California’s pandemic program to shelter homeless people in hotels winding down in L.A., other counties
KTLA – November 25
Certain California counties, including Los Angeles County, are winding down a program that’s moved homeless people into hotel rooms amid the coronavirus pandemic despite an emergency cash infusion from the state. Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced $62 million for counties to move hotel guests into permanent housing or to extend hotel leases that were part of “Project Roomkey.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to pick up 75% of the cost. But counties say that with federal relief funding expiring soon, it’s time to transition residents from expensive hotel rooms to cheaper, more stable housing.
Bay Area planners: Less remote work, more green commutes
The Mercury News – November 20
After a barrage of criticism from Silicon Valley businesses and Bay Area mayors, Metropolitan Transportation Commission planners have backed off a requirement to have employees from big companies work from home three days a week. A compromise plan approved unanimously by commissioners in November calls for big companies to have 60 percent of their employees take sustainable commutes — by transit, bike, or carpooling — by 2035. Regional planners are struggling to meet state-mandated cuts to greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the next decade. The original proposal called for companies with more than 25 employees to have workers work remotely 60 percent of the time.
Flood risk for low-income housing due to climate change could triple by 2050
Yale Environment 360 – December 1
The number of affordable housing units in the United States at risk of flooding could triple over the next three decades due to climate change, to nearly 25,000 by 2050, according to a new study from the research group Climate Central. Low-income residents in New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are particularly vulnerable, with each state containing thousands of affordable housing units at risk of chronic coastal flooding in the coming decades. Locations in California and Florida were other hotspots of risk. The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found that this tripling will occur even if nations manage to drastically reduce their emissions, due to heating already locked into the climate system.
Along the crumbling Sonoma coast, an ambitious project paves the way for 'managed retreat'
Los Angeles Times – November 9
With the realities of climate change looming ever closer, California transportation officials are moving a key stretch of Highway 1 near Bodega Bay in Sonoma County more than 350 feet inland — one of the first major efforts by the state to relocate, or “manage retreat,” critical infrastructure far enough from the coast to make room for the next 100 years of sea level rise. Maintaining this critical stretch of Highway 1 has been a decades-long saga. It is the only evacuation route for many residents, as well as the only way to reach many of Sonoma’s beaches and sweeping vistas — the economic and cultural soul of the region.
Anaheim will cut rents on more than 1,000 middle-income apartments
The Orange County Register – November 16
Anaheim officials plan to lower rents at 1,017 apartments to create affordable “workforce housing,” using a new state program that aims to plug a hole in the housing market. The workforce housing finance program was created this summer by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority, an agency that helps local governments finance housing and infrastructure projects or assist private partners in buying, building, or rehabbing facilities that benefit the community or create jobs. Only a few cities, including Carson and Long Beach, have taken steps to join the new program.
San Jose bans natural gas in new commercial buildings
San Jose Spotlight – December 1
San Jose became the largest city in the country to ban natural gas in commercial buildings. The City Council voted 8-3 on December 1 to approve the ban, but in the wake of a public health crisis and not-so-distant memories of PG&E blackouts, lawmakers granted exceptions for hospitals, manufacturing plants, industrial facilities, and energy storage companies, which use natural gas, to provide a steady stream of fuel in case the grid goes dark. A handful of other California cities have banned natural gas, including Berkeley, Burlingame, and Menlo Park. Oakland joined that list last Tuesday, banning it in newly-constructed apartment and commercial buildings.