What can we learn from other cities about affordable housing?

The quest to increase affordable housing, a startup empowering neurodivergent people, the power of the emotionally intelligent leader, Evil HR Lady & more

Back By Vanessa Labi

By: Vanessa Labi

It’s hard to think of anything else besides the heat — Sacramento tied an all-time heat record yesterday at 114 degrees. Daring to walk outside feels like being tucked under a thick wool blanket while you have a fever. Being inside is an anxious dance between staying cool but not so cool that you stress the electricity grid.

The heat wave also brings to mind people who are unhoused. The City of Sacramento is offering motel vouchers for homeless residents to escape the heat, and there are cooling centers open to the public across the Sacramento area. 

A more long-term issue affecting the unhoused — both during this heat wave and beyond — is the lack of affordable housing. In his September development story, Steven Yoder reports that the Greater Sacramento region’s counties are behind on state-mandated goals for low-income housing construction. Missing these targets has enormous consequences, causing soaring housing prices which then affect the region’s economic growth. Building more affordable units is also critical to some jurisdictions’ goals of cutting homelessness. 

But there are ways to get more affordable housing built. A few cities around the region have projects underway that showcase how they’re getting it done. Steven’s story extracts lessons from six of those cities on getting it built.

Here’s the latest Capital Region Rundown:

An emotional intelligence coach with a background in stand-up comedy and mental health advocacy advises how to lead with emotional intelligence; developers and nonprofits are collaborating to make more affordable housing happen; Evil HR Lady offers multiple solutions for managing an employee who loves to complain (the popular column is now illustrated by a local artist!); a new app makes the management of critical disability information more accessible for parents of children with autism or developmental disabilities; and Comstock’s president and publisher considers what can be done after seeing her favorite hiking areas damaged by wildfire.

Recommendations from our editors:

In this section we editors share what we’re reading, listening to, watching or even eating. Here’s what we’re consuming this week:

Vanessa: As a voracious consumer of every kind of content Sarah Miller dispatches through her wide-ranging Substack newsletter, I was delighted yesterday when she published one of her accounts of what she did in a day. Whether it’s for her newsletter or The New Yorker website, Miller, who’s based in Nevada City, makes even the mundane entertaining, and she often manages to weave in what climate anxiety feels like from a personal perspective. This particular what-I-did-today entry described what it feels like to be in this heat wave — how it impacts daily life and all the micro-considerations of this new, sizzling normal. To learn more about Sarah, check out my Getting to Know interview with her from last winter.

Jennifer: I picked up another book by Irish writer Sarah Baume: “Spill Simmer Falter Wither,” her award-winning debut about an isolated man who adopts a one-eyed terrier rescued from an underground badger-baiting ring. That may sound like a recipe for schmaltz, but Baume eschews sentimentality, preferring to linger on the cobwebs and poop bags of everyday minutia. An undercurrent of darkness builds to the story’s surprising turning point. 

Judy: A lot of Sacramento will be watching Sacramento Republic FC go for the championship tonight in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against Orlando City SC in Orlando. Match time is 5 pm. You can watch on ESPN+ or listen on Sports1140. I hope this match will take my mind off our awful unrelenting heat wave. If you missed it, the Regional Water Authority and Sacramento Tree Foundation are urging us to deep water our trees. Yes, it’s OK. Sacramento has lost thousands of trees due to the drought. I was out in my yard late Friday night deep watering for five minutes. 

Odds and ends

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