Five Inland Empire non-profits received grants to support their affordable housing projects from the Southern California Association of Governments in March. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports that the association called SCAG for short, says these awards are part of a commitment to elevating policy solutions with a racial equity lens.
“It’s been a difficult history in America with housing policy," said President of SCAG and Vice Mayor of Long Beach, Rex Richardson. "You can’t point to the good old days of housing policy. It’s an area that needs to continue to improve.”
Last summer, the local governments and agencies that make up SCAG, together declared racism a public health emergency. This spring, an initiative led by Richardson distributed $1.25 million to non-profits working to solve the housing crisis in Southern California with $425,000 going to Inland Empire groups.
“I personally believe that government is good at building systems [and] building programs," said Richardson. "And community groups are great at pointing out what’s wrong with the systems that we’ve built, and dismantling what doesn’t work.”
Those things don’t work haven’t for a long time and were only worsened by the pandemic. Things like racial segregation, homelessness and regional housing shortages said Richardson.
Now as governments are starting to shift to pandemic recovery efforts, the grants were distributed. Richardson said this is so that community groups can be folded into policy planning in an innovative way and help close the growing racial equity gap.
The five IE grant recipients are:
Lift to Rise. Scope: Fund planning activities to advance the production of affordable housing units in the Coachella Valley.
Inland Equity Community Land Trust. Scope: Collaboration with the City of Jurupa Valley
to champion affordable housing and elevate the voices of coalition partners in housing policy development.
Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire Inc. Scope: Expand upon current work with the Pueblo Unido Community Development Corp. to create an accessory dwelling unit initiative.
Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services/Inland SoCal Housing Collective. Scope: Create solutions to improve housing outcomes for renters, homebuyers, homeowners and those experiencing homelessness through education, advocacy and access to resources.
Just San Bernardino Collaborative. Scope: The collaboration of nine community-based organizations working together in the City of San Bernardino to engage residents and draft the People’s Plan for Economic Inclusion.