The State of California will be investing more than $750 million in locations where jobs are plentiful, but housing and green transportation is not.
On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Strategic Growth Council announced plans to inject $757 million in “jobs-rich” areas to create more affordable housing and clean transit services.
The investment represents about 2,500 affordable homes, 150 zero-emission buses and more than 50 miles of new bikeways, the Governor’s office says, adding that the projects could remove the equivalent emissions of 178,000 gas-powered cars in a single year.
“California is reimagining communities around the state to address the ways our cities are changing – adapting to climate change and addressing housing scarcity,” Newsom said in a news release. “These investments will help cut carbon pollution and build more affordable housing as we look forward to a clean energy future.”
Funding for the initiatives will come through the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program, a statewide program that puts billions of dollars acquired through the state’s cap-and-trade system — which puts a cap on how much greenhouse gases large companies can emit and forces the companies to buy allowances for exceeding that cap.
AHSC is the state’s largest funding source for affordable housing, the Governor’s Office says. So far, the program has contributed more than $3 billion and helped build 17,000 homes and thousands of transportation improvement projects that officials say have reduced 5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Sixteen communities are expected to get funding for housing and clean transit projects, with hopes of building affordable housing in jobs-rich neighborhoods that are walkable and accessible.
Among the communities chosen for this latest round of funding, four are in Los Angeles, one is in Los Angeles County and another is in Riverside. One of the L.A. projects is a campus expansion of the Downtown Women’s Center, which provides services and housing for victims of domestic violence and women experiencing homelessness.
The announcement comes just days after the Governor revealed the state would be delivering $239 million to accelerate the process of building more than 5,000 green-friendly homes in several regions. Similar to Wednesday’s news, last week’s announcement targets neighborhoods that want to build cleaner, more walkable communities.
California has set ambitious goals to build 2.5 million new homes over the next several years, including 1 million specifically designated as “affordable.”
But the state is facing massive challenges. Earlier this month, the California Association of Realtors announced that housing affordability in the Golden State hit a 16-year low.
In response, Newsom has indicated he plans to cut red tape in order to build more green energy projects, particularly in the housing sector, to meet his lofty expectations.
Lourdes Castro Ramírez, Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary, said the state is working to meet the demands of the housing market by making “lifelong investments in people and places,” adding that this latest round of investments will give veterans, older Californians and families better access to jobs, transit and recreation.
California Housing and Community Development Director Gustavo Velasquez said the new homes will serve as a “foundation of opportunity” for individuals and struggling families, emphasizing that entire communities will reap the benefits from large-scale infrastructure investments.
For a complete list of chosen projects, how much money was awarded and a breakdown of how the money will be put to use, click here.