Friday, December 1, 2017

Sierra Club Volunteers Join in Supporting a Brighter Future for Solar and Sustainable Affordable Housing

Sierra Club Volunteers Join in Supporting a Brighter Future for Solar and Sustainable Affordable Housing

By Gonzalo Valdes, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Representative

Last month, Sierra Club Suncoast Group members stood in support of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Green Housing provider Bright Community Trust’s efforts to make affordable housing truly affordable and sustainable.

Partners came together at one of the new solar-paneled homes to showcase this new concept of combining affordable housing with solar technology. During the event, key members of the community spoke to the need for more affordable housing as well as green solutions to help frontline communities deal with the effects of income inequality.

Bright Community Trust staff with Mayor Kriseman
accepting the Wells Fargo Priority Markets Grant
While most efforts only consider the affordability of buying the home, Bright Community Trust takes into account other crippling expenses, such as utilities.  Standing in front of one their newly finished units in Downtown St Petersburg, Bright Community Trust spoke extensively about their intention to create more options for people looking for cost-effective solutions. Mayor Rick Kriseman spoke about the need for the city to invest in projects like this, projects looking to alleviate the burden of poverty while also contributing towards making our environment healthier.The showcased house, the first of many of this type, is an affordable housing unit fitted with solar panels. It is to be sold to someone making 80% or less of the area median income (approx. $33,500/yr).The property is located on a community land trust, which helps ensure that the subsequent buyer also meets the criteria of being at or below 80% of the area’s median income.

The Sierra Club applauded the Bright Community Trust for being forward thinking and said it was extremely excited to see collaboration and support from local officials like Mayor Kriseman.

An inspiring coalition of community groups, corporate partners, and elected officials are collaborating on clean energy and community wealth building projects. The forward-thinking solutions emerging from this work give us all immense hope for a brighter future for the Sunshine State.

Wells Fargo has committed $80,000 to assist Bright Community Trust in acquiring solar panels to be installed on affordable housing units in the coming year.

NOTE: While the Sierra Club appreciates the contribution of Wells Fargo to making this solar project a reality, it still has serious concerns with Wells Fargo’s involvement in dirty fuels globally. Between 2014 and 2016, Wells Fargo invested at least $5 billion into the coal, oil, and gas industries that are driving the climate crisis. Wells Fargo has been a major financier of the Dakota Access pipeline, as well as TransCanada, the Canadian oil company behind Keystone XL.