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2018–2019 California Budget Priorities: Emergency Drinking Water and Wastewater Package

California communities and schools continue to face severe challenges to access safe drinking water. More than a million Californians pay for water services that fail to meet safe drinking water standards. The recent drought’s continued impact means thousands still face dry wells, and uncertain rainfall patterns mean drought is a constant threat. The $23.5 million funding package below would provide emergency assistance for low-income communities, families, and schools.

  • Emergency relief – wells and septic systems: Increase funding for emergency relief (drought and public health threats) including, but not limited to, well replacement, septic system replacement, permanent connections to public systems, well abandonment, septic system abandonment, Point of Use and Point of Entry systems and debt relief.   $10 million
  • Emergency relief – water tanks: Nearly 300 households with dry wells still rely on water tanks that are filled by trucks to serve their basic household water needs and additional households have experienced total well failures in the past year, thus too late to access the water tank program. Funding is needed to install tank systems for homes that have had wells recently go dry and continue to supply water tanks with water as an emergency measure while households await new wells or upgrades to community water systems. $3.5 million
  • State Water Board’s Drinking Water for Schools Program: Building on the program established in the 2016 state budget this program will provide additional funding to expand the State Water Board’s Safe Drinking Water for Schools grant program. This program helps to supply access to safe drinking water for students in schools that currently lack a source of clean drinking water While long-term solutions are debated, funded and brought online, the State Water Board’s Drinking Water for Schools program is a cost effective and low-impact way to provide immediate safe drinking water access to students in low-income, rural communities, including addressing contamination issues like lead, 1,2,3,- TCP and arsenic. Numerous initial evaluation results prove the many merits of this program. $10 million

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Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund

SB 623 would provide an ongoing funding source to ensure all Californians have access to safe and affordable drinking water. More than 80 organizations support this bill, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Labor
  • Faith communities
  • Environmental and environmental justice

Polling shows that more than two-thirds of Californians support this type of solution to our drinking water crisis. It’s time for California to deliver on its five-year-old promise of the human right to water.


Water in the news

NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017T is for Toxic: Danger Lurking in California School Drinking Fountains

NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017Systemic Failure: Why 1 Million Californians Lack Safe Drinking Water

NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017Getting to the Roots of California’s Drinking Water Crisis

NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017The California Drought Isn’t Over, It Just Went Underground

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

Join the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign today

The affordable housing crisis impacts more than just housing. It affects people’s ability to afford healthcare and food and quality education. Rising housing costs, stagnant wages and the constant threat of reduced federal housing investments calls for urgent action.

With financial support from the Funders for Housing and Opportunity, National Low Income Housing Coalition created a new multi-sector affordable homes campaign together with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Children’s HealthWatch, Make Room, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and with a steering committee that includes Catholic Charities USA, Children’s Defense Fund, Community Catalyst, Food Research and Action Center, NAACP, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association of Community Health Centers, National Education Association, and UnidosUS.

The Opportunity Starts at Home campaign goals are to advance federal housing solutions that:

  1. Bridge the growing gap between renter incomes and rising housing costs
  2. Provide aid to people experiencing job losses or other economic shocks to avert housing instability or homelessness
  3. Expand the affordable housing stock for the lowest income renters
  4. Defend existing rental assistance and other targeted housing resources from harmful cuts

Visit the Opportunity Starts at Home website to learn more and lend your support.

Take Action to support the Community Development Financial Institution Fund

Join us to show your strong support for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) appropriations. Even though FY2018 spending hasn’t been finalized, Congress is already beginning the FY2019 appropriations process and they need to hear from you today!

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.

The House Appropriations Committee leadership, including FSGG Subcommittee Chairman Tom Graves (R-GA-14) and Ranking Member Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) will be looking closely to see how many Members of Congress submit requests supporting the CDFI Fund at $248 million.  

We need as many Representatives as possible to make this appropriations request. CDFIs across the country can help support the CDFI Fund program by encouraging their Representative to submit this funding request.

Please contact your elected officials TODAY and urge them to submit an appropriations request for the CDFI Fund in FY2019. If you have time, please personalize the letter to include the name of your CDFI, state/district you work in, and two to three sentences about your CDFI’s impact on the community.

Click here to find your Representative.


Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act (SB3)

There is a housing crisis in California. The gap between wages and housing costs continues to widen, with families spending more than 30 percent, and sometimes up to 50 percent, of their household income on housing. Families suffer long commutes, live in overcrowded housing or in their cars. Homelessness impacts too many Californians.

A coalition of affordable housing advocates, business leaders, labor, veterans and environmental groups support the $4 billion Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act (SB3). The bond will go before California voters in November.

What the bond does for California veterans, struggling families and people with disabilities:

  • Dedicates funding to help military veterans have a safe place to call home
  • Provides stable housing for struggling families, people experiencing homelessness and individuals with disabilities
  • Builds affordable homes for hardworking people like grocery clerks, nurse aides and teaching assistants. This helps people live in the communities where they work and serve, while still having money for basics like groceries, gas and child care
  • Tackles top priorities for Californians – building homes, creating jobs and boosting the economy. It’s expected to create 137,000 jobs and pump $23.4 billion into California’s economy.

Sign up for alerts on California housing issues here >>

Download the fact sheet here.

Go to https://www.vetsandaffordablehousingact.org/ to find out how you can support SB 3.


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(Last updated on April 4, 2018.)