California Strategic Growth Council awards $600 million to 41 projects for resilience, revitalization and environmental justice

On June 26, 2020, 41 innovative projects that aim to address diverse needs in communities across California are set to receive awards ranging from $168,000 to nearly $30 Million after the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) approved more than $600 Million in State funding.

The awards span four community investment programs. Three programs – Transformative Climate Communities, Climate Change Research, and Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) are funded by Cap-and-Trade dollars through the California Climate Investments Program. The Wildfire Recovery and Resilience Planning Grant Program is supported by Proposition 84 funds. The $552,349,862 awarded through AHSC represents the single largest allocation of affordable housing funding currently available in California.

Whether it’s urban heat, wildfire, or flooding, California communities face continued threats from climate change. But those most at risk often lack sufficient resources to adapt and build resilience,” said Kate Gordon, SGC Chair, Director of the Office of Planning and Research, and the Governor’s Senior Advisor on Climate.

This $600 Million suite of investments by California Strategic Growth Council not only helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it also directly supports the most vulnerable California communities – from urban to rural – as they build resilience to climate impacts through collaborative, equity-focused solutions,” she added.

The Council approved awards totaling $48,715,384 through the Transformative Climate Communities Program (TCC), an environmental justice initiative which empowers the communities most affected by pollution to choose their own goals, strategies, and projects to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and local air pollution. The Council awarded TCC Implementation Grants to the cities of Oakland ($28.2 M), Riverside ($9,080,894), and Stockton ($10,834,490); all three Implementation Grantees received Planning Grants in TCC’s first Round.

Also in the third round, SGC awarded $600,000 in Planning Grants ($200,000 each) in San Diego, Porterville, and Pomona; these grants help communities undertake integrated planning activities related to equitable, sustainable community development, including building partnerships and developing shovel-ready projects that help prepare them to seek implementation dollars from the State and other sources.

In the fifth funding round of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC), the Council awarded $552,349,862 to 26 diverse projects in regions across California. These projects will help build healthier communities and protect the environment by increasing the supply of affordable places to live near jobs, stores, transit, and other daily needs.

Among the AHSC Round 5 awardees is the program’s first Tribal applicant. The Yurok Indian Housing Authority (YIHA) will receive $11,447,114 for project in the Arcata area that will integrate Yurok traditions while building 36 affordable housing units, a multi-use trail, electric vehicle charging capacity, and expanded bus service. The application from YIHA came after the Council approved the addition of Tribal set-aside for AHSC Round 5, following an extensive review of the communities served the program.

These Round 5 Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities investments are the single largest allocation of affordable housing funding currently available in California,” said Lourdes Castro Ramirez, Secretary of the California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, which oversees the California Department of Housing and Community Development, SGC’s administrative partner in the AHSC program. “It has never been more important for the State to invest in affordable housing integrated with clean and accessible transit that connects residents to good jobs and quality services. Congratulations to all AHSC awardees – it will be very exciting to see these projects come to life.

SGC’s Climate Change Research Program supports science-to-action, engaging both researchers and community partners in all stages of the research process to advance California’s climate change goals. Through this innovative program, the Council awarded six research grants totaling $4.75 million.

The funded projects engage communities in actionable climate change research and cover a diverse range of topics, California regions, academic institutions, and partners. Two of the projects fully fund partners – community-based organizations and Tribal Governments – as co-Research Leads or co-Principal Investigators. In addition, two projects funded in this round fully integrate and support Tribal partnerships.

In partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the California Department of Conservation, SGC awarded $720,000 to four communities affected by catastrophic wildfires in California in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Through the Proposition 84 Wildfire Resilience and Recovery Planning Grants Program, the Town of Paradise, City of Moorpark, County of Sonoma, and City of Ventura will receive grants ranging from $167,543 to $198,342 for wildfire resilience and recovery planning activities to support general plans, vulnerability assessments, wildfire protection plans, and other efforts that advance climate planning.

We are thrilled to make these awards to high-impact projects by deserving applicants,” said SGC Executive Director Louise Bedsworth. “All four programs – Transformative Climate Communities, Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities, Climate Change Research, and Proposition 84 Wildfire Resilience and Recovery – are highly competitive; nevertheless we saw many more qualified projects than we were able to fund. We are inspired by efforts across California to build healthy, thriving, resilient, and equitable communities.

Both TCC and AHSC offer Technical Assistance (TA) to help navigate the application process. Fourteen successful AHSC applicants received TA and all TCC Implementation Grantees did as well. In addition, awardees in three separate programs benefited from customized TA provided through SGC’s BOOST partnership with the Institute for Local Government: the City of Ventura received a Prop 84 award; the City of Arcata is a partner on the AHSC award to the Yurok Indian Housing Authority; and Environmental Health Coalition – San Diego won a TCC Planning Grant.

Photo by Jolleanne Brittain / Yurok Indian Housing Authority.

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