Using Data to Promote Fair Housing in the San Joaquin Valley

by Maya Abood, Community Development Specialist, California Coalition for Rural Housing, Sacramento, CA

May, 2015

A March 2014 meeting organized by the California Coalition for Rural Housing.

A March 2014 meeting organized by the California Coalition for Rural Housing.

When the U.S. Fair Housing Act was enacted in 1968, the goal was clear: protect home buyers and renters from unjust discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Yet, now, nearly 50 years later, racial and economic segregation remain entrenched at the local, regional, state, and national level.

Across the country, low-income communities of color have limited access to jobs, transit, and high-performing schools due to the ongoing legacy of redlining, housing discrimination, and systemic divestment from their communities.

In 2014, a total of 14 cities and dozens of community organizations in California’s San Joaquin Valley conducted an investigation into housing opportunity and racial segregation in the eight-county region. The resulting report, known as a Fair Housing and Equity Assessment (FHEA), was required by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant and reflected new federal regulations designed to affirmatively furthering fair housing.

The Center for Regional Change’s Regional Opportunity Index (ROI) provided the perfect platform to discuss spatial equity and analyze access to opportunity. Grant partners throughout the region used the online mapping tool during community outreach sessions, and analyzed the data as part of the final report submitted to HUD.

Many of the jurisdictions in this region are now using data from the FHEA and the ROI to develop their state-mandated housing elements, and to plan for more equitable, diverse and inclusive neighborhoods. The California Department of Housing and Community Development recently drew attention to the report, issuing a notice, encouraging local governments to proactively address the disparities that it highlights.

Maya Abood is originally from Stockton, California, where she first became interested in rural issues in the San Joaquin Valley. During her professional career, she has worked on a variety of local, regional, and state campaigns, on issues ranging from housing and community development, to public health and agriculture. She currently serves as the Housing and Community Development Specialist for California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH). In her free time, Maya enjoys traveling, cooking, and learning new languages.

Learn more about the work of the CCRH at http://www.calruralhousing.org/

Our Big Take-Away

by Alondra Young

youth leadership team

Youth Leadership Team members visited the UC Davis campus in June 2014. We took the bus and learned how close we are to campus and how to get back and forth! Left to right: Zelia Gonzales, Estefanie Reyes, Yeshayah Yisrael, and Tobiyah Yisrael.

Hey, it’s Alondra Young! I am the Building Healthy Communities Youth Engagement Coordinator from Sacramento! I had the privilege of working with the awesome people at the Center for Regional Change last summer, using their Putting Youth on the Map (PYOM) website. In late June, I and other youth leaders from Sacramento hopped on the local city bus and rode up to the UC Davis Campus from Sacramento. We were able to receive an introduction to PYOM, meet CRC faculty, staff and graduate students, and receive a pretty cool campus tour! During our training, we learned about the importance of data, navigated the PYOM site, read maps, and learned about the Youth Well-Being Index and the Youth Vulnerability Index

Our big take-away from this training was being able work with other youth leaders by using these tools. This introduction led us to host a four-session training for other youth leaders in the Sacramento area about how to use data in our advocacy work. We are now all working together and are using our data mapping skills on the Grades Up Campaign! This youth-led campaign is intended to provide youth with free academic and community resources that allow students to succeed in school. It also provides a platform for youth to build confidence and have an active voice in their education. PYOM has been a very useful tool in enabling us to get access to data, and providing a platform for youth to work together and have a voice!


 

CRC crew

We met up in the CRC Mapping Lab at UC Davis for a first look at Putting Youth on the Map. Left to right: Members of the Youth Leadership Team, including Sacramento Youth Engagement Coordinator Alondra Young, Estefanie Reyes, Zelia Gonzales, Tobiyah Yisrael and Yeshayah Yisrael; and UC Davis Center for Regional Change faculty and staff Nancy Erbstein, Sergio Cuellar and Sheryl-Ann Simpson.

Hi I’m Alondra Young, and I work for People Reaching Out, where I am the Sacramento Building Healthy Communities (BHC) Youth Engagement Coordinator. I am the adult ally who helps guide the Sacramento BHC Youth Leadership Team. This team is made up of 10 amazing youth leaders who are eager to create change in their community. For fun I LOVE to run. Just recently, I ran on a 12-woman relay team in a 205-mile race called Ragnar. We ran from San Francisco to Napa Valley!

CRC Tools in the Classroom: See the Connections

Professor Gloria M. Rodriguez, School of Education, University of California, Davis

Gloria Rodriguez

Gloria M. Rodriguez. Image courtesy of UC Davis School of Education.

I teach an undergraduate course through Chicana/o Studies called Political Economy of the Chicana/o Community every spring quarter. I have three mid-term papers that are opportunities for students to use publicly-accessible data (via websites, mostly) to do some analysis of the education, health, and labor conditions that intersect to shape the political economies of California’s Chicana/o-Latina/o communities.

Every year, there is some frustration — and lots of learning — about the (in)ability to find data in these three areas of interest that can be tied to the same geographical area. What typically occurs is that students have to make compromises, moving from presenting a school district or school-level analysis of their selected community, then having to present a city or county level analysis of the health and labor conditions. This means they lose a lot of that local connection when they work toward synthesizing what they’ve learned.

In 2013, one of my students was able to bring a CRC colleague to help the class use the pilot version of the Putting Youth on the Map (PYOM) tools, and it was a fantastic resource! The students who tried it were excited to see the connections among the data tables and maps. They also came away with a much deeper appreciation for why having full information and multiple data sources can empower communities to hold folks in power positions accountable for the challenges and barriers that keep people — particularly youth — from thriving.

It was an excellent supplement to the other data sources that the students were using. The layered design that allows for disaggregation of the PYOM data was useful to my students. I look forward to learning more about it, and if available next time I teach this course, I will certainly make it known to my students.


 

Gloria Rodriguez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education and the Co-Director of the CANDEL (Capital Area North Doctorate in Educational Leadership) Program at UC Davis. Her work focuses on the educational conditions and trajectories of Chicana/o-Latina/o communities, other communities of color, and low-income populations in the U.S. Her current research explores notions of educational investment. Learn more about Dr. Rodriguez’s work at http://education.ucdavis.edu/faculty-profile/gloria-m-rodriguez.

Working for the CRC: The Ultimate Millennial Experience!

by Meghan Jordan, CRC Web Designer

Last summer, I had an incredible opportunity to work for the UC Davis Center for Regional Change (CRC) as their web designer. While most of my friends were waitressing, getting coffee for their boss, or filing paperwork all day, I was entrusted to design an entire website on my own. From brainstorming to coding to seeing the site go live – I got to be there through it all!

The site I designed was for the CRC’s project called, Putting Youth on the Map (PYOM). I began work on this site as a project for my spring quarter (2014) undergraduate design class with Professor Glenda Drew of the Department of Design here at UC Davis. In this course we were given the option to try out a project for the CRC, Sesame (an energy group), or create our own project. I chose to work on a project for the CRC because I was excited by the work being done there, and wanted to see it more easily accessible to the public so others could be excited, too. I designed a potential portal page for the PYOM.

Following the conclusion of my design course, members of the CRC were able to review and critique my work, as well as that of my fellow classmates. Shortly thereafter, I was connected with Jonathan London, Nancy Erbstein, and Sergio Cuellar from the CRC. They were impressed by my work, asking me to continue the project and make the site a reality. Over the summer, I returned home to the Pacific Northwest and continued creating the website. So I had the ultimate millennial experience: I was able to work from home, 600 miles away from my job site at UC Davis!

The new PYOM site was launched August 26, 2014. Since then I have been helping design the CRC’s general website, including this blog. I’m excited to continue my work this school year with the CRC. This job has been unique and rewarding. I have been given a lot of responsibility to design and create a website on my own. The people I have had the opportunity to work with at the CRC have lots of innovative ideas, and I have the task of sharing these ideas via the website. This job has been a great opportunity to gain some valuable work experience that will pay off as my graduation date looms near!

Stay tuned for lots of exciting new projects!


Meghan JordanMeghan is a senior double-majoring in Design and Communication at UC Davis. Besides working for the CRC, she is a member of the Division 1 Lacrosse Team and works for UC Davis Athletic Communications. Check out her personal site here.

Image above: Screen shot of the Putting Youth on the Map site which can be found here.

Out of the Lab and into the World

by Geetika Joshi

Geetika Joshi and Jonathan London

November, 2014. Geetika Joshi joins CRC Director Jonathan London in preparing a sumptuous Indian dinner for colleagues, friends and family, celebrating the achievements of the CRC-UCD Collaboration Center partnership in 2014.

I joined the CRC in the summer of 2013 and stayed on as a post-doctoral researcher during 2014. As a graduate student working on environmental microbiology, this was an opportunity for me to get a taste of regional environmental issues. My project at the CRC aimed to develop effective relationships between multiple partners, such as biologists, medical science experts, engineers, regulatory agency personnel, environmental justice advocates and social scientists. The goal was to create a process that would allow community partners to help shape priorities for environmental and health science research. I worked closely with Jonathan London and Tara Zagofsky, and had the opportunity to learn from them about community engagement, facilitation and conflict resolution. This was a great addition to my skills as a research scientist. These skills were instrumental (along with my scientific background, of course) in helping me successfully interview for my current position at the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The CRC helped me take my rigorous scientific training out of the lab and into the world, beyond publications and academic conferences. I was, in a sense, like any product of environmental science research. Ideas are often born in a lab, tested out in the field, and eventually applied on a larger scale, in communities, where they improve people’s lives, lead to new inventions or products, or shape policy. I followed a similar path. I started at UC Davis by training in Soils and Biogeochemistry with Professor Kate M. Scow, then moved on to the CRC, and am now working for the State of California.

My experience at the CRC has also been emotionally rewarding. It helped me utilize my scientific skills and my love of science and science communication to focus on public engagement. I also gained a regional perspective and context in my areas of professional interest. This helped strengthen a “love for the land” In my heart and mind. I discovered a community outside the portals of academia. This has helped California feel more and more like a second home to me. As an immigrant far away from the home I grew up in, I find this has been a great personal gain. I feel fortunate to have worked with the entire CRC team, and am especially honored to have worked with Jonathan and Tara, who inspire great love and respect from all of their colleagues.

Dr. Geetika Joshi was born and raised in New Delhi, India, where she studied microbiology before joining the Soils and Biogeochemistry Ph.D. program at UC Davis. Her doctoral research with Professor Kate M. Scow focused on the role of microbes in the degradation of groundwater pollutants. At Davis, she fell in love with soils, while also exploring her interest in international development with the UC Davis chapter of Engineers Without Borders. It was her quest to connect the public with the sometimes esoteric world of scientific research that led her to work with the CRC.


Dr. Joshi also works with local museums to pursue her interest in science communication. In her leisure time, she loves to cook, especially desserts, and catch up on non-academic reading. She currently works as an Environmental Scientist for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The CRC: Mapping Food Deserts in Placer County

by Tricia Caspers Ross, Placer Community Foundation

Placer Food Bank celebrates the acquisition of its new Mobile Food Pantry with PCF Board Chair, Pam Constantino, and PCF CEO, Veronica Blake.

In fall of 2012, several members of the Placer Collaborative Network met regularly at the Placer Community Foundation (PCF) to brainstorm as to how best to support local food pantries. As a result of these discussions, a task force surveyed 65 local feeding organizations and compiled a report. A few important facts from the report include:

  • 1 in 8 Placer County residents does not know where he or she will find his/her next meal
  • Applications for CalFresh/Food stamps have increased 200 percent in Placer County since 2008
  • Most food pantries lack the refrigeration needed to provide recipients with fresh produce
  • A food desert map was needed to pinpoint areas where pantries are located and where residents lack services
  • A refrigerated truck could be used as a mobile food pantry to deliver fresh produce to local food pantries

Placer Community Foundation supported the Placer Food Bank to work with the CRC to create a food desert map. Using the information that the CRC’s map provided, the food bank was able to map out a delivery schedule for its mobile food truck.

A mobile food truck was purchased in May 2014, with a $43,000 grant from the Placer Community Foundation’s Community Needs Fund. The truck is refrigerated and visits a different community each day, expanding the reach of the Food Bank significantly and removing the need for refrigerators at each food pantry.