Shaping Housing Policy, Advocacy, and Development: Collaboration with the California Coalition for Rural Housing
For the past several years, the CRC has enjoyed a collaboration with the California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH) as a way to support affordable housing developers, advocates, and policymakers at the frontlines of affordable housing production, preservation, and protection across the state. Based in Sacramento, CCRH is one of the oldest low-income housing coalitions in the country, working to promote and preserve affordable housing and sustainable, healthy communities throughout Rural California. CCRH’s programs focuses on advocacy, community asset building, research and education, and technical assistance on how to access and use the myriad housing programs available to farmworker, tribal, and rural communities. Two projects that the CRC team has assisted with include the San Joaquin Valley Healthy Homes Project and the Inclusionary Housing Database.
San Joaquin Valley Healthy Homes Project
Research shows that the more a household spends on housing, the less they have for other necessities that improve health outcomes, such as high quality food, medicine, and health care. Additionally, housing that is close to “high-amenity” resources – such as access to public transportation, schools, and healthy food options – also affects overall health. Unfortunately, sites identified for affordable housing development are frequently far removed from these key amenities. With these concerns in mind, CCRH partnered with the CRC, with generous funding from the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund, to map locations of high amenity sites for affordable housing developments in the San Joaquin Valley. This process included gathering parcel and zoning data in the 8-county region, overlaying these data with key high-amenity locations, and identifying high-density, residential parcels within certain distances of these key amenities. One of the many findings from this research is that of all the parcels analyzed across the San Joaquin Valley, only 8% were high-amenity, and only 4% were both high-amenity and zoned for higher housing density. The CRC created an interactive, online map to display the results, and the maps can be used by residents, advocates, developers, city staff, and elected officials. With the assistance of Ted Bradshaw Scholar, Samar Lichtenstein, the CRC also published an accompanying Story Map. The hope of this research and mapping process is to explore questions regarding land use and equity and to provide guidance when advocating for funding for affordable housing developments.
Inclusionary Housing Database
Inclusionary housing programs and policies are important in the development of affordable housing, especially in high opportunity areas with access to amenities such as employment centers and high performing schools, where rents and home purchase prices are unaffordable for many low-income residents. Generally, these local policies require developers to sell or rent a certain percentage of new units to lower-income residents, dedicate land that will used to build affordable homes, or pay a fee in lieu of building the housing. CCRH created the first ever database of California jurisdictions with these policies in the late 2000s and has since updated the database, which now includes over 200 inclusionary housing, as well as housing impact and commercial linkage fee, programs throughout California. Funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, CRC and CCRH have partnered to transform this database into an interactive and searchable online database, with a spatial component to better understand the communities that are, or aren’t, being served by Inclusionary Housing other local programs. This is a work in progress, which we hope to make public in late 2021.