Hope Solutions’ Resident Empowerment Program (REP) continues to advance our organization’s policy and advocacy efforts, resulting in some exciting new opportunities. Hope Solutions is pleased to announce a partnership with Multi-Faith Action Coalition (MFAC) and the City of Antioch who together have been awarded a $500,000 Breakthrough Grant focused on advancing equitable housing policies in Antioch. A program of the Partnership for the Bay’s Future and managed by the San Francisco Foundation, the Breakthrough Grant is a cohort program of local governments and community-based organizations interested in catalyzing policy change to preserve existing affordable housing and create new affordable units.
Hope Solutions’ Resident Empowerment Program (REP) leaders, together with advocates of MFAC, will drive the community organizing efforts that amplifies the voices of low-income persons, disenfranchised individuals, and minority ethnic and racial groups as well as residents with lived experience of homelessness. The two key policy areas are: leveraging unused faith-owned land for new affordable housing and encouraging the building of ADUs, especially among low-income homeowners. The focused work in Antioch will help us learn from and lay the groundwork for future action and lasting impact in other communities in the county.
To meet this challenge, the REP team is looking to expand with a priority on Antioch residents. The REP Program empowers affordable housing residents to advocate for the creation and retention of affordable housing and supportive services by helping leaders develop the advocacy, public speaking and leadership skills needed to speak truth to power. We are thrilled to be partnering with East Bay Housing Organization (EBHO) to provide training to the new REPs.
The REP team will build on their efforts of the past months where they helped shape the policy landscape through active participation in local cities’ efforts to update the Housing Elements of their General Plans. Cities are required to update their Housing Elements every five or eight years and the plans are used to guide housing preservation and production policies and decisions. The REP team participated in Antioch community meetings, ensuring that the voices of people with lived experience were heard in the planning effort. The REP team spoke in favor of plans that streamline zoning and permitting processes and remove barriers for housing development on faith institution land.
In addition, the REP team has also been supporting key state legislation, long-term planning and funding that would support housing and homeless services. This includes flexible aid to local entities in support of rapid-rehousing, subsidies for supportive housing units, and permanent housing. It also includes support of Project Homekey which offers the pathway to permanent housing from Project Roomkey’s temporary, emergency shelter options.
With the continued efforts of our incredible supporters, Hope Solutions and the REP team will continue to tackle the problem of homelessness at a local and legislative level, helping to lay the foundations for a future where everyone in Contra Costa County has access to safe and stable housing.
This article was first published in the 2022 Spring/Summer Homepage Newsletter.