A Place to Call Home reveals climate program’s benefits
WEST SACRAMENTO — Billions of dollars of climate investments are flowing to California’s communities, but what does that really look like? A new video and updated mapping tool help show us.
The video, co-produced by TransForm and The Greenlining Institute, provides a glimpse of how California’s climate investments can transform the lives of real people – like West Sacramento resident Esther Robert and her family. In tandem with this video, a newly revised and updated version of TransForm’s ClimateBenefitsCA.org lets you easily search where these dollars are going and what they accomplish. A written version of Esther’s story is featured on UpLift California, created by Greenlining to highlight how California climate policies benefit underserved neighborhoods and communities of color.
The video A Place to Call Home features Esther, who lives with her four children in an affordable apartment complex in West Sacramento. Without the guaranteed below-market rent, she says, “I would probably be living with all of us in a studio apartment in some place I don’t want to be, just because that’s the only place I could afford to keep something over my head.”
Esther’s story is not unique: California’s communities face a huge housing affordability crisis, forcing working families to choose between spending more than half their income on housing, squeezing into inadequate or unsafe homes, or moving out of their communities.
California’s climate program is helping solve this crisis at the same time as it cleans the air and reduces greenhouse gases. Two essential laws, AB 32 and SB 535, enabled the program to charge polluters for carbon emissions, generating major funding for diverse programs including the development of affordable homes near transit. West Gateway Place in West Sacramento received over $6.7 million in climate investments, and will provide 77 units of affordable homes to residents.
“Creating affordable places to live near public transportation is a highly effective strategy for reducing climate pollution,” said Ryan Wiggins, Climate Policy Manager with TransForm. “Lower-income households living near transit drive less than half as many miles as wealthier households. Creating 15,000 new affordable homes near good public transportation would keep over one and a half million metric tons of greenhouse gases from polluting our air.”
Because of these dual benefits, environmental justice advocates strongly support using money from California’s climate program to build affordable housing near public transit throughout the state. In addition to West Gateway Place, slated to open this coming fall, over 30 projects received climate funds this year, in cities ranging from Stockton to San Diego, from Richmond to Riverside.
And that’s just one of the many ways the program is funneling climate funds to communities throughout the state. The impact has run into the billions of dollars in the first year alone, investing in over 400 projects to make our climate healthier while strengthening our communities.
“California’s climate investments are improving people’s lives,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez. “We’re not just tackling climate change, we’re bringing real help to communities that have historically been left out of economic prosperity or saddled with the worst pollution: affordable homes like Esther’s, better transportation choices, cost-cutting home weatherization, and much more.”
“California’s climate program remains under constant attack by the oil industry, which has spent millions of dollars to try to kill it,” said Wiggins. “But our climate policies make a real and positive impact on people’s lives, helping people like Esther have safe, affordable homes while cleaning the air we all breathe.”
Visit www.ClimateBenefitsCA.org to search for climate investments throughout California, and see the benefits for yourself.
For more stories on how these investments are transforming people’s lives across California, visitwww.UpLiftCA.org.