James Gore, Supervisor (Sonoma County, CA)

Sonoma County’s Resilience Fund Aims to Combat COVID Inequalities

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will allocate $39.2 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan toward the county’s Community Resilience Fund. NewDEALer Sonoma County Board Chair James Gore is a proponent of the effort and has outlined steps to ensure the funds will assist those who felt the greatest economic and health disparities during the pandemic. Projects range from training childcare workers to the Small Business Equity & Recovery program, which is targeted at minority-owned businesses. Project proposals must address one of ten identified priority areas, including educational disparities, food assistance, and mental health. The county is encouraging proposals from businesses or nonprofits to promote collaboration, and prioritizing projects that seek to address gaps in education, health, and wealth across racial, ethnic, gender, or geographic lines. A current project making use of the funds is expanding rural broadband to address the disparity in access felt by low-income students. Click here to learn more about how Sonoma County is using federal funding to address existing inequities.


ALOHA Homes: Affordable, Locally Owned Homes for All

What’s the Problem?

My father, an immigrant from China, worked one state job.  He was able to buy a house, put my brother and me through private school, put me through private college and graduate school, buy investment property, and retire comfortably.

Since then, Hawaii has developed a severe housing shortage.  About 11,000 students graduate annually from Hawaii public schools.  Only 2,000 homes are built annually.  Because of this structural undersupply, the median home price in three of the four counties now exceeds $1 million, and the state has lost population for 4 straight years.  Hawaii has the country’s highest percentage of people working multiple jobs and both parents working.  For young people today, it is no longer possible to buy a home, provide for one’s family, and enjoy retirement.  The housing shortage is the principal obstacle to fulfilling the basic progressive promise, “One job should be enough.”


What’s the Solution?

Singapore is an island less than half the size of Oahu, but with over five times the population.  It houses over 80 percent of its population in high quality, well maintained public housing that is available to all citizens for only $180,000 on average for a new three bedroom unit.  Even the President of Singapore lived in public housing before moving into the Presidential Palace.

ALOHA Homes (Affordable, Locally Owned Homes for All) adapts the Singaporean public housing model to Hawaii’s unique needs.  It would provide new, unsubsidized homes to Hawaii residents who would be owner-occupants and own no other real property for below market prices.  By building high density homes on state-owned parcels near rail stations, the state can house its future generations without developing agricultural, conservation or otherwise undeveloped land; without adding to the traffic on our roads; and create walkable, livable, safe neighborhoods.


South City Tech Hub: Creating Digital Equity


The South City neighborhood in Tallahassee has one of the highest rates of families living in poverty in Leon County (44.8%). Due to COVID-19, almost 800 South City students were unable to experience equal learning opportunities as they did not have the devices, connectivity or technical assistance to fully participate in digital learning.  Students are falling behind in school, parents lack the tech skills to support their students, access employment opportunities, or get medical and other services for themselves and their families.  



The South City Tech Hub provides internet access, technical assistance, and skill building opportunities to Tallahassee’s South Side community by supporting school readiness and success for students and parents. The Tech Hub provides a resource for research, job search, connectivity, tele-health, schoolwork and even legal services.


Lansing Built to Last


 Lansing Built to Last was a local startup competition held in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We realized that in order for our community to thrive, businesses must have a strategy in place and be prepared to make it through the toughest of times.



The competition invited all entrepreneurs and idea-makers to submit their emergency-resistant business proposals for the opportunity to win a year’s worth of services to help launch their business. Ideas had to require a physical space downtown, withstand emergency circumstances, and enhance the community that surrounds it.


Troy Singleton, Senator (Moorestown, NJ)

Protecting Small Businesses in New Jersey

This week, NewDEAL Leader Senator Troy Singleton’s legislation to protect small businesses throughout the state from tax burdens on PPP loans was signed into law, providing more relief businesses that struggled during the pandemic. Singleton’s bill ensures that any forgiven Payment Protection Program loans are not subject to state income tax and that recipients can deduct the expenses, which Congress recently affirmed was the intent of the CARES Act. Read more about Senator Singleton’s bill here.


Ryan Fecteau, Speaker of the House (Biddeford, ME)

Investing in Affordable Child Care in Maine

NewDEAL Leader Speaker of the Maine House Ryan Fecteau is working to meet the needs of Maine residents struggling to find affordable, quality child care by sponsoring a bill that would require several state agencies to prioritize the training and recruitment of more workers into the childcare profession. Additionally, once COVID-19 relief funds that will be used for a similar purpose are exhausted, the legislation would allocate $4.5 million each year to continue supplementing higher wages, as chronically low wages make worker retention and recruitment difficult. Read more about Rep. Fecteau’s bill here.


Sam Liccardo, Mayor (San Jose, CA)

Resilience Corps for Recovery

NewDEAL Leader San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is leading a coalition of mayors in the creation of resilience corps programs across the nation, with the dual purpose of mobilizing citizens to address pandemic recovery needs and to provide living wage jobs for those participating in the corps. Mayor Liccardo led the coalition in penning letters to Congress and the White House, calling for funding for the Resilience Corps and the Civilian Climate Corps it’s based on. The mayor also announced the creation of his city’s Resilience Corps, which will hire 500 unemployed and underemployed young residents to work on tasks across five specific areas of need in the city. Check out San Jose coverage here and read more on the Resilience Corps from the mayor’s office.

Want to learn how you can join the coalition to support the creation of resilience corps across the nation or implement the idea in your area? Respond to this email or contact a NewDEAL staffer for information on how to get involved.


Lauren McLean, Mayor (Boise, ID)

Housing Program Brings Stability

Taking office just weeks before the pandemic hit, NewDEAL Leader Boise Mayor Lauren McLean had already made affordable housing a top priority. But with COVID exacerbating housing issues and putting more families at risk for homelessness, Mayor McLean worked with city and county partners to recently pass the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to administer grants to help residents cover rent and other living expenses.  The program is funded with monies from the U.S. Treasury Department as part of the second COVID relief package. Speaking about possible additional relief from Congress, Mayor McLean told the Well News, “Obviously, the more funds that are made available, the more you can do, and what we’ve been advocating for in the next stimulus is funding that will enable us to secure funds for those experiencing homelessness. If the feds are willing, we’re ready to acquire, rehab or construct new affordable housing in a community that really needs it.”  Read more about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and other ideas to address affordable housing in a recent interview Mayor McLean did with Well News.


Robert Garcia, Mayor (Long Beach, CA)

A Model Vaccine Rollout

As states and cities have varying levels of success with ramping up vaccinations, NewDEAL Leader Long Beach, CA Mayor Robert Garcia has created a system hailed by his governor as a model. The city’s effective response allowed it to be the first to open up vaccinations to non-medical essential workers after moving speedily through its first phase, which included health care workers and nursing home residents and staff. Building on the city’s prioritization of bringing testing to harder-hit neighborhoods, Long Beach turned testing sites into vaccine sites and created a robust notification system that keeps residents up to date on their eligibility. Read the New York Times write-up for more details on California’s vaccination process and Long Beach’s success.