the New Deal for Housing Justice, a playbook rooted in racial justice for the first 100 days of the new Biden-Harris administration that advances a “homes for all” agenda. While Housing Playbook is designed to promote a comprehensive approach to housing justice in federal housing policy, you will find that their narrative frames may lend themselves to state or local policies as well. We encourage you to check out the New Deal for Housing website.
Help lift up the New Deal for Housing Justice by using this digital toolkit.
RUN Leaders Participate in Narrative Fellowship Program
Five RUN leaders from all over the state became Housing Justice Narrative fellows with Community Change, which co-created RUN with Housing California, at the end of January, undertaking a paid 10-month training program to learn about the joint communications research on race and housing that Community Change, Race Forward, and PolicyLink finished in 2020.
In future issues of the Capitol Reporter, we will lift up more resources and examples to help you develop a robust communication strategy that will resonate with your constituents and will inspire them to take action in support of your cause.
Building Power in the Building: Our First Virtual Lobby Day
Usually at our annual Lobby Day, a big group of Residents United Network (RUN) leaders and partners converge on the Capitol, split into teams, pump each other up at a mini-rally, and visit as many legislators as we can, all to make sure that elected officials have heard directly from people who live in affordable housing - and they vote for our bills.
This year will be a little different. None of us will board a plane to fly to Sacramento. Instead, we’ll do Lobby Day from our living rooms, “visiting” legislators on March 16, 17, and 18. It will be the same chance to speak to legislators about RUN’s policy priorities, just from a computer.
Everyone who attends will need to first register through this link and then get trained. RUN members should attend a series of three training sessions on Feb. 10, 17, and 24 (in Spanish on Feb. 18).
If you work in the field of affordable housing and homelessness and would like to join RUN members in lobby visits, please register here and then plan to attend our Ally Training on March 4 from 10:00am -11:30am.
Progress at the RUN Summit
In December, 70 RUN leaders and organizers gathered for a two-day virtual Summit to finish the “There Ought To Be A Law” process and decide on RUN’s priorities for 2021. In small groups, leaders discussed 15 issues that had come out of the brainstorming process, debating which were most urgent and most feasible in breakout rooms. The list was narrowed down to the following priorities:
- Tax corporations to fund affordable and permanent supportive housing through Bring CA Home (AB 71)
- Extend COVID eviction protections and provide debt relief for tenants who could not pay rent because of COVID
- Move money from prisons to affordable housing (AB 328)
- Tenant / Community Opportunity to Purchase, also known as TOPA/COPA
All four of RUN’s priorities are reflected in the Roadmap HOME’s package of 2021 policy priorities.
At the Federal Level
Calling for more Federal Support Today
In January, Housing California called for the urgent passage of President Biden’s proposed COVID-19 relief package, which would make bold progress towards housing justice by extending the federal eviction moratorium through September 2021 and by providing $30 billion in emergency rental and utility assistance and $5 billion to address the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness. At the same time, we urge President Biden and Congress to include recommendations from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) to ensure an equitable economic recovery and to address the health and safety needs of those most impacted by this crisis.
Democratic Congressional leadership is quickly pushing forward the next COVID-19 relief package, through a process known as budget reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority vote for passage. On Friday, February 5th, the US Senate and House of Representatives both passed a budget resolution, ensuring that the package will move forward in the reconciliation process.
The detailed contents of the final legislative package will continue to evolve in the coming weeks. This is where you come in! Please email your representative today urging them to include NLIHC’s recommendations so we can ensure health, safety and housing stability for those struggling the most during the pandemic.
At the State Level
Check our policy agenda for updates.
Housing Support and Services for Formerly Incarcerated Californians
In California, formerly incarcerated people, who are disproportionately Black and brown, are 27 times more likely to be unstably housed or homeless than the general public. Upon release, many former inmates still lack stable housing and have no access to employment, education, and services needed to forge a new life for themselves. Now, as the State proceeds to close prisons, it is slated to save hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Last week, Assemblymember David Chiu introduced Assembly Bill 328, which would use a portion of these savings to provide housing and services to formerly incarcerated people experiencing homelessness -- the kind of bold solutions the Roadmap HOME 2030 envisions. By shifting resources from mass incarceration to affordable housing opportunities, we can advance racial equity and unlock a meaningful chance for people reentering society -- and the communities that welcome them home -- to thrive. Stay tuned to learn how you can help urge legislators to support this critical bill. Assemblymember Chiu breaks down how AB 328 benefits us all.
It’s Time to Bring California Home
Housing California is proud to co-sponsor Assembly Bill 71 (L. Rivas) and co-lead the Bring California Home campaign, which launched in December. AB 71 is historic legislation that would establish a first-of-its-kind statewide approach and permanent source of funding, to reverse the cycle of homelessness in California.
By closing corporate tax loopholes and reinstating the 1980 corporate tax rate that ensures California’s major corporations pay their fair share, we can raise the revenue we need to fund housing programs and provide critical services for Californians struggling to find and secure a home. Check out the press release from Assemblywoman Rivas where our own Policy Director Chris Martin talks about the impact of this important bill.
Bring California Home is supported by a diverse coalition of elected officials, homelessness advocates, nonprofit leaders, and local governments from across California. For more information, visit the Bring California Home website, become an endorser, or follow on Twitter.
Governor Newsom Extends Eviction Moratorium
Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 91, a new measure to extend the eviction moratorium through June, and provide eligible landlords and tenants with relief. It also establishes a rental assistance program with $1.5 billion from the federal government, which will be used to help low-income tenants pay down their rental debt. Participating landlords could receive 80% of back rent for April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
The bill is a positive step towards helping struggling CA renters remain housed during the pandemic while enabling small landlords and nonprofit housing providers to stay whole. But we know more can be done to protect Californians from mounting debt and look forward to working with our partners and state leaders on crafting effective and equitable solutions.
Our Take on the State Budget
On January 8, Governor Newsom introduced his proposed budget. While the governor’s proposals will help reduce homelessness, increase the supply of affordable housing across California, protect renters from eviction and discrimination, and address racial inequities, our state needs a comprehensive, long-term strategy to truly close racial equity gaps and create stable, affordable homes for all Californians. Read our full joint statement with California Housing Partnership.
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