Anybody looking to buy a house or rent in San Leandro knows there’s a lack of homes, and especially affordable ones, in our city. In fact, according to the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, we are short 5,000 new units to accommodate current and future needs. This housing deficit is bad enough for people desperate to find a home, but it also makes climate change worse. Why? When families are displaced from their community because housing costs are going up, those folks will be driving more–some moving out as far as Tracy or Stockton and commuting each day. As a result, they will contribute to the rising emissions of greenhouse gasses, so they can get to work in the Bay Area. On the other hand, being able to live near where you work, go to school or church means less driving. It also means staying close to family, friends and neighbors who can help us in emergencies and times of need and keep us connected.
A lack of affordable housing often leads to sprawl as new housing is built farther and farther away from city centers, often in areas that are prone to wildfires and flooding. In contrast, being able to stay close to our communities makes us more likely to walk or bike to local shops, further reducing our automobile emissions, increasing our social connections, and keeping us healthier and happier.
At San Leandro 2050, we know that we must build housing in San Leandro, and we must build these homes in ways that do not increase our emissions. A net zero emission standard in new buildings is not only readily available and critical to combating the climate crisis, it can also contribute to the affordability of new housing: As energy costs continue to rise, income-strapped households are the ones who will be hardest hit. Even though these households currently live in smaller homes, they’re paying more for energy than other families. Energy efficient housing can reduce these disparities.
As the City of San Leandro is making decisions about new housing, please join us in demanding that it be affordable housing that follows zero emission building standards. Join San Leandro 2050 in this work or make a donation to ensure San Leandro is a safer and more Livable City for All.