Where does an individual within a low-income family search for affordable housing in the Greater Sacramento Region? The Sacramento Housing Alliance is dedicated to serving homeless and low-income families by helping them find decent, safe, and accessible housing within their ranges of income. As part of a member based organization, Sacramento Housing Alliance is funded in part through grant writing. Whether in need of the housing services, or looking to volunteer and help other with their housing needs, their resources are easily accessible.
What is affordable housing and who benefits from these services? Housing is considered affordable when rent gets paid and the families have money left over for other expenses. The general rule to low-income families is that the rent of affordable housing does not exceed 30% of a household’s income. Who benefits from SHA’s programs? Any persons living on Social Security, seniors, working families, the homeless, and low- income families can qualify for the services and homes SHA has to offer.
SHA is not funded by a primary resource but from several different funding foundations. To name a few: California Endowment, James Irving Foundation, and California Wellness. They also receive some funding through the community from the banks because of the Reinvestment Act which requires a certain amount of the banks proceeds to go back into the community.
Those looking for housing in the Greater Sacramento area get referred to Sac Sub Help Housing which provides counselors to direct people to the specific programs they are eligible for. The services also assist with putting people and families on housing wait lists and getting into a referral system. In order to get involved as a volunteer through the advocacy, one may sign up for SHA’s E-News Letter that sends out useful action alerts.
Some events that are coming up through the Boards of Commission Institute include public issue forums, one particularly on November 19th. This event will be addressing segregation and inclusionary housing ordinances. There will be some historical information and discussion about where the city of Sacramento is at now in terms of how they are trying to desegregate neighborhoods. On December 17th they will be bringing up a renters movement explaining renters rights and the city’s rental inspection programs.
“It wasn’t until I was in high school and my mom got her house foreclosed on. I went to college to learn all these housing issues in theory. But there was this side where I literally didn’t know where she was going to sleep in one week. That really made it clear to me that housing is one of most important of these issues, to me at least. Because you have to have that in place before you can figure a lot of other things out,” said Veronica Beaty, the Land Use Policy Director of SHA.
Carly Wipf affordable housing, families, food, going green, green, low income housing, Mutual Housing, Non-Profit, nutrition, rooftop farming, rooftop garden, subsistence farming, Urban Farming, urban gardening, urban island effect, urban planning 0 Comment
Those living in the city may not need to travel far to catch a glimpse of modern agriculture. Sacramento non-profit Mutual Housing has plans to
trade in fields for rooftops.
The organization recently received a $40,000 grant from Enterprise Community Partners Inc. in Maryland to design a seven acre affordable housing development in South Sacramento where roofs will support gardens.
Mutual Housing Executive Director Rachel Iskow explains the wide variety of benefits people of low income areas can expect from this project. This new mix of architecture and agriculture could become a learning tool for youth that encourages healthy eating. “Children who understand how produce is grown and participate in the process are more likely to enjoy consuming produce,” says Iskow. Using the rooftop gardens as a means of food production can provide resources to families for subsistence farming, increased access to nutrient rich food, and more job opportunities for locals.
The surrounding environment can also anticipate some changes in the near future.
“Our environmental crisis calls for out of the box thinking and building,” say Iskow.
One of Mutual Housings main goals is to find solutions that will assist in closing the Green Divide, a division due to the lack of green infrastructure in low income areas supporting high minority populations. Integrating rooftop farms will help reduce CO2 levels, storm water runoff, and warmer city temperatures caused by the Urban Island Effect.
Despite the strong enthusiasm the organization has for this project, obstacles still stand in the way of making the dream a reality including lack of funds, resident and staff education, proper permits, and transportation of materials to rooftops.
“The benefits to the individual residents and to the community at large are many, however, and make it worth pursuing this vision,” says Iskow.
“We hope that many in our region will benefit from our research, design, and ultimately, if funding permits, our successful implementation of a working rooftop farm in our planned South Sacramento Mutual Housing Community.”