The San Francisco Bay Area is a prosperous and diverse region, with the highest GDP per capita in the U.S. and nearly sixty percent people of color. We are one of the most progressive regions in the country, with climate investments and emission reduction policies setting an example both nationally and internationally. However, while our diverse, growing population and far-reaching policies are major opportunities to build thriving and sustainable communities, our region is facing growing threats to our health and well-being.
Our recent regionally-focused projects include:
Bay Area 4 All (BA4A) is the Bay Area site of the national Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC), a three-year, $90 million initiative to amplify locally driven efforts to ensure that major new infrastructure investments lead to equitable and healthy opportunities for everyone.
Over three years, this partnership will award $1 million in direct grant and technical assistance funds to GCC, 6 Wins for Social Equity Network (6 Wins), and Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) under the collaborative, Bay Area 4 All (BA4A.)
BA4A prioritizes community voice in decisions regarding preservation of “naturally occurring affordable housing” and public land disposition. Community-driven sustainable development is the innovation we are piloting as an essential tool for establishing healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities. Our goals are to (a) keep low-income and vulnerable residents in transit- and jobs-rich neighborhoods and (b) create long-term pathways for protecting communities from the dramatic peaks and lows of the housing/real estate cycles that have devastated and destabilized communities over decades.
The economy is booming in the San Francisco Bay Area, spurring enormous job creation and an influx of new high-earner households. But rapid growth is placing extreme pressure on housing markets, and for the region’s lower income communities – which are disproportionately communities of color and were already experiencing high rates of housing cost burden – this has translated into escalating rents and rises in evictions. These gentrification and displacement pressures threaten economic and racial diversity of the region in the long-term. What would it look like to change this trajectory and guide growth and development in a more equitable manner? What are the needed policy tools and how can diverse stakeholders come together to make change?
Together with the Community Development team at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, and the Urban Displacement Project at the University of California at Berkeley, we are hosting a four-part workshop series on Investing without Displacement.
Visit the Urban Displacement Project’s website on the series to download materials, learn about upcoming workshops, and get involved.
GCC is working closely with BART and VTA staff and Boards of Directors to accelerate equitable TOD in the region. This work includes both:
1) Convening a TOD Implementation Working Group that brings together and aligning different tools and resources to develop innovative cross-sector strategies to encourage development that supports the implementation of Plan Bay Area. This group currently includes BART, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Bay Area Regional Collaborative, Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH), California Housing Partnership Corporation (CHPC), Enterprise Community Partners, TransForm, and Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF).
2) Supporting four GCC partners to work with transit agency staff and Boards of Directors to find ways to proactively support equitable transit-oriented development. These organizations include: Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA), Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG), TransForm, and East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO). Update on the policies adopted by these agencies coming soon!
Since 2016, GCC has worked with our partners to organize around the CASA process to amplify the presence of equitable solutions for affordable housing in the region. CASA – the Committee to House the Bay Area – is an effort convened by MTC and includes a diverse, multi-sector set of partners to identify and recommend game-changing regional solutions to the Bay Area’s chronic housing affordability challenges.
Fred Blackwell, CEO of The San Francisco Foundation, is one of the three co-chairs of CASA, and convenes an “Equity Kitchen Cabinet” with GCC staff to create and amplify the equity strategy within the CASA process and is responsible for amplifying housing strategies with a protection first framework: (1) increasing affordable housing production, (2) preserving existing affordable housing, and (3) protecting vulnerable populations from displacement. BARHII provides staffing supporting for this effort and the 6 Wins for Social Equity Network and their member organizations are key members.
In addition to centering the need for anti-displacement measures within the CASA process, the group is actively pushing for data and analysis in the form of geographical overlays that will ensure that policies are layered based on specific conditions within neighborhoods. The goal is to avoid a one size fits all approach that has the potential to exacerbate current gentrification and displacement.
Relatedly, GCC and partners are leading on embedding a racial equity frame into the analysis of the final compact, which has the two-fold benefit of mitigating impacts of CASA recommendations on our priority communities while also increasing MTC’s capacity to utilize a racial equity frame in current and future planning for the region.
Lastly, the GCC public land working group submitted public land recommendations to the CASA process recommendations where they have gained traction and GCC is currently strategizing with partners about how to ensure that public land is established as a key tool in the final set of recommendations.
Read more about the ongoing work of CASA on MTC’s website here.
Read GCC’s Public Land Working Group recommendations to CASA here.
Older regionally-focused projects include:
GCC explored the potential of a new “Quality of Life” funding measure to implement Plan Bay Area. The goal of the Initiative would be to create a funding and expenditure program of $750 million to $1 billion per year to fund transit operations, open space preservation, and affordable housing development near transit. Update on this initiative coming soon!
GCC helped secure a $5 million grant from the HUD’s Sustainable Communities Partnership Program for the Bay Area Prosperity Plan. Our regional agencies, MTC and ABAG, led a three-year initiative to create stronger, more sustainable communities by integrating housing and jobs planning, fostering local innovation, and building a clean energy economy. Visit this page to learn more about what this work produced.
GCC has been instrumental in shaping Plan Bay Area, the region’s first integrated plan required under the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (Senate Bill 375). Our collective advocacy has resulted in the following wins:
- 87% of funding ($253 billion) to maintain and operate the current transportation network, and only 5% designated for new roads
- Cities that approve and produce affordable homes will be rewarded with transportation funding
- At least 25% of new cap and trade funding will support disadvantaged communities
- A new comprehensive strategy for local transit operating support
- The first-of-its-kind conservation grant program for protecting natural and agricultural lands
Read more about GCC’s involvement with Plan Bay Area at The San Francisco Foundation.