A newly formed committee of officials from six Southern California counties was briefed Wednesday on a draft framework intended to promote racial and social equity and an inclusive economic recovery strategy.
The Special Committee on Equity and Social Justice was convened by the Southern California Association of Governments as part its commitment to combat racism, social injustice and an equity gap.
Staff from the metropolitan planning organization presented an early action plan Wednesday for its overall equity work and outlined steps for developing an Inclusive Economic Recovery Strategy, including 20 to 30 small group strategy meetings across the region over the next two months.
Those meetings, along with a survey of stakeholders, will help develop an action plan and identify opportunities for coordination and collaboration.
The potential components of the Regional Inclusive Economic Recovery Strategy identified by staff include:
— Projects promoting clean transportation and increasing access to jobs and housing;
— Infrastructure projects promoting sustainable infrastructure, improving quality of life and creating equity-ready jobs;
— Identifying the top needs of growth sectors and growing businesses providing the greatest opportunities for family supporting jobs and economic mobility;
— Supporting efforts to provide a range of housing for households at all income levels, as well as an economic generator for family-supporting construction jobs; and
— Identifying supportive infrastructure creating opportunities for economic mobility, such as job training and education, child care, public and mental health, access to capital and affordable housing.
“For Southern California to truly recover from the devastation of the pandemic, we need to close this growing racial equity gap and long-range planning for transportation and land use has a critical role to play,” said Long Beach Councilman Rex Richardson, SCAG’s president.
“As we build our recovery strategy, creating an environment where everyone has the opportunity to succeed is essential to building a strong, resilient, sustainable economy.”
SCAG declared racism a public health crisis in July and has led regionwide discussions in subsequent months on ways to eliminate barriers that reduce opportunity for millions of Southern Californians.
The has established a partnership with the California Community Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Institute and the Irvine Foundation to promote community-driven equitable growth strategies throughout the six counties comprising SCAG.
The California Community Foundation put out the formal call this month for applications for funding awards to local nonprofit organizations to support programs that promote equitable growth strategies.
SCAG is dedicating $1 million of Regional Early Action Planning grant funds toward this program, which will combine with additional dollars from the foundation partners.