Housing & Homelessness (News)

EPA's "environmental justice" tour comes to California

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 10/20/2010 - 10:57am

Environmental justice, a movement to focus attention on pollution in low-income communities, is a burning cause for Lisa Jackson, the first African American to head the U.S. Environmental Protection agency.  Over the last several months, Jackson has toured poor white, black and Latino communities with a message: Eco-issues aren't just for rich folks.

On Saturday, the EPA chief took a bus tour of low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay area, stopping at a Superfund site where the federal government is coordinating toxic chemical cleanup, and an urban food cooperative.

Long awaited Pleasanton development moves toward construction

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:18am
PLEASANTON -- The city council took action on three items Tuesday whose outcomes could affect the future landscape of the city.

Council members voted to approve development on the Staples Ranch site, ending years of delays and moving forward with the city's biggest development project since the Hacienda Business Park back in the early 1980s.

Good news for North Richmond’s jobless

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 09/03/2010 - 4:47pm

The median household income in unincorporated North Richmond is $8,763, less than half the federal poverty level for a family of four. In Richmond proper—itself considered an economically disadvantaged town—it’s a little more than $50,000.

 It’s this stark divide that reminds you that however economically bad things are in Richmond, where 17.5 percent of the city’s residents are unemployed, things just to the north are even worse.

“Peace” is her middle name

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 09/03/2010 - 4:15pm

Like many African American families, Mary “Peace” Head and her brood migrated to the Bay Area from Louisiana just before WWII in search of work and opportunity.

She would go on to work as a welder in the Richmond shipyards during the war. Head, who is now 83, later became one of the early residents of Parchester Village.  She’s been a leader in this small housing development since the 1950s, playing an instrumental role in securing funding for a neighborhood community center and acting as a quasi-guardian to generations of local kids.

She is called “Mary Peace” by neighbors and others throughout the city, a name she earned by flashing her customary “peace sign” with her right index and middle fingers.

In 1950, Parchester Village, named for wealthy developer Fred Parr, opened on land beyond the border of northwest Richmond.

It was billed as a community for “All Americans,” but the idea was ahead of its time.

Displaced Fillmore residents to see funds

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 09/01/2010 - 12:44pm

SAN FRANCISCO — Financial assistance and training will start flowing to hopeful San Francisco homebuyers who were evicted in past decades when the Fillmore and Japantown neighborhoods were razed and redeveloped.

Scores of homes and other buildings were demolished by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency in the 1960s and 1970s in the Western Addition redevelopment area.

Residents who were displaced from those homes are eligible to jump to the front of queues to buy low-income housing that is built by the Redevelopment Agency or city.


City Council Approves Settlement Agreement in Housing Cap Lawsuit

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 08/18/2010 - 12:31pm

City councilmembers unanimously approved a settlement agreement in the housing cap lawsuit during last night's meeting. 

By approving the agreement, city staffers can move ahead with executing the terms of the agreement. These items include:

  • A payment of $995,000 to plaintiffs, Urban Habitat, within 30 days. Another $995,000 will be paid off no later than July 31, 2011.
  • Removing the housing cap from the General Plan. Instead, the city will consider other"growth management" strategies that are consistent with state laws.
  • Rezoning of three sites in the Hacienda Business Park development project will have to incorporate state requirements. The agreement calls for, among other things, a set of development guidelines that sets a minimum density of 30 units per acre and allows for at least 15 percent of the housing units to be affordable housing.
  • Updating the City Housing Element to include discussion, identification and inclusion of housing for all income levels.
  • Adopting a resolution on non-discrimination housing policies and preparing a Climate Action Plan to address concerns on how the city analyzes environmental impacts of development projects.

Council signs off on agreement to scuttle housing cap, build more affordable housing

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 08/18/2010 - 12:24pm

The Pleasanton City Council agreed last night to pay $1.9 million in legal fees to two affordable housing coalitions in a 4-0 vote that also scuttled the city's voter-approved 1996 housing cap that was designed to prevent runaway residential growth.


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