WULABITK (ROOTS): OUR STORY
Regional Context: Addressing Dual Crises
Since time immemorial, the Wiyot people have lived along Shou’r (the Pacific Ocean) and around Wigi (Humboldt Bay). Until the onset of settler-colonialism in the 1850s they have lived in reciprocal relationship with over 40 miles of coastline, extending inland about 10 miles, living in balance with the plants, animals, earth, water, and air across multiple ecosystems and watersheds. Today, this unceded ancestral territory is marked by the negative effects of decades of extractive practices around fur, minerals, timber, fishing, water diversion, and more recently, real estate speculation. This has left the region to face increasing economic inequality alongside environmental degradation and destabilization.
Dishgamu Humbodlt was created to address these challenges and help restore balance to Wiyot ancestral territory - now a collection of highly interdependent yet disparately governed cities and towns, as well as the population center of Humboldt County and the northern California coast. Our deeply rooted environmental knowledge and territorial-scale perspective make us uniquely equipped to address the scale and complexity of the challenges before us.
A key symptom of this imbalance is the lack of access to affordable, safe, and healthy housing. This not only impacts the ability of Wiyot people to remain in their homeland, but threatens the ability of the entire community to thrive in right relationship to the land. Short-sighted or profit-driven responses to current housing market pressures threaten to destroy natural resources, put communities in the path of environmental hazards, and ignore the needs of historically underserved communities. The current market creates many contradictions: over a thousand houseless people living alongside vacant buildings; residents in subsidized housing choosing between economic advancement and housing security; and supposed solutions only adding fuel to the current crisis. Dishgamu Humboldt seeks to establish radically alternative forms of housing development that remove the profit-motive and empower communities.
Understanding the scale of our region’s housing needs and the communities most impacted helps us set priorities for new housing construction and affordable housing preservation.
It is clear that those with incomes below the area median are the most vulnerable in our current housing market. Below are example median incomes for certain demographics in Humboldt County, compared to the area median of $54,752.