State Housing Policy – Equitable Development for an Inclusive California

December 4, 2018

Yesterday, state lawmakers returned to Sacramento to swear in our newly elected representatives and kick off the 2019-2020 legislative session. As they turn to the business of writing laws, we call on them to join our growing movement of tenants, community groups, affordable housing providers, equity advocates, and other housing justice leaders as we work to advance equitable housing policy and secure a future of shared prosperity for California.

The exponential rise of housing costs is impacting ALL Californians, but it is hitting low-income familiesindigenous communities, communities of color, and other vulnerable populations hardest. Today, California is facing a severe shortage of housing for low-income families, with a shortfall of 1.54 million rental homes for extremely low-income (ELI) and very low-income (VLI) renter households alone. In “hot market” urban communities, housing prices have soared and gentrification has brought unprecedented displacement, with long-time African American and Latino/a residents being particularly impacted. Rural communities are not faring much better, with low-income households struggling to secure safe, stable housing that they can afford. As a result, millions of individuals and families are being forced to make unfair choices. Will they pay their rent or pay for food, health care, or other critical goods and services? Should they stay in a community where they have strong social ties, support systems, and services or move to far-off places with few supports and long commutes?

This inequity is not an accident. It is the outcome of a complex set of historical and contemporary policies that incentivize corporate real estate speculation, disinvest in affordable development, create financial and political barriers to the construction of new affordable housing, and provide insufficient protections to low-income renters and other vulnerable populations.

Instead of grappling with these complex issues, too often state lawmakers focus in on market-based policy solutions that do not fully consider the needs of those being hit hardest by the housing affordability crisis. Over the last several years there has been a growing trend towards prioritizing housing policies that focus on incentivizing and accelerating the creation of market-rate housing, despite clear evidence that our primary supply shortfall is for below market-rate housing.

Housing Now!, a coalition of community and tenant groups, labor unions and equity advocates, is working to advance policy solutions  that protect low-income renters and other vulnerable people, preserve housing affordable to low-income households, increase the production of affordable housing, and address barriers to mixed-income housing development in high-resource communities so that they accommodate their fair share of housing needs.  We look forward to working with policymakers to achieve these goals.


Housing Now! Endorsing Organizations

Statewide:   Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) • AFSCME Local 3299 • Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) • California Calls • Gamaliel California • California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) • Courage Campaign • Housing California • Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) • PICO California• PolicyLink • Public Advocates • Public Interest Law Project • SEIU Local 2015 • Tenants Together • SEIU-USWW • Western Center on Law & Poverty   Local & Regional Organizations:  Alameda Renters Coalition • Alliance for Community Transit (ACT-LA) • Bend the Arc – Southern California • California Coalition for Rural Housing • Causa Justa Just Cause (CJJC) • Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) • Chinatown Community for Equitable Development (CCED) • Clinica Romero• Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) • Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto • Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO) • Crenshaw Subway Coalition • Democratic Socialists of America-East Bay • Democratic Socialists of America-Los Angeles • Democratic Socialists of America-Sacramento • Democratic Socialists of America-Santa Barbara • East Area Progressive Democrats • East Bay Housing Organization (EBHO) • Employee Rights Center • Eviction Defense Collaborative • Faith in Bay Action • Faith in the Valley • Fannie Lou Hamer Institute • Glendale Tenants Union • Housing Advocates • Housing Is a Human Right • Housing Long Beach • Housing Rights Committee San Francisco • Inland Empire for Our Revolution • Inner City Law Center • Institute of the Black World 21st Century • Korean Resource Center (KRC) • Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) • LA VOICE (PICO Affliate) • Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability • Long Beach Residents Empowered (LiBRE) • Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA-CAN) • Los Angeles Forward • Los Angeles Human Rights Collective • Los Angeles Tenants Union (LATU) • Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) • National Lawyers Guild – Los Angeles (NLG-LA) • North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP) • Pasadena Tenants Union • People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER)• Sacramento Housing Alliance • San Diego Organizing Project • San Francisco Tenants Union (SFTU) • SEIU Local 1021 • SEIU Local 221 • Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) • UFCW Local 135 • Union de Vecinos • United Taxi Workers of San Diego (UTWSD) • United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) • Uplift Inglewood • Urban Habitat