Thursday, June 1, 2023 | 12:00pm – 1:00pm Eastern | Virtual | Registration Link
Presented by PA Senator Nikil Saval, UC Berkeley’s Socio-Spatial Collaborative, or (SC)2, and Climate and Community Project
In July 2022, Pennsylvania signed the Whole-Home Repairs Program into law. Championed by state Senator Nikil Saval, Whole-Home Repairs is designed to improve housing livability and affordability and prepare state residents for a low-carbon future. The program funds three key interventions: grants for low- and moderate-income homeowners and forgivable loans for small landlords to undertake critical home repairs, accompanied by strong affordability requirements for renters; job training for good careers in home retrofitting; and county-level staff to help homeowners navigate the application and contracting process. Senator Saval’s WHR presents a novel solution to two major problems confronting existing home weatherization and retrofitting programs: delivering enough resources upfront to cover major repairs and providing grants that do not impose further financial pressures on cost-burdened households.
Join our conversation to hear about how groups won the bipartisan Whole Home Repairs Program in Pennsylvania, understand the benefits it brings to Pennsylvanians, and discuss how communities and policymakers can replicate the program in their state or community.
State Senator Nikil Saval is a father, husband, writer, and organizer. He’s proud to be raising his sons, Ishaan and Mayukh, in South Philadelphia with his wife, Shannon Garrison, a historic preservationist. Saval’s organizing is deeply rooted in the labor movement. From 2009 to 2013, he was a volunteer labor organizer with UNITE HERE, organizing boycotts against luxury hotel developers to fight for the rights of housekeepers and helping to win back the jobs of noontime aides laid off because of Governor Tom Corbett’s budget cuts. Saval also has extensive experience in community and electoral organizing. In 2016, he was a leader in U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. From this experience, Saval went on to co-found Reclaim Philadelphia, a progressive organization working for racial, gender, and economic justice throughout the Philadelphia area. In 2018, he organized campaigns to fight for change in the Democratic Party and was elected as Leader of Philadelphia’s Democratic Second Ward. Saval was the first Asian American to hold the position of Ward Leader in Philadelphia. In his career as a writer, Saval has been a frequent contributor to The New York Times and a contributing writer for The New Yorker, covering architecture, design, and housing. Saval previously served as co-editor of the literary journal n+1 and still serves on its board of directors. In 2014, Saval published his book Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace. In Cubed, he examined the long-term evolution of the office from its roots in 19th century counting houses all the way to the cubicle, ultimately presenting a world in which workplaces, and the lives of the workers within them, could be improved in the future. Saval’s parents immigrated to the United States from Bangalore, India. In 1982, the year Saval was born, his parents opened a pizza restaurant, where Saval spent much of his childhood and adolescence. The employees of the restaurant were immigrants of all statuses, and Saval’s parents helped many of them secure documentation. His family’s experiences, as immigrants and as small business owners, were formative for Saval, giving shape to his perspective on workers’ rights. Much of Saval’s spring 2020 campaign for Pennsylvania State Senate took place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented global hardship. In response, his campaign transformed rapidly to a mutual aid hub. Saval is deeply committed to solidarity and justice for working people. He is fighting for a Philadelphia and Pennsylvania that works for the many and not the few.
Nick Graetz is a demographer/sociologist studying the political economy of housing and population health. His dissertation focuses on the role of place in producing racialized inequality across the life-course, including the long-run consequences of racist housing policies on outcomes related to household wealth and population health. At Princeton’s Eviction Lab, Graetz is working on several projects related to the rental housing market, displacement, social programs, and health outcomes. His work in these areas is published or forthcoming in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Nature, Spatial Demography, Sociological Methodology, the Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, the New England Journal of Medicine, and elsewhere.
Patrick Bigger researches how capitalism tries to manage its socioecological contradictions by making nature investable or governable in new ways. He has written on carbon markets, green bonds, for-profit biodiversity conservation, and multilateral development bank programs to explain the operations of state/finance for decarbonization, climate adaptation, and landscape restoration. His secondary research program is on the geopolitical ecology of the US military, melding critical geopolitics with political ecology to explore how US military action operates on and through nature. Formerly based at Lancaster University in the UK, he is currently the Research Director at the Climate and Community Project.
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