Throughout the streets of midtown last Tuesday could be heard the voices of 50 people chanting “Fairness, justice, housing now!” The Pilgrimage to City Hall in Support of Affordable Housing brought the Sacramento community together in the quest to save the Mixed Income Housing Ordinance. Sacramento Area Congregations Together (Sacramento ACT), Disability Organizing Group for Initiating Total Equality (DOGFITE), Resources for Independent Living, Marshall School/New Era Park Neighborhood Association, Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee (SHOC) and Mutual Housing California joined us in a march starting at Trinity Cathedral, stopping at St. Francis of Assisi Parish and St. John’s Lutheran Church, and ending at City Hall.
The landmark Sacramento Mixed-Income Housing Ordinance was created thirteen years ago as a way to ensure that as Sacramento grows, it provides safe, decent and affordable housing for its residents of all income levels in new developments. We felt it was important to attach a strong Mixed Income Housing Ordinance to the Housing Element, as this document is a legally-enforceable plan for housing in Sacramento.
City staff proposed that the ordinance should be now applied city-wide, which we believe could benefit Sacramento. The language presented in the Housing Element provides for a fee-out option. The reduction of redevelopment financing has diminished opportunities for affordable housing–and while the funds from this fee may expand the affordable housing trust fund, it is unlikely that these developments would house people of all income levels or be built in economically integrated areas. Creating inclusive and economically diverse neighborhoods is our ideal. If a fee-out option is available, we would hope to have a system based on the size of developments: in larger developments, building affordable housing would be required instead of paying the fee, while developers who build smaller communities would have the fee-out option.
Nearly twenty Sacramentans stood in front of the City Council and testified about the purpose of the ordinance: to create affordable housing in inclusive communities.
The Draft Housing Element was approved by the Sacramento City Council on September 3 and will be submitted to the Department of Housing and Community Development. An amendment was added to create a stakeholder’s committee in order to provide input on the Mixed Income Housing Ordinance when it comes up for review separately in the upcoming months. Although the details of the ordinance are not strongly included in the Housing Element, we can still influence the outcome of the ordinance independent of this plan.
We will keep you informed on the next steps needed to ensure that Sacramento is a city that houses people of all income levels. Thank you for your ongoing support and active advocacy.
Sacramento ACT took the lead in organizing this pilgrimage. Its members passionately advocated about the importance of affordable housing to the City Council. We are grateful for their partnership and look forward to continued collaboration.