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California Dream

Traffic sign of CA interstate 1 highway.

You became a Californian because someone in your family believed in a dream. A strong public education. The promise of a job. The weather. (Ahhh, the weather.) In its long history, the California Dream has meant different things to different people. Today, the state’s identity is in marked contrast to the rest of the country. The dream may still be alive, but it’s challenged at every corner.

What does it mean today?

KPBS and mission-driven media organizations around the state will explore the California Dream starting this year. Reporters and producers will tell the personal stories and discuss the ideas that make up the history, future and current state of the California Dream.

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One State, Unaffordable: Your Housing Questions, Answered

July 13
Kacey Gardner / Capital Public Radio

When it comes to living in California and why it costs so much — you have a lot of questions. We set out to get answers.

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Is California’s Legacy Environmental Law Protecting The State’s Beauty Or Blocking Affordable Housing?

July 10
Ben Bradford/Capital Public Radio

Habitat for Humanity wants to build affordable housing in Redwood City, but a nearby resident is using the California Environmental Quality Act to stop the apartments.

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High Home Prices And Congestion Shrink The California Dream

July 5
Meghan McCarty Carino / KPCC

With California’s problems of affordability and congestion, many of us are paying a higher price for an ever-shrinking sliver of California paradise. Even those lucky enough to be able to afford a home often do so at the expense of some of the quintessential perks of life in the Golden State.

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California Dream: Exploring The Promise — And Unintended Consequences — Of Rent Control

June 27
Chris Nichols/Capital Public Radio

As rents have increased, so have calls to strengthen rent control laws across the state. Voters this fall will have the chance to weigh in on a potential first step.

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A Dimming Dream Of Retirement In California

June 19
By Amita Sharma

California has one of the highest percentages of seniors living in poverty in the United States, behind only Washington D.C. Escalating rent and healthcare costs are forcing many of California’s elderly, especially women, onto a path of downward mobility.

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Should Someone Making $200K A Year Get Help To Buy A House In California?

June 14
Matt Levin / CAL MATTERS

When the California Housing Finance Agency was created in 1975 during Governor Jerry Brown’s first term, the mission was simple: help low- and moderate-income families buy their first home. More than 40 years later, that goal is getting harder and harder to attain.

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Housing Costs Crush California’s Low-Income College Students

June 8
Vanessa Rancaño / KQED

Attending a university in California can be a financial burden beyond the means of many college hopefuls. Rising tuition is compounded by the lack of affordable housing in the state and the high cost of living.

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Making San Francisco’s Gritty Tenderloin Safer For Kids

June 1
Farida Jhabvala Romero/KQED

On a wet sidewalk in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, Michael Cameron approached a middle-aged man snorting a white powder cupped in his hands. Cameron, a 65-year old volunteer in the neighborhood, asked the drug user to move across the street. He knew hundreds of school children soon would be walking by.

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California’s High Rent Leaves Many One Crisis Away From Financial Ruin

May 29
By Amita Sharma

The state’s notoriously high housing costs are gobbling up paychecks, leaving many teetering on the brink of financial disaster.

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Is California’s Expensive Housing Scaring Away Job Seekers?

May 24
David Wagner/KPCC

California employers and job recruiters find it tough to lure out-of-state workers at a time when unemployment rates are falling and housing prices are rising.

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What Half a Million Buys You Around California (And How It Shapes Where We Move)

May 22
Matt Levin / CALmatters

The median price of a California single-family home is now well over half a million dollars. That’s more than double what the average house costs in the rest of the U.S.

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Only City In California To Solve Veteran Homelessness Is On A Mission To Go Bigger

May 10
By Amita Sharma

The city of Riverside is the only one in the state to place all of its veterans in permanent housing, according to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

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Five Reasons California’s Housing Costs Are So High, With Charts and Graphs

May 3
Matt Levin / CALmatters

Why are California housing costs so high? At its most basic level, it’s a story of supply and demand — lots of people want to live here, and there aren’t enough homes to go around.

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California’s GOP Has ‘Hit The Iceberg.’ Can It Be Saved?

April 23
Ben Bradford/Capital Public Radio

With the June primary approaching, there is a fight underway for the identity of the California Republican Party.

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How California Car Culture Killed The Promise Of A 20-Minute Commute

April 16
Meghan McCarty Carino/KPCC

As an innovator and early adopter of freeways, California became the symbolic capital of car culture. But the ease of movement conferred by the massive postwar freeway building boom was short-lived, turning the dream of car travel into a nightmare of congestion and long commutes.

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