[FILLED] Advancing Housing Equity

Host: City of Elk Grove
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Affordable Housing, Urban Planning
Skills Needed: Community Engagement, Research, Data Analysis, Technical Writing,

Remote or On-Site Placement


Service Needs & Plans

The City of Elk Grove’s Housing and Public Services Division oversees affordable housing policy and investment, homelessness policy and investment, and federal and local grant funding devoted primarily to affordable housing and public services for lower-income households. The Division has a lot of ongoing projects, but needs assistance with one-time or new research and implementation projects primarily related to fair housing and homelessness.

Project Description

The Fellow will serve primarily on two projects:

• The Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) or similar document. The AFH is a requirement of the US Department of Housing and Community Development (HUD) and focuses on helping jurisdictions identify fair housing and equity issues in their communities, primarily around protected classes (such as race/ethnicity, familial status, and disability). As a part of the AFH, the City must undertake research meant to identify disparities in access to housing and lay out meaningful strategies to address them. This project includes a research component and an implementation component.

• Assisting with research and implementation of programs to address homelessness. A recently-passed general sales tax measure will generate significant funding for the City, a portion of which (around $2 million per year) is expected to be devoted to addressing homelessness. This project will include research on potential programs, as well as assistance with implementation. Depending on the research findings, the project may include a direct service component.

Desired Skills Organization & Workplace Highlights

City employees value their work in enhancing the quality of life for all residents. As a City government, Elk Grove has always been fairly slimly-staffed, which means that staff often get the opportunity to work on projects of interest to them, even if outside their core areas. (An example of this is the staff who formed the Elk Grove Community Assistance Network, which supports various nonprofits and successfully petitioned for all staff to have paid time off to volunteer at local nonprofits.) City staff are encouraged to be innovative and test or pilot various programs. The City Council supports innovation, strong community engagement, and equity efforts.

The CivicSpark Fellow would be supported by the Housing and Public Services Manager and two other staff in the Housing Division, as well as the larger Development Services Department. Most staff have been with the City 5+ years. I envision providing mentorship and leadership development by meeting frequently with the Fellow, including them in departmental meetings and events, and letting them take the lead on program design and many community engagement and nonprofit connection opportunities. Ideally, the Fellow will leave their CivicSpark year with a good understanding of how local government operates and how to design programs and maintain and improve community partnerships to expand access to housing and fairness in the housing process.

Community Highlights

Elk Grove is a suburban community with a population of about 180,000. The community is very diverse, and is one of the most racially integrated cities in the US. Most of the City has been designated a high opportunity area and is very family-friendly. Elk Grove residents have a strong sense of community. Elk Grove is also home to dozens of dedicated nonprofits, many of whom work closely with the City on various initiatives.

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