housing

Mark Arax

Writer Mark Arax has been working to uncover some of the forgotten history that explains how many neighborhoods in Fresno were established. What he discovered was that some of the city's largest housing developers used restrictive real estate covenants to prevent Armenians and people of color from living in certain neighborhoods. Valley Edition host Kathleen Schock spoke with him about the legacy of this practice and what it might mean for Fresno’s future.  

 

On this week's Valley Edition:  Due to federal funding, the pandemic has created an unlikely opportunity for new homeless housing in Fresno. We look at some of the programs in place.

 

Plus, we tell you about a Microsoft pilot program that KVPR is a part of to preserve and expand local news around the country.

    

And arts critic Donald Munro gives us an update on the Tower Theater sale. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

 


 

 

On this week's Valley Edition:  Why a state program that provides free COVID-19 hotel rooms to farmworkers is going largely unutilized.  

Plus Pulitzer Prize winning journalist John Branch tells us how wildfires and climate change are endangering California’s most iconic trees.

And a cornerstone of the Armenian community, Hye Quality Bakery, has closed its doors.

Daniel Casarez

The nonprofit news organization Retro Report is working on a documentary project looking at the high eviction rates of three cities in the U.S., including Fresno. According to Retro Report Field Producer Daniel Casarez, the roots of Fresno’s eviction rates go all the way back to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and the discriminatory practice of redlining. That’s when people of color are denied access to housing and loans within specific neighborhoods. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Casarez about the project.

 

When the Fresno City Council first approved a Housing Retention Grant in May for $1.5 million, the response was overwhelming, said Council President Miguel Arias.

“Within a week of announcing the housing retention program, we had 14,000 residents inquire about completing an application,” he said. 

 

The grant helps struggling renters and homeowners affected by the pandemic pay for housing costs including rent or mortgages.

Community Regional Medical Center

Governor Gavin Newsom announced a program today to provide health care workers with low-cost hotel rooms. But ahead of the announcement, some valley hospitals were already working to provide employee housing. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Even as Fresno County is in the middle of the point-in-time count to assess the scope of homelessness, Fresno City leaders announced a pilot program today that will provide part-time employment and support services to a small group of homeless individuals. 

Speaking outside the Poverello House in Downtown Fresno, Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias said this program is different from past efforts to address homelessness.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

This year is the 80th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s book, “The Grapes of Wrath.” In his novel, Steinbeck profiles the Joad family as they travel from Oklahoma to California, escaping the Dust Bowl, in search of work. Many families made this journey during the Depression era. In some communities, these Dust Bowl refugees were met with threats. But in others, like Weedpatch just south of Bakersfield, they were welcome.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

It’s state law that residences need heating and electricity, and the building has to be in good condition to be habitable. While this sounds straightforward, those who rent their homes sometimes struggle with landlords who are unresponsive and don’t make the proper repairs.

This week on Valley Edition: Frustration and hopelessness surround upcoming groundwater laws. Some growers feel so disillusioned, they’re selling their land and getting out of agriculture.

In Fresno, we speak with one retired Bulldog gang member who’s found a calling trying to reduce gun violence.

 

Plus: What happens when your home is so unsafe, it’s considered unlivable? A Tulare County woman describes being given only 72 hours to find somewhere new for herself and her four children.

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The Madera City Council passed an ordinance last night to support residents who were about to be evicted before the holidays, and before state law Assembly Bill 1482 goes into effect, enforcing stronger renter protections. Residents were overjoyed by the unanimous decision. 

Courtesy of Adrianne Hillman / Salt + Light Works

In most cities, people who live on the streets can find some relief staying for a night or two at a shelter. But in 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that Tulare and Kings counties have the highest rate of unsheltered, chronically homeless individuals for counties of their kind in the nation. 

Faith in the Valley

Thousands of people in Fresno County are evicted from their homes every year.

City of Madera Facebook Page

Residents of a Madera apartment complex are being evicted en masse, and some suspect the landlord is issuing evictions to avoid upcoming renter protections. 

Last Friday, residents at the Laguna Knolls complex were issued letters saying they have until four days after Christmas to leave. 

Fresno Housing Authority Facebook Page

It’s no secret California is facing a homelessness crisis, with eviction being one way families end up without a home. However, the data on who is evicted and why has been scarce until recently. Ten years ago, sociologist Matthew Desmond began research for his book, “Evicted.” The MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and Pulitzer Prize winner is helping decipher how eviction is not only a consequence of poverty, but also a cause. He spoke with Valley Public Radio ahead of his visit to Fresno next week, hosted by the Fresno Housing Authority.

City Of Clovis Facebook Page

The City of Clovis is being sued for its lack of affordable housing. A lawsuit filed in Fresno County Superior Court Wednesday alleged that the city isn’t in compliance with state housing law, and is discriminating against low-income people by not planning for high density housing. 

Alice Daniel / Valley Public Radio

Renters in Fresno County need to make about twice the minimum wage to be able to afford the median monthly rent. Conditions like high rents contribute to the ongoing issue of homelessness in the San Joaquin Valley.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

We’ve reported on homelessness, but what about families who are on the brink? For some of them, finding stable housing is a way to move their lives forward after drug rehabilitation, or court-mandated separation from their kids. With recent approval to relocate, one Fresno County program is trying to make it easier for those families to find housing.

Marc Benjamin / Valley Public Radio

Clovis has a reputation for good schools, walking trails, parks and upscale neighborhoods. It’s also one of California’s faster growing cities. People want to live there. So as the city grows, pressure is growing for developers to add new houses, often converting farmland to subdivisions.  So how do rural residents there coexist with new development while keeping their country way of life? Reporter Marc Benjamin explains how one neighborhood is adapting to change.

Temperatures in the Central Valley are dropping as fall gives way to winter. But for many families that also means enduring another winter in substandard housing, a problem that the City of Fresno says it has been working to fix since the passage of a new rental inspection ordinance in February.

That ordinance was supposed to set up a process for city inspectors to check most rental housing units in town to build a database and make sure living conditions are healthy and safe.

Pages