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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Davis Community Action Network launches ‘Community Voices’

The project received feedback from the community on their hopes for the future of local affordable housing


By HANNAH SCHRADER — city@theaggie.org


On Sunday, Nov. 12, the Davis Community Action Network (Davis CAN) launched their Community Voices Project at the Da Vinci Tech Hub. The organization held the event to gather public input on the future of affordable housing in Davis.

The meeting focused on a presentation of what Davis CAN is, the need for action to be taken on the affordable housing front and a small group discussion for community members.

NJ Mvondo, a board member of the Davis CAN, discussed how the Community Voices project came together.

“There is also concern about the general plan of the city, which is outdated, so my point is that there are several little crises everywhere that triggered the need for an organization like this one to be created so that we are able to pull resources together,” Mvondo said. “We are able to bring together people who [are not] seeing the same thing, quite the opposite. We all have different opinions on a variety of things. But we agree on something: Davis needs more housing [and] it needs to be affordable.”

During the event, Mvondo broke those in attendance into smaller groups to discuss ongoing housing issues and gather data on community input. Mvondo talked about the importance of gathering feedback.

“It’s different every time; today we’re going to group people by neighborhood and there’s going to be some developers in the house,” Mvondo said. “Today really is a listening session. So we need to hear from people, we are gathering data and then that’s going to inform how we are moving forward.”

Victor Lagunas, another board member for the Davis CAN, gave an introductory presentation that discussed the Davis community.

“I am humbled to be part of this team. I think that this is a great group of people… that have value in trying to make Davis and the greater community a really wonderful place,” Lagunas said.

Lagunas introduced the Davis CAN board and then stated the Davis CAN principles.

“Our Davis Community Action Network is guided by these following principles,” Lagunas said. “Number one, we believe that racial, social [and] environmental justice and the intersection of that has to be at the center of all of our efforts. That goes along with two, which is that we acknowledge the impact of structural inequities… as well as how how they impact our community and how we need structural changes to address them. Three, we value the collective well-being of our current and future community.”

Judy Ennis, the executive director of the Davis CAN, then continued the introductory presentation by emphasizing the importance of putting a plan in place to make the future of affordable housing in Davis climate-friendly.

“We are already a different Davis and we are becoming [a] different Davis every day moving to the future, especially in light of climate change,” Ennis said. “We need an updated general plan in order to address the context that we’re working in now and what’s coming up.”

Ennis recognized the role that the university plays in Davis and the students who are suffering as a result of Davis lacking affordable housing.

“The next statistic might surprise [you]: 18 percent of students have experienced homelessness or housing insecurity,” Ennis said. “That’s an outrageously high number [and] one cause is housing costs again and again.”

To finish the presentation, Ennis shared the importance of working together as a community to solve the housing crisis in Davis while also doing so in a way that is climate-friendly.

“We don’t own this work,” Ennis said. “DCAN (Davis Can) is one of many. These groups that you see up here are all doing different work right now to push our community forward into the future.”


Written by: Hannah Schrader  city@theaggie.org


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