EPISODE 22: How Cap-And-Trade Keeps People In Their Homes

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Show Notes

The California cap-and-trade program is building up cash while lowering carbon emissions. We look at one way that money is being put to use.

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Transcript


Straw media. Her quote was as
she felt like we were like sent by

God, and which sounds like a
lot to say, right, but like

for someone to say who you know
has been put in prayers up. That

was her take away after having been
alone literally in the fight for years and

feeling that she did not have support. This is Lucas grinly from next city.

Show about change makers and their stories. Truth is, there are solutions

to the problems of pressing people in
cities. If you're listening, I hope

it's because you want to spread good
ideas from one city to the next city.

Let's begin in Oakland, California.
Listen to council member Rebecca Kaplan.

What we have before us today is
a resolution endorsing the declaration of Climate Emergency

and requesting regional collaboration on an immediate, just transition to restore a safe climate.

And the resolution before us, I
did want to mention, has also

been adopted in multiple other cities,
and so I am urging here today that

Oakland join in this large and growing
coalition that is fighting to ensure really the

survival of human life on earth.
You know, if we may be blunt

about it, that was two thousand
and eighteen in the city did to prove

that declaration. Five years earlier,
meanwhile, the state of California launched the

country's first cap and trade program with
a goal of reducing carbon emissions by forty

percent by twenty thirty going forward.
Businesses that pollute would have to pay to

do it. The idea was that
if you increase the cost of polluting,

then maybe businesses would stop doing it, or at least do it forty percent

less. Today we aren't going to
get into whether cap and trade works,

but we are following some of the
money being collected by the state. Last

year alone, cap and trade generated
more than two billion dollars. That money

then gets distributed to support climate related
projects all across California, including in Oakland.

One of those projects caught the attention
of next cities housing correspondent here is

Roshan Abraham. California's Cap and Trade
Program is essentially a tax on carbon emissions

for energy companies or anyone who is
emitting carbon, depending on what sector it

is. There's a certain amount of
allowable carbon emissions and if you go over

that amount within a year, you
have to buy allowances from the state government.

And then you can buy, I
and sell those allowances. You can

hold onto those allowances for a few
years, but it's essentially like a like

a market based way to reduce carbon
emissions, and the amount of available allowances

go down every year. But as
a result of this, the state has

billions of dollars from energy companies and
different carbon emitters and the state has all

these different mechanisms for how they spend
that money. And so thirty five percent

of the money, I guess,
has to go to low income or otherwise

disadvantage communities, and that created the
transforming climate communities grants. What exactly are

they looking for with transforming climate communities? So transforming climate communities is one of

the programs that they have to spend
that thirty five percent, and I think

so the idea behind the initiative is
to look at communities that are disproportionately impacted

by climate change, looking at low
income communities, black and POC communities,

folks who live in areas that might
have higher than average pollution or bad air

quality, and trying to fund kind
of community base, screen infrastructure and programs

that the community has asked for and
things that people in the community want that

also have the added effect of offsetting
carbon emissions by providing, you know,

amenities, trees, parks and,
if I understand this correctly, these amenities

that you're talking about, a great
park or trail, can cause climate gentrification.

Is that right? Yes, I
think there's not a lot of consensus

on climate gentrification, but it's definitely
something communities have noticed. Is that,

generally speaking, when you put in
amenities, even if it's amenities that the

community needs, there can be adverse
effects on renders in the area in terms

of property values going up. But
here is where we arrive at the solution

we're highlighting in today's episode. Motion
is pointing out that climate gentrification is a

fairly new concept. One way you
can think about it is that the land

near coastlines becomes more valuable if it
has a higher elevation, because higher land

is safer from flooding. or a
place might get new infrastructure that protects it,

or a polluting factory might close down
and suddenly housing prices in the surrounding

area go way up. Well,
thanks to redlining, who lives in neighborhoods

kept away from the waterfront and who
lives near polluting factory largely communities of color.

So this is something that communities have
noticed for a while and, to

their credit, the state of California
included that as part of the transforming climate

communities there's mandatory anti eviction funding for
anyone who uses transforming climate communities funds for

any city in the state that applies
for these funds. So it's a competitive

grant process and cities that apply for
transforming climate communities funds have to put together

a package kind of explaining how they're
going to use those funds and when they

make that pitch to apply for this
funding, they have to explain what kind

of anti eviction programs they're going to
implement. They have to identify a nonprofit

that is going to work on anti
eviction. So in the case of Oakland,

thatnoprofit is Ebpreck, because they already
have a lot of experience doing housing

work in Oakland that's really progressive and
really kind of focused on community ownership.

Addressing the climate crisis shouldn't come at
a cost to the city's most vulnerable residents.

After the break we will speak to
be Coleman and organized eisor with Eb

Prek, which stands for East Bay
Permanent Real Estate Cooperative will hear how this

anti displacement organization at work in East
Oakland is protecting residents. Welcome back to

next city. Before the break,
we learn that California's cap and trade program

generated more than two billion dollars last
year alone. A portion of that,

about twenty eight million, is funding
an Oakland Initiative called better neighborhood, same

neighbors that targets five square miles for
improvements. The neighborhood will get a one

point two mile long community trail,
expanded bike share, two thousand new trees

and they're building one of the largest
aquaponax farms in the whole country. Of

that twenty eight million, about eight
hundred forty six thousand will be spent over

four years to hire a team of
housing counselors whose job it is to ensure

improvements like these don't lead to a
displacement of residents. Here is B Coleman,

an organizer with Eb Preck, on
how they are working to keep East

Oakland residents in their homes. As
I understand it, you work with a

team of people. Now, thanks
to this grant, money and luck to

know more about what the team does. As I understand it, your have

a goal of contacting fourteen thousand people
by the end of the grant cycle.

What is it you're hoping to tell
people when you reach them? And we

think about the three P's, so
preservation, protection and production of housing,

right so, and our outreach it's
really meant to model the protection aspect by

giving folks resources or making them available
and making folks really aware of what their

resources are, what the policies are, what the programs are that support them

staying housed, as a sort of
foundation, a basis. Right so,

we are doing this outreach me and
to other community organizers with a focus on

anti displacement, but it's part of
this overall project. So this is why

we're saying, you know, there
are these projects that are a part of

this program and their elements that touch
all of it. So when we are

doing our anti displacement outreach, we're
letting them know we're out here to support

you. If you are facing any
current housing challenges. Landlord, property owner

that's her assed you or trying to
raise a rent illegally, you know you

have folks who might be trying to
evict you during it a protected you know,

eviction moratorium illegally. How do we
make sure that the folks who are

right now, currently experiencing displacement burden
have access to the resources and support that

do exist? And a lot of
people just don't know how to navigate the

systems. They don't know what organizations
are out here doing that work and available

to them. So we're doing the
work of getting really familiar with that landscape

so as really knowing who does what, the Eviction Defense Center, Community Legal

Center, you know, the bay
area legal aid. There's so many organizations

that are doing housing work and housing
justice. So we want to make sure

that people know where to go and
they need that support. And if they

don't need to support right now,
then we also giving people opportunities to get

involved with our organizing. So there's
policy organizing that we can do. So

you may not need immediate support,
but how can we empower you still to

get involved and make an impact on
housing in the city? You know,

we have our ears to the ground
of things that are coming through, such

as in California there's a social housing
coalition coming together to ask for a billion

dollars, up to a billion dollars, to invest in this idea of social

housing in California, which is a
solution to anti displacement. We also know

that there is potentially a suggested,
actual amendment to the state of California's Constitution

to add housing as a basic human
right, and when that comes down the

pipeline, will be able to organize
people right, mobilize people that. So,

in addition to we're here to support
and connect people to resources, we're

also here to build power and give
folks that opportunity to impact what happens in

their own linds. I love all
of that. I am just constantly reminded

in the back of my head where
the money to support this is coming from,

which is from this whole cap and
trade program and it's coming from the

state to build community power. Really, I don't know if that is equally

as like wow to you, but
it did. Is Partly. Why would

it be that this is where the
money comes from? Is Big Woud?

Yeah, right, definitely big ways. I'm president and we're just like,

honestly, how much can we actually
do? Like, where is the line

and where is the let me here, y'all. I'm going to find us

to do this work, but I
want to know the answer that too.

Yeah, where is the line?
I don't know, but you'll find it.

I'm sure you're going to push as
far as you can go. MMMUH,

so when we had first done this
story in February, your team of

organizers was pretty new, but you
had already helped some East Oakland residents who

were in immediate danger of displacement.
So I'm I'm wondering what that looks like

when you do come across someone who
is facing, you know, an urgent

challenge of some form of eviction,
it seems like. And how is it

going so far? Yeah, thank
you for that question. We're definitely,

like you said, a new team
and really just getting our feet wet in

the sense that we need to learn
and understand each other and learn and understands

the work and the whole landscape of
a very vast right housing environment and displacement

sort of burden throughout the city,
throughout the country. So we are all

arriving with our own experiences of displacement. So I myself was displaced from La

during the pandemic and had to get
involved in tenant organizing to say my own

housing right, and both folks on
the team have had their own experience with

eviction and eviction defense or their family
being displaced and having to literally leave Oakland

in order to be able to stay
housed. So we're writing with that sort

of know nuance to the work that
we are having to do together, but

because I think we all have this
common thread of being very committed to the

work into the community. It is
an experience where we're learning and trying to

be, and I will, you
know, lift up for myself in a

position of iteration right so wanting to
know as much as we can and stay

open to continue learning as we go. One of the first experiences that we're

coming off of that has has sort
of the highest touch in the most engagement

is a case with the homeowner who
stealing with some fraudulent lenders and perceives an

awful detainer that they needed to respond
on too. And so I'm awful detainer

being the summons for in eviction hearing. So this support looks like us directly

getting in touch with the cell owner. We were referred to right by a

member in the community. So that's
part of what the outreach is meant to

do, is that folks know that
we're out here to support people when they

are having these immediate challenges. So
she was referred to us. So we

do, you know, an intake
and really assess what's going on and what

kind of resources we can immediately think
will be useful for you. What strategy

can we come up with? But
really making a point to be led and

guided by the tenant or the resident
right like, whatever it is that their

priorities are and that their needs are. Like we might come up with a

million different solutions, but let's have
you lead in terms of what direction we're

going to take. So in this
case, this person has not it was

not their first summons. They'd actually
been in like challenging battles with this entity

for two or three years before this, I'm awful detainer, and they had

already gone through in Avichin during the
pandemic, with these people who literally locks

this person out. And I will
just note that there's a lot of for

me, like personal resonance with this. Is me coming into this work specifically

wanting to show up for black people
right and show up for my elders,

and so this is a black elder
who's lived in this home her entire life.

She's over sixty years old, right, and she had been harassed and

bullied and literally like traumatized by these
people locking her out of her house literally

just months before, and just very
dreadful tactics. Okay, so I was

I was self assigning myself to support
her, and this support looks like actually

helping her respond to her summons.
So we did try initially to pluck her

in with the organizations that we know
do legal work, right. So none

of them were able to, in
the timeline that she needed, actually respond

to her summons or assign her a
lawyer that could do it. So we

actually ended up doing it together,
and it was my first time, right,

like doing a response to an eviction
in Oakland. I'd done done them

in La. So again we're coming
in feet wet. Honestly, my recommendation

was for her to find another lawyer
and she was like Nope, we're gonna

do this and okay. So,
being led by the resident, I'm like,

all right, we're doing it,
and we did you, we were

able. You know, I went
in terms of what this looks like,

literally going to her house on a
Friday afternoon and like setting up shot right

for hours to write up this response
to her summons and then defile that Shit.

Excuse. My friends with e file
that right. So make sure that

we got that in by the deadline
right, and this being a first experience,

definitely made some mistakes but was able
to correct them and submit a resubmission

that was accepted and through that process
we were able to get her a hearing

really quickly. Actually, like everyone
that she talked to in terms of other

attorneys was really surprised about how fast
she was able to get on the docket.

So that support, you know,
is one of sort of the ways

that we imagine doing this work.
But because we have so many contacts to

make right and if our let's say
right now at this point, we've been

doing like firing and distributing flyers door
a door and we've delivered somewhere around four

hundred flyers to this point in since
starting that process, we've come across three

different people, and not all from
flying right, but, you know,

word of mouth and people who know
that we're doing the work. We've had

at least three different cases come up. So if our turn, if our

you know, our rate is looking
like what like one person of residents,

we might expect to need to support. Out of who we are actually reaching

out to, that's a hundred and
forty at least, contacts that need support

over the next few years. So
even that is a very high capacity it

considering that we are also doing all
these other engagements. So I mentioned or

knocking and I mentioned canvasing, but
we're also going to be doing, you

know, tenants rights workshops and legal
cafes and housing cafes so that people can

have all the knowledge and information and
access to the resources that they need.

I mean, it has to be
said, in reaction to that story you

told about preventing that resident from displacement, that your team of counselors did not

exist before and the lawyers who reached
out to were already overtaxed. They weren't

available to help. Right there,
there would have been no help for this

person, and I wonder what you
think about when you're helping. You know

what would happen were you not there? Yeah, well, that is I

think the the impetus for why we
are here is because we haven't been for

so long and because deep east hasn't
had the direct support and engagement. This

person didn't have support leading up to
US coming in for years. She told

us, you know that. I
mean her quote was that she felt like

we were like sent by God,
and which sounds like a lot to say,

right, but like for someone of
faith who, you know, has

been put in prayers up, that
was her takeaway after having been alone literally

in the fight for years and feeling
like she did not have support, and

she had been reaching out to the
city council and not getting responses, and

she reached out, you know,
to city attorney's office, like she had

been fighting and like really asking for
help, and people were like sending her

links and go to this web page, right, as opposed to let me

actually like walk through this experience with
you, instead of like you can do

this on your own and here's how
to like do that by yourself while you're

in this like highly you know,
stimulated nervous system state of like trying to

protect your security in your stability.
So, yeah, it definitely for me,

just lands. Okay, so you
don't know me, but like I

have, I have my own superhero
complex, right. It's so it lands

for me is like a very on
assignment, right, like I was sent

here to do this word. This
is my my assignment to for the planet.

You know, I arrived from a
place as very grounded in black liberation,

as you know, a pathway to
ultimate liberation, because we know anti

blackness is at the root of what
we are all experiencing, and being able

to be in this position where I
get to literally show up for black people,

to keep black people rooted in East
Oakland, where I don't know black

people are. So I mean he's
Oakland, is a heart of Oak know,

it's the soul of Oakland. So
it feels very resonant. It feels

like mission, that my ancestors wanted
me to be on the line, this

path up for me. So yeah, I'm feeling like it is both tragedy

that the condition got to where it
is, no, but also it gives

me a lot of purpose. The
story of East Oakland teaches us why climate,

justice and housing are linked. More
after the break, welcome back to

next city. Before the break,
we heard how the city of Oakland declared

a climate emergency and is working to
reduce carbon emissions and make improvements. More

than twenty eight million dollars in funding
is headed to a five square block radius

in East Oakland. It's important to
know that East Oakland residents have a life

expectancy ten years lower than the city
as a whole and a poverty rate ten

percent higher. We are with B
Coleman, who is part of a team

of housing counselors charged with preventing evictions
and Displacement. As you mentioned before,

it East pay permanent feel state cooperative
has a longer term solution. It's dealing

via the housing organizing team, with
immediate situations, but then it's all of

building up this community to power and
it also has sort of a, I'll

just call it up, business model
change or framework change to how we solve

for more permanent housing going forward,
and that's community ownership of some kind,

right. So what does that mean
in in Oakland and what are you trying

to achieve? Ultimately? I think
I want to do a thing where I

sort of speak for myself but also
know that because of the organization's values,

that I feel really confident with the
alignment here. So Liberation, ultimately.

We for me, liberation is always
my north star. How do we get

there? And then, as far
as the Organization, liberation is one of

our values. Right. So we're
they're looking at it ultimately as a project

to liberate the land, my political
analysis being that the struggles that we globally

face experience, whether that is like
war, in conflict or land theft,

it's all tied to what happens with
land and who gets to have a say

over what happens with that land,
who gets to profit from that land,

whether you're developing, you know,
housing on it or developing commercial property or

developing agriculture. Were developing something on
that land. So what, if you

PREC is doing is creating pathways to
put that power back into the hands of

people through our community ownership models.
Ultimately wanted to create this paradigm shift,

the Structure Shift in the finance system, in the banking system that has blocked

out people of Color and black folks
and indigenous people from access to the resources

that we need to have ownership and
control of land and housing, knowing how

much power that actually translates to.
So we have a few models, a

few ownership types. So we're multi
stakeholder cooperative meeting. It's like a hybrid

in terms of what kind of members, which is also known as owners in

our organization, we include. So
the stack can be owners, residents in

our properties can be owners, investors
can be owners and then the community can

be honest, and that community would
be folks who are rooted in East Bay.

So you're born here or have been
here and in our are invested in

being in the East Bay and contribute
to its wellbeing and wellbeing. And through

that process of inviting different types of
ownership, we are also creating a method

for folks to have access to to
our particular version of cooperative via the estate.

So we just passed a proposal to
create a vehicle for groups of people

to come together and pursue projects that
are mission aligned or actually seek out properties

to acquire, and that's called the
owner group process. So that just got

passed last month actually, and we
now have a very robust and a thorough

process for folks to engage with,
to guide them in creating their own groups,

setting their own vision and mission around
what it is if they are looking

to achieve, but within the organization, and then, you know, pulling

our support in whether that is fundraising
or, you know, developing a project,

pulling from our GPO, which is
our direct public offering, and that

being the main vehicle that were using
to fund the acquisition of these buildings and

these this land and property. So, yeah, ultimately we're trying to Redo

everything right so these investor owners can
invest through our DPO is a thousand dollar

shares at a time. There's no
Max on how many shares you buy and

you can do that as an individual
or as an organization. And in that

way it's sort of like crowdsourcing,
crowdfunding, or our acquisition funds, which

is really exciting because we have so
much support for it. We raised over

a million dollars in about a year
through that avenue, the DPO channel,

or the first cooperative to be approved
for a DPO. So it's really exciting

to be able to leverage this sort
of community participation in different aspects, whether

that's financially or directly, involving themselves
as community owners and being able to,

you know, attend our circles,
and circles being what we call our our

meetings, basically, yeah, and
being able to participate in, you know,

the direction of the organization as well
as one of these owner groups with

folks can actually go out and start
looking for properties and have the weight in

support of the cooperative behind them.
The issues that are faced by cities are

never one dimensional. They are intertwined
and when you address one you have to

be prepared to address so many others
at the same time. Here again is

housing correspondent Rohan Abraham, because it's
safe to say we kind of got here

from, you know, trying to
cut carbon emissions. But this kind of

counseling would be useful in cities,
even if your goal wasn't to cut carbon

emissions and then get down here to
e fiction and housing. It would work

in other places who were just trying
to cut a fiction. Yeah, I

think that's absolutely true and you know, it's not like, in order to

qualify for support from these counselors that
you need to explicitly be facing some kind

of adverse effect from climate change.
I mean the it's just, you know,

it's open to anyone who's facing displacement
pressures in general, and I think

e's Soaklinda is, like many neighborhoods
in America, one of those areas.

It's facing a lot of displacement pressures
from everything from private equity to gentrification.

I mean it would be difficult to
kind of isolate or identify homes that are

explicitly facing displacement pressures because of climate
change to begin with, but that's definitely

not a requirement to get support from
this program we hope you enjoyed this episode

of next city. I show about
change makers and their stories. Together we

can spread good ideas from one city
to the next city. Thank you for

listening this week. Thank you to
Roe on Abraham, who first reported the

story for next city. Thank you
to our guests be Coleman from BBPREC,

the East Bay Permanent Realistic Cooperative.
Our audio producer is still Vana Al Calla.

Our scriptwriter is Francesca Mammlin. Our
executive producers are Tyler Nielsen and Ryan

Tillotson. By the way, next
city is a news organization with a nonprofit

model. If you like what we're
doing here, please consider pitching in to

support our work. visit next city
dot org slash membership to make a donation.

We'd love to hear any feedback from
our listeners. Please feel free to

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subscribe to the show on Apple,
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Next City
Join Lucas Grindley, executive director at Next City, where we believe journalists have the power to amplify solutions and spread workable ideas. Each week Lucas will... View More

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