Housing

Richmond LAND Presents Black LAND, Power, and Futures

By Kyndelle Johnson

Unidentified Earl Lewis Junior High School students during a trip to Boston Redevelopment Authority Washington Park site office, 105 Crawford Street, by Joseph Runci (1965)

There will be a teach-in taking place online, via Zoom on February 28th, 2022 at 6pm. Richmond LAND presents Black LAND, Power, and Futures will feature local historical experts and community leaders. There will be opportunities for in-depth discussion. 

Since 2000, the Black population in our city has decreased nearly 40%. The amount of rich wisdom, history, cultural strength, and diversity has plummeted with the mass displacement of our community members. This phenomenon is not happening without a great deal of historical disinvestment and exclusion as context. Our organization’s goal is to build power toward community-controlled development in Richmond. To understand how we can best protect our Black neighbors, and build sustainable and empowering housing for our community, we must be grounded in our city’s history.

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Supporting Our Unhoused Neighbors this Winter

By Diana Wear and Daniel Barth

Streets Team leader Tshombe Perkins, with Buddy Bennett, Cyntha Simpson, and  Deborah Young cleaning along S Collins in Parchester Village, by Maurice Tierney

Our unhoused neighbors don’t have sturdy structures to protect them from the elements and the colder-than-usual climate has been hard. The city and its local organizations are pressed to address this crisis. In our county, 2 of 5 unhoused people are Black/African American, four times the county’s black population. In Richmond, African Americans are 54% of the homeless population.

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Towards Staying Power: How Richmond LAND’s Model Resists Displacement

Left: Richmond LAND team (Valerie Jameson, Ciera Jevae “CiCi” Gordon, and Mia Carbajal) and residents of S.24th St. building (Dale Riggins and Cynthia Osorio-Hernandez) in front of Mr. Riggins’ home.

Right: Image of S.24th St/Foothill Ave. in the Southside neighborhood where building is located.

Authored by Mia Carbajal and Valerie Jameson

The purchase on S. 24th Street is a culmination of the visioning and determination that took place over the past 18 months to grow Richmond LAND into a vessel for grassroots power that offers alternatives to safe and stable housing and prevents further displacement of existing residents through the Community Land Trust (CLT) model.

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Filling the Need

The COVID-19 moratorium on evictions of renters is phasing out.  As a result, we are likely to see a big increase in homelessness here in Richmond which has a large vulnerable population.

There is, however, an important program where the State of California is distributing $2.6 billion in renter and utility relief to those renters hit hardest by the pandemic. Applying for the program also provides some protection.

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Help Textbank All Richmond Renters and Landlords!

There is a lot of state and federal money available for renters who have fallen behind on rent and utilities. Landlords can apply for money as well. Fewer people than expected are taking advantage of this help, probably because they don't know about it or find the application process too difficult. Not everyone is aware that non-citizens can qualify for assistance.

That's why we will text bank every number we can get our hands on to educate renters and landlords about the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program. To reach everyone, we need many volunteers to help with text banking. Will you join us? RSVP using these links:

COVID 19 Rental Assistance Textbank 11/5

COVID 19 Rental Assistance Textbank 11/6

COVID 19 Rental Assistance Textbank 11/7

RPA and SOS! Richmond Building Relationships

Councilmember Eduardo Martinez meets with residents of the Castro RV encampment.

The RPA Membership met this past Spring and again in late September to explore securing greater public safety in our city. We hosted a panel of speakers who were asked to share 1) the main public safety issues facing their community; and 2) what their community might need from the RPA and how we can build a reciprocal relationship. Two speakers from Safe Organized Spaces Richmond represented our unhoused community members.

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Join the Next Meeting of the Housing Action Team!

From homelessness services to tenant protections, housing issues in Richmond are hugely important. RPA's Housing Action Team (HAT) needs help from more members to work toward affordable and fair housing outcomes.

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Richmond Passes Real Eviction Protection

Out of all the strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19, the ability for people to isolate is one of the most obvious and impactful. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that stopping all US evictions and utility shutoffs through November of last year could have saved 164,000 lives lost to the virus. Never has there been a more urgent need to prevent individuals from sliding into homelessness. 

On March 23, the Richmond City Council passed a an urgency ordinance to enact a temporary moratorium on evictions related to the pandemic. Richmond tenants are now protected from eviction for the duration of the state of emergency and 60 days thereafter.

With SB91, the COVID-19 tenant relief act signed into law in January, California legislators also took some partial steps to help tenants across the state. The Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency recently published resources and eligibility guidelines for renters and small landlords seeking relief through the Housing Is Key program. This information is also available in Spanish, and by phone at 1-833-430-2122.

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We Are All in This: A Call to Support Our Unhoused Community

By Claudia Jimenez, Richmond City Councilmember

On February 23, after years of planning by City staff, much discussion from City Council, and varied input from Richmond residents, the City Council voted to approve the Safe Parking Pilot Program to be located at the city-owned parking lot at Barrett Avenue and 25th Street. Our vote also approved city staff’s recommendation for Housing Consortium of the East Bay (HCEB) to serve as lead provider.

While council’s approved location was not my first choice, I am glad we came to a decision and were able to secure $560,000 of funding for this one-year pilot project. I believe we need to leverage whatever resources we have to better serve Richmond's many residents who are experiencing homelessness and the community as a whole. 

Richmond residents who are interested in working with us to make the project successful can reach out to me at [email protected], and we will connect you to opportunities.

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What's the Best Spot for Safe RV Parking?

By Sue Wilson

The Richmond City Council is now setting the terms for the Safe Parking Pilot Program, a one-year pilot program that will provide a secure, professionally-managed location for those living in RVs or cars in Richmond. The project is funded by in-lieu fees that the city has collected from developers ($300,000) and by a grant from Contra Costa County ($260,000).

The City Council must choose a location and a management team.  At least three sites are still being considered: Hilltop Mall, the Civic Center parking lot, and a vacant-city own lot across from the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) offices on 22nd Avenue.  City staff have recommended that the Housing Consortium of the East Bay, which runs a similar program in Oakland, manage the site.

In making their decisions, Councilmembers might take the following factors into account:

Transparency -- At City Council meetings and in his email newsletter, Tom Butt has been promoting the former Hilltop Mall as the location.  According to Mayor Butt, the site is being purchased by Prologis, a logistics company, and that company is willing to host the car and RV community on the property and donate an additional $250,000 towards its management. One thing Mayor Butt has not explained is why Prologis has made this offer. Are they expecting something from the city in return? The last time a corporation came to Richmond bearing gifts, the terrible trade-off Mayor Butt and others agreed to was allowing a housing development to be built on top of the polluted AstraZeneca site. So we are asking Mayor Butt directly, are there any strings attached to the Prologis offer? 

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