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KCBX News Update: Nonprofit secures loans for new SLO County housing, Newsom proposes beaver funding

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Courtesy of People's Self-Help Housing
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A People's Self-Help Housing project called Missions Gardens.

Governor Newsom proposes beaver restoration program that could affect SLO County beavers

Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing funding to support what he calls a “creative climate solving hero” – the North American Beaver. The rodent is known to help restore drought-stricken areas of California by restoring wetlands and groundwater basins.

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Credit: Rachel Showalter
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Emily Fairfax stands in the Salinas River on a "beaver walk."

The governor is initially requesting more than $3 million in the next few fiscal years to support and maintain a beaver restoration program within the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Specifically, the request is for $1.67 million in fiscal year 2022-23, and $1.44 million in fiscal year 2023-24 and ongoing.

Locally, San Luis Obispo County has beaver populations in the Salinas River and Arroyo Grande Creek, and Santa Barbara County has them in the Santa Ynez River.

Emily Fairfax is a scientist who teaches at CSU Channel Islands and studies beavers, and she spoke to KCBX about the animal's environmental impacts while on a “beaver walk” in the Salinas River.

“There’s a lot that we can do today to make California more hospitable for beavers and to encourage this kind of thing in more of our rivers and streams," Fairfax said.

The funding would go towards investments like hiring staff researchers, buying trapping equipment and funding health analysis.

The San Luis Obispo Beaver Brigade has upcoming citizen science surveys of the local beaver population in June, July and August. They’re encouraging volunteers to join them.

People's Self-Help Housing secures loans for new housing across SLO County

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Courtesy of People's Self-Help Housing
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Steve Zavala works on a construction project for People's Self-Help Housing.

New single-family housing developments are planned for two unincorporated communities at opposite ends of San Luis Obispo County: Nipomo and San Miguel.

The local nonprofit People's Self-Help Housing announced yesterday it has qualified for two loans from the Housing Assistance Council to support 10 two-story homes in Nipomo and 15-single story homes in San Miguel.

Ken Trigueiro is the President and CEO of People's Self-Help Housing. He said the projects are meant for low-income people to have a chance at home ownership.

“We could do these [projects] all day long, because of course that’s the American dream, and it’s so out of reach for so many people," Trigueiro said.

Households would be required to help build their houses, which Trigueiro calls “sweat equity.”

The project’s application form is online at pshhc.org.

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