Housing for People, Not Speculators

Last month, here in Oakland, Alameda County sheriff’s deputies broke down the doors of a home occupied by homeless Black mothers and their children. With guns drawn, and armored vehicles backing them up, the deputies evicted the group known as Moms 4 Housing – a small collective of women who are starting a movement to reclaim empty homes in Oakland. In Oakland, there are four times as many vacant homes as there are unhoused people. These women are challenging the status quo and forcing leaders across the country to confront how the housing market is failing us all.

As we observe Black History Month and honor the heroes who have challenged the laws of our country for the better, we must join today’s history makers and recognize that these times require bold action. PolicyLink proudly stands in solidarity with Moms 4 Housing, and is happy to share in this month’s update how we are working to advance innovative housing policies.

Partnership for the Bay’s Future: Challenge Grant Announcement

Last week, elected officials and community, business, and philanthropic leaders marked the first anniversary of the Partnership for the Bay’s Future by announcing the recipients of the first-ever “Challenge Grants” to seven Bay Area jurisdictions and nonprofit partners working to advance policy solutions to protect renters and preserve existing affordable housing. As part of the Challenge Grant award, each grantee jurisdiction has been matched with a mid-career fellow. As we announced in the fall, PolicyLink is managing the fellowship program, supporting fellows in accelerating solutions and implementing policy change. Grantees include:

  • Alameda County and Resources for Community Development
  • City of Berkeley and East Bay Community Law Center
  • City of East Palo Alto and the East Palo Alto Community Alliance and Neighborhood Development Organization (EPA CAN DO)
  • City of Oakland and the Bay Area For All (BA4A) Preservation Table
  • City of Palo Alto and SV@Home
  • City of Redwood City and Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County
  • City of San Jose and SOMOS Mayfair

The City of San José was also a participant in our Anti-Displacement Policy NetwoIrk, and recently released a Community Strategy to End Displacement that provides recommendations to produce new affordable housing, preserve existing affordable housing, and protect residents in rapidly-changing neighborhoods.

New York State Anti-Displacement Learning Network

Last month, Enterprise Community Partners announced the selection of ten municipalities and counties to participate in the New York State Anti-Displacement Learning Network. PolicyLink has partnered with Enterprise to manage the program implementation process and will apply many of the lessons from the All-In Cities Anti-Displacement Policy Network. Over the course of two years, participants will receive peer learning opportunities, one-on-one technical support, and up to $25,000 in funding. The program will also offer up to $10 million in additional grants from the state Attorney General’s office to implement high-impact strategies locally. All resources will aid the jurisdictions in strengthening their work to reduce or prevent displacement in their communities.

Selected municipalities include: Broome County, City of Buffalo, City of Elmira, City of Hudson, City of Ithaca, City of Kingston, City of Newburgh, City of Rochester, City of Syracuse, and New York City.

REMINDER: Apply for Cities & Counties for Fine and Fee Justice – Deadline 2/14

PolicyLink, The San Francisco Financial Justice Project, and the Fines and Fees Justice Center are excited to invite local leaders to apply for Cities & Counties for Fine and Fee Justice, a new national network of local officials committed to enacting equitable fine and fee reform. The deadline to join the inaugural cohort is THIS Friday February 14, 2020 by 6:00 p.m. PT / 9:00 p.m. ET.

Through the network, city and county officials will lead local teams to assess and reform fines and fees that disproportionately impact low-income people and people of color in their jurisdictions. Participating localities will receive $50,000 in grant funding, individualized technical assistance, budgeting/revenue forecasting support, assistance with messaging and press outreach, and training on a range of tools, strategies, promising policies, and best practices. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page for guidance, and apply here by Friday