Guiding Principles for Housing Policy
The tech economy has driven massive growth in the Bay Area over the last decade. For some, this growth has created unprecedented windfalls. For too many others, it has meant exacerbated inequality and displacement, and the erosion of some of our most vulnerable communities.
We believe the housing crisis, specifically the region’s inability to build enough housing at all income levels to keep up with our population growth, along with persistent and systemic racial discrimination, are at the root of this problem. Since 2011 the region has created over four jobs per unit of housing, driving up costs at a rate that makes it impossible for many to keep up. Communities of color, which have been intentionally left out of growth cycles of the past, are acutely affected by the crisis.
In order for a growing economy — driven in large part by the tech industry — to benefit more people and to lift up communities that need it the most, we must find solutions to this increasingly urgent issue.
This document outlines the TechEquity Collaborative’s approach to engaging with the housing crisis, both the advocacy campaigns we will undertake and the partnerships we will build around those campaigns. These principles also represent a statement of values for our member base (primarily tech workers). It is a living document that will be re-evaluated and revised periodically, in consultation with TechEquity’s housing committee and our housing advisory board.
For the first time in recent history, all the pieces are in place to fix the affordability crisis for good. When you become a member, you make your voice louder in this fight and take the first step towards building a more equitable Bay Area.
We believe the following to be true
Housing is a human right.
We must make policy with an eye towards the future not the past.
There's room enough for everyone.
No one should be made to feel unwelcome in the Bay Area. Bay Area residents pride ourselves on our progressive, inclusive politics and those values should extend to those who want to make this region their home. This includes newcomers and long-term residents, old and young, and all races, classes and creeds. Newcomers also should respect the perspectives of residents who have been here for decades, and seek to understand the culture, people and history of this place they now call home.
Housing shouldn't be a zero-sum game.
Pro-Development: We must build more housing at all income levels, with a priority for affordable housing
We have to build more housing.
The state needs 180,000 new units of housing every year to keep up with population growth. Over the past ten years, we have averaged only 80,000 units per year. Breaking the gridlock that creates this restriction of supply will require:
Providing more capital for affordable housing development.
Reducing the costs of development.
Streamlining permitting processes.
Reforming land use rules.
Unlocking public land throughout the region.
Anti-Displacement: We must protect vulnerable communities from being pushed out
Often lost in the conversation about solutions to the housing crisis is attention to how we can help the most vulnerable residents stay in their homes now. The housing we need to build to make up the shortfall will take years to come online, even if we break ground on every project tomorrow. In the meantime, more and more vulnerable residents will be displaced, pushed into homelessness or so far out of the region that they can’t reasonably access the employment opportunities our booming economy creates.
We have to prioritize solutions to the displacement crisis as much as we prioritize increasing new housing supply. This means:
Enhancing tenant protections.
Many cities have enacted “just cause” policies (meaning landlords can only evict tenants for a good reason) and provide support for tenants who are facing eviction but these resources are not universally available. We should make sure that renter protections — that weigh the needs of small mom-and-pop landlords — not only exist but are accessible to the most vulnerable tenants, increasing the likelihood they can stay in their homes.
Enforcing fair housing laws and preventing discrimination.
Converting existing housing stock to permanently affordable units.
Exploring reforms to rent control regulations.
TechEquity Housing Committee & Advisory Board
These TechEquity Collaborative members work closely with TEC staff to make sure our members’ voices are included in our housing work.
These experts from across the housing policy spectrum advise our work in this area.
Carol Galante is the I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy and the Faculty Director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation. She also co-chairs the Policy Advisory Board of the Fisher Center of Real Estate and Urban Economics.
As Faculty Director for the Terner Center, Galante oversees the Center’s work and co-leads the Center’s research agenda, supervising projects that identify, develop and advance innovative solutions in local, state and federal housing policy and practice. In her role as I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy, Professor Galante teaches graduate courses on housing policy and community development, including a semester-long studio intensive course on the design and finance of affordable housing development.
Prior to coming to UC Berkeley, Galante served in the Obama Administration for over five years as the Assistant Secretary for Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing programs.
Galante holds a Master of City Planning from U.C. Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts from Ohio Wesleyan.
Fernando Martí is co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO), a coalition of 25 community- and faith-based affordable developers and housing justice advocates in San Francisco. Fernando is a licensed architect, holds Masters degrees in Architecture and City Planning from UC Berkeley, and has taught studios in the design and financing of affordable housing. He was a founder of the SF Community Land Trust, and serves on the board of PODER, an environmental justice base-building organization in SF’s Mission and Excelsior neighborhoods. He is also an exhibiting printmaker and is a member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. An immigrant from Ecuador, he has made his home and built community as a renter in San Francisco since 1992.