SOMAH: Why does Tenant Education matter in clean energy programs?

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The Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program is uniquely designed to prioritize tenant benefits and opportunities. Unlike similar iterations of previous clean energy programs, at least 51% of the solar energy system must serve tenant energy needs, and property owners are prohibited from passing on costs associated with solar installation or maintenance by raising rents.

 

But, financial and environmental benefits are not the only ways SOMAH seeks to do right by low-income renters. What sets SOMAH apart is that tenant education must be incorporated into every single project. Historically, the energy system, including renewable energy programs, has been inaccessible, difficult to navigate, and intimidating. SOMAH’s tenant education requirements aim to reduce confusion and increase buy-in from tenants by informing them about changes to their utility bill after the SOMAH system is turned on, and by introducing them to SOMAH’s paid job training opportunities and energy efficiency tips.

 

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The SOMAH host customer (either the property owner or solar contractor) is required to sign two affidavits (a legally binding oath) that provide meaningful benefits and protections for tenants.  Firstly, tenants must be informed that they are entitled to economic benefits in the form of utility bill savings from the SOMAH solar PV system. Secondly, property owners or contractors must make sure that tenants receive multiple touchpoints of tenant education materials, and these materials must be provided in the languages that the tenants speak.

 

Oftentimes In social justice movements, well-meaning advocates try to represent an oppressed group’s struggles or concerns without directly consulting members of the community. Communities know what they need to survive and thrive. Centering tenant voices and rights is critical for the SOMAH program’s success. That’s why EHC has partnered with SOMAH to ensure that tenant education and empowerment continue to be at the forefront of the implementation of the program.

 

 

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If you would like to know if your building qualifies for SOMAH, contact Monica de la Cruz at Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo..

Thanksgiving

First Nations Day of Resilience 

As an organization rooted in the civil rights movement, we cannot support racist and oppressive traditions. Our staff, community members, and board of directors reflected deeply on the traditional “holiday” of Thanksgiving and found that it does  not fit with our values – equity, justice, and empowering communities. It marks just the opposite. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a violent history of oppression of the First Nations and countless acts of injustices against them by European colonizers.

Instead, this Thursday, November 25, 2021, EHC will observe First Nations Day of Resilience. Moving forward, on the fourth Thursday of every November, we will observe this day as a reminder of our commitment to environmental justice principles, decolonization, and recognition of the work and history of the Kumeyaay in the San Diego and Tijuana region. Our region is occupied and unceded Kumeyaay territory that spans across geographical borders of what is currently recognized as the United States and Mexico.

On this Thursday, November 25, 2021, we invite you to observe First Nations Day of Resilience with us to honor the Kumeyaay, reflect on our country’s long history of colonization and oppression, and consider how we can work towards decolonization and justice.

 

Learn about the Kumeyaay

 

First Nations Day of Resilience Instagram Post

 

Juneteenth a Celebration of Freedom

 

More than two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed 3 million enslaved people in the U.S, an estimated 250,000 people were still being forced into slavery in Texas. That changed soon after General Granger arrived in the state with his troops.

On June 19, 1865, General Granger delivered General Order Number 3, which read:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."

According to Juneteenth.com, “The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation.” June 19th became a yearly celebration of freedom for black Americans and was dubbed Juneteenth. It is also known as Emancipation Day. Two days short of its 156 years birthday, President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Juneteenth

 In celebration of the emancipation of the more than 3 million enslaved people in the United States, Environmental Health Coalition observes Juneteenth. We also take this moment to remember that it was only 156 years ago that black people were enslaved in our country. While celebrating freedom and all the contributions black Americans have made to the U.S. and the world, we must acknowledge that as a society we have fallen short of equity and equality and reaffirm our commitment to fighting for racial justice.

To learn more about Juneteenth, please visit juneteenth.com. To learn how you can celebrate with your family and friends, or join a celebration, check out the links below.

Happy Juneteenth!

  

How to celebrate Juneteenth:

9 Way to Celebrate Juneteenth in 2021

This Is How We Juneteenth

 

Local Celebrations:

'Say It Loud' Celebrates Juneteenth With Local Black Talent

Oceanside tea shop owner plans Juneteenth celebration Saturday

Cooper Family Freedom Festival - NAACP San Diego Branch

Local Events to Celebrate Juneteenth in San Diego County

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Did you know that June is Healthy Homes Month? 

During this pandemic year, we should be calling it Healthy Homes & Healthy Office Month. For many of us, chances are that your home is also your office. While we have been cleaning and disinfecting to keep COVID-19 away, a healthy home is much more than that.  A healthy home is well-ventilated, dry, clean, safe, pest-free, contaminant-free, well maintained, and thermally controlled.  For most parents, I know it’s been challenging to keep our homes and offices healthy, especially during this pandemic year.

I invite you (and myself 😊) to take this Healthy Homes Month to integrate some simple steps to help our homes and office spaces be and feel healthy.

Check out the flyers to learn how to make your home healthy! 

5 Minutes to a Healthier Home Protect Kids From Lead Poisoning CARBON MONOXIDE

Bathroom Safety Slips and Falls  Your Fire Safety Checklist

 

This year’s Healthy Homes theme is The Power of Partnerships. At EHC, we are grateful to all of our partners that we have worked alongside during our 40 years of fighting for Environmental Justice. Thank you partners for your dedication, support, and leadership in keeping our homes safe, healthy, and affordable. Thank you to:

HUD Lead & Healthy Homes Office, San Diego Housing Commission, City of San Diego Environmental Services Department, San Diego City Attorney’s Office, City of National City Housing Authority, City of National City Community Development, MAAC Project Weatherization Program, Campesinos Unidos, Rebuilding Together, Energy Team, La Maestra Community Health Centers, San Ysidro Health Center

We look forward to getting back to our healthy homes visits. They are an opportunity to visit families and share information about healthy homes, conduct a healthy homes assessment, and provide a free kit with resources and tools that families can put to use right away.  As part of our visit, we provide a customized healthy homes plan and may refer families to lead hazard control programs, weatherization services, code enforcement, and/or to our local clinics to support asthma, respiratory illnesses, lead poisoning. It does take a village!  Again, thank you, partners! 

 

What’s your favorite Healthy Homes Tip?

 

Homepage banner MCAS Petition 3

Our communities have suffered for too long from the pollution generated by the Port of San Diego and its tenants. Communities neighboring the Port have some of the highest levels of diesel pollution in the San Diego region. Barrio Logan has 98% more diesel pollution than the rest of the state.

Port Pollution Is Hurting Our Health

  • Diesel pollution causes lung cancer, and chronic diseases like asthma, heart disease, breathing problems, and more.
  • In 2018, chronic diseases like these caused 53% of all deaths in South San Diego.
  • The children in our neighborhoods have more than double the rate of asthma emergency rooms visit than the county average.

It’s Time for the Port to be a Good Neighbor

The Port is working on the Maritime Clean Air Strategy (MCAS), a plan to clean up the damage it is doing to our air.

The MCAS is supposed to create clear goals, rules, and deadlines for the Port to reduce the air pollution it creates. However, the Port's current plan is business as usual and does NOT put our health first.

Our Health Can’t Wait! We Deserve Clean Air Now

The Port can put our health first by committing to these goals in the Maritime Clean Air Strategy:

  • Decrease the risk of cancer by reducing diesel and other toxic air pollutants
  • Require heavy-duty trucks to transition to zero-emission vehicles (ZEV)
  • Implement a plan to install ZEV charging stations
  • Develop revenue sources to implement the MCAS goals

Sign Our Petition: Tell the Port you deserve to breathe clean air

Click below to sign our petition and demand clean air.

Sign the Petition

More Information & Resources