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California Drinking Water Priorities

California communities and schools continue to face severe challenges to access safe drinking water. The water serving more than 1 million Californians fails to meet safe drinking water standards and thousands of wells have gone dry.

Drinking water advocates release statement on 2017-2018 state budget.

Water in the news

NPR Valley Public Radio, May 2, 2017—Drinking Water Is A Human Right, But These Valley Residents Don’t Have It 

NPR Capital Public Radio, April 10, 2017As California Lifts Drought Restrictions, Rural Areas Still Lack Running Water

Weather.com, March 24, 2017As Many as 700,000 Californians Are Drinking Contaminated Water

Reuters.com, March 22, 2017—Exclusive: Lead poisoning afflicts neighborhoods across California

EDF, March 20, 2017New film shows that clean water isn’t a guarantee for many in California

EDF, March 14, 2017Grading the nation: Lead pipe disclosure policies

ABC 30, March 9, 2017—Merced County schools hope new water fountains improve access to safe drinking water

NBC 7 San Diego, March 7, 2017Thousands of Californians Have Contaminated Water Coming From Taps

The Sacramento BEE, February 17, 2017—California has its own Flint, needs funding for safe drinking water

The Sacramento Bee, February 11, 2017—Most Sacramento area schools do not test drinking water for lead

Support Federal Funding for Rural Programs

High unemployment rates, sub-standard housing and poverty are commonplace in low-income rural communities, which makes it a struggle to keep up in today’s economy. Many of these communities also face daunting challenges to access safe, clean drinking water, provide affordable housing, improve their economies and to provide other vital services. Critical funding is at risk in the current administration’s budget proposal for FY 2018, including funds that support rural affordable housing, safe drinking water and community and economic development.

These programs are crucial to create and maintain vibrant, healthy and enduring rural communities, which are the foundation of our nation, the DNA that connects us all.

HUD and USDA housing programs

It is a difficult time for low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities to access affordable housing and our nation’s rural economies continue to struggle. President Trump’s budget proposes to slash federal investments in affordable housing and other programs that provide resources to low-income, rural communities, including the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

We need your help to protect these vital resources that keep housing affordable for low-income families, seniors, people with disabilities, low-wage workers and others. Join us, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding, and others to advocate for these programs today!

Take Action

  1. Call your members of Congress and ask them to protect this critical funding. Here is a suggested script:
    “Please reject the president’s proposed budget that slashes HUD and USDA investments that provide millions of Americans with affordable homes. These resources keep roofs over the heads of low-income families, seniors, people with disabilities, low wage workers and other vulnerable people. Funding affordable housing is a smart investment that leads to better health and education outcomes and boosts economic mobility and the local economy. Our communities are stronger because of HUD and USDA programs. Instead of making harmful cuts, I urge you to work with your colleagues to lift the spending caps on critical domestic programs like those at HUD and USDA.”
  2. Email and tweet members of Congress.
  3. Organizations and local governments can sign on to a national letter here.

Community Development Financial Institution Fund— FY18

The CDFI Fund appropriations are in need of strong congressional support for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) was established within the U.S. Department of Treasury in 1994 to promote community and economic development in distressed urban and rural communities by investing in and growing Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) across the country. CDFIs leverage CDFI Fund resources in communities and with people left out of the economic mainstream, generating $12 in capital for every dollar in CDFI grants. In FY 2016 alone, CDFIs made over 39,000 loans or investments totaling over $3.6 billion and, financed over 11,000 small businesses. The average loan size was $91,700. CDFIs also financed over 33,000 affordable housing units.

Support affordable housing development in California

AB 71: Bring California Home Act (Chiu)

The largest investment that the state makes on housing is through the mortgage interest deduction. Yet, the mortgage interest deduction disproportionately benefits those with higher incomes and larger mortgages, and can be used for second and vacation homes. To qualify for a mortgage interest deduction, a taxpayer must itemize deductions, which low- and moderate- income homeowners typically do not do. The estimated impact of the vacation home mortgage interest deduction on the general fund was $360 million in 2016.

AB 71 provides an ongoing state funding source for affordable housing by eliminating the state mortgage interest deduction on vacation homes. This deduction results in a revenue loss to the state of approximately $300 million annually.  The funds saved as a result of eliminating the deduction would then increase the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program by $300 million per year. Fact sheet >>

SB 2: Building Homes and Jobs Act (Atkins)

Increased and ongoing public funding for affordable homes — for rentals and homeownership — is critical to stabilize the state during the greatest housing crisis faced by typical California families. If developers know that there is a sustainable source of funding, they will take on the risk that comes with development — and create a reliable pipeline of well-paying construction jobs in the process.

SB 2 would enact the Building Homes and Jobs Act, generating hundreds of millions of dollars annually for affordable housing through a $75 fee (capped at $225) on real estate recorded documents, excluding those documents associated with real estate sales. 50% of collected fees will be distributed directly to local governments to address local needs. The remainder will be allocated by the state on a competitive basis. 20% of overall funds must be allocated to affordable homeownership needs for a growing workforce and 10% of overall funds must be used to meet the affordable housing needs of farmworkers and their families. This Act would ensure a sustainable, ongoing infusion of funds into tried-and-true programs. Fact sheet >>


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(Last updated on April 6, 2017.)

Support Letters

The Administration proposes to eliminate funding for the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF), which facilitates direct investments in high capacity Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and nonprofit housing developers to generate new investment in affordable housing and economic development projects for low-income communities.

RCAC signed on to the letter opposing the Administration’s proposed action.