How A Tool That Tracks California’s ‘Disadvantaged Communities’ Is Costing S.F. Millions In State Funding

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

.... For the past decade, some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods have been ineligible for significant investments as a result of a complex California Environmental Protection Agency tool called the CalEnviroScreen, which maps “disadvantaged communities” by census tract — geographic areas of about 1,000 to 8,000 people designated by the U.S. Census Bureau. 

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Assembly Member Phil Ting, chair of the Bay Area legislative caucus, said he and others have raised similar concerns with CalEPA. They’re worried that the region’s leadership on environmental issues has inadvertently cut at-risk communities from needed funds and opportunities.

“I don’t think there’s any problem with the screen,” Ting said. “I think that you have to be very careful what the screen is applied to. If this is really about environmental damage and trying to mitigate environmental damage, then let’s make sure that we are using this tool for programs that are very focused on that particular issue. Let’s not misuse this screen for affordable housing or for access to park space.”