Production: 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 us to look at every side of the issue. We’ll need to innovate where it’s possible, and change political will where it’s not.
While we wait for new housing production to come online, we need to enact policies that prevent renters and low-income homeowners from losing their homes.
Protection and Preservation: We must protect vulnerable communities from being pushed out and preserve affordable housing where it already exists
While we wait for new housing production to come online, we need to enact policies that prevent renters and low-income homeowners from losing their homes. The passage of the California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 was a big first step, now we need to make sure those expanded protections are enforced.
We also need to preserve as much existing affordable housing as possible, supporting new forms of ownership such as land trusts and providing funds for nonprofit developers and public agencies to purchase privately-owned buildings to convert to permanent affordable housing.
Acknowledge and account for the racial bias inherent in the system
Underlying both of these policy priorities is a need to acknowledge that current settlement patterns and housing systems are built on a legacy of racism. Any work on housing policy must take this history into account, and support efforts to undo the effects of decades of government-sanctioned segregation and lack of investment in communities of color (particularly black communities).
This means racial impacts must be included in decisions about the location and prioritization of developments and that we should favor projects that bring benefits to existing community members. We also must hold communities that have traditionally practiced exclusion in their zoning and housing policies to account, and pursue policies that can add housing opportunities for all income levels in these places.