This California city just ended chronic homelessness

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In January, 2020, Bakersfield, California, had housed nearly everyone who had been homeless for more than a year. Then they sustained it during the pandemic. Bakersfield, California, struggled with extreme poverty and homelessness long before the pandemic, and when COVID hit, the challenges in fighting those issues only grew. But in 2020, the city and surrounding county still managed to achieve a goal that few other communities have: It reached “functional zero” for chronic homelessness, meaning that long-lasting and recurring homelessness were essentially eliminated. Read Full Story

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When sea levels rise, it’s going to take out a lot of affordable housing

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Housing in New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and California is most at risk. Affordable housing is scarce in the United States. There’s already a national shortage of more than 7 million affordable units . As climate change continues to cause sea level rise and increase the risk of floods, there may be even less: By 2050, as many as 24,500 affordable housing units could be at risk of flooding, and 10,000 of those units could see four or more floods a year. Read Full Story

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After a fire, your drinking water may be contaminated even if your house was saved

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In one California community, researchers found benzene, a carcinogen, at 40 times the state’s standard for drinking water. When wildfires swept through the hills near Santa Cruz, California, in 2020, they released toxic chemicals into the water supplies of at least two communities. One sample found benzene, a carcinogen, at 40 times the state’s standard for drinking water . Read Full Story

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These modular rooms let cities quickly and cheaply build housing for the homeless

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Connect Homes started making modular tiny houses, but now cities are starting to use its units as a quick way to build new supportive housing. Inside a factory in San Bernardino, California, workers are putting together small, modular homeless shelters that will soon be placed on trucks and shipped to Silicon Valley. Each tiny building, with four units inside, is built in roughly a day. And while a single unit of permanent supportive housing can cost $500,000, a bedroom like this costs $20,000. Read Full Story

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The West Coast’s extreme heat and wildfires have another hidden danger

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Affordable housing is at risk, and policymakers need to act now to protect it. As repeated heat waves blister urban residents and the West Coast regularly erupts in devastating wildfires, a disproportionate amount of low-income households are feeling the burn. According to recent research, a large amount of California’s subsidized housing is located in areas facing risk of wildfire or the impacts of extreme heat—two problems only expected to get worse as the climate continues to change. Read Full Story

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