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SCAG announces grants totaling $250,000 to promote affordable housing and equitable growth strategies in Orange County

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) announced grant awards totaling $250,000 to three nonprofits and community-based organizations in Orange County to promote equitable growth strategies.

The grant awards ranged from $50,000 to $100,000 and will cover a range of activities related to housing policy and land use. In all, SCAG announced $1.25 million in grants to eligible organizations throughout Southern California under its Call for Collaboration program. SCAG is dedicating $1 million of Regional Early Action Planning (REAP) grant funds toward the program, with additional funding from the California Community Foundation (CCF), the Chan Zuckerberg Institute and the Irvine Foundation.

Call for Collaboration is part of SCAG’s ongoing commitment to combat racism, social injustice and an equity gap that has reached historic levels. Last July, SCAG declared racism a public health crisis and in the months since has led regionwide discussions on ways to eliminate barriers that reduce opportunity for millions of Southern Californians. SCAG staff is working with a newly formed Special Committee on Equity and Social Justice to create an action plan to promote racial and social equity and an inclusive recovery strategy.

“The grant program is a significant step toward ensuring that as we promote accelerated housing production, we have the framework in place to close the growing racial equity gap and maximize the opportunities that are in front of us as a region. For Southern California to fully recover from the economic devastation of the pandemic, we need to make sure we’re promoting equitable growth strategies and create an environment where everyone has the opportunity to succeed,” said Rex Richardson, President of SCAG and Vice Mayor of Long Beach.

Peggy Huang, a SCAG Regional Council member and Mayor of Yorba Linda, praised the Orange County organizations that received funding for bringing positive change to the communities they serve.

“Land use and housing are among the biggest challenges we face in Orange County and all of California. Moving the needle wouldn’t be possible without the collaboration and coalition building we’re seeing at the grassroots level,” Huang said.

The three Orange County grant recipients are:

Thrive Santa Ana. Scope: Build community-driven support for affordable housing that promotes racial equity, protects against displacement, and meets the needs of current residents.

The Kennedy Commission. Scope: Support a low-income community education and engagement collaborative known as Expanding Affordable Housing Opportunities for Orange County’s Lower Income Families; build dialogue between under-represented community members, city staff and elected officials to develop programs and policies that increase housing opportunities for Orange County’s lowest income households.

People for Housing Orange County. Scope: Empower grassroots activists to advocate for fair and feasible Housing Elements in the five OC cities with the highest potential for economic integration (Brea, Buena Park, Fullerton, La Habra and Placentia).

“Each of these projects provides an incredible opportunity to address economic and social disparity at the community level, and bring new voices to policy discussions while also promoting the power of collaboration,” said Kome Ajise, SCAG Executive Director. “We look forward to monitoring their progress, and encouraging similar efforts across the region.”

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