Nobody should have to pay 50% or more of their income in rent every month.
I do. And many of the people I have spoken to while canvassing apartment complexes in Davis are feeling the pinch as well. So many renters give me “that look” when I ask them if their rent is expensive.
Housing is being developed in Davis, but we are seeing luxury developments being prioritized over affordable housing development. Furthermore, developers are able to pay “in-lieu” fees that allow them to skirt their requirements to include affordable housing in their project.
Building Renter Power
About 50% of both Davis and Yolo County residents are renters
Yet we have no representation in either the Davis City Council or the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. Why is that?
I know that in Davis, many renters are also students, and renter turnout is very low. The problem with this is that we still end up paying for it, including a nearly 10% average rent increase in the past 3 years.
Affordable housing and needs of economically disadvantaged peoples are not being adequately addressed. We need to be building people power and planet power for a brighter future.
If all of us renting in Yolo County were to update our registration and vote on March 3 and November 5 in local races, we could have 2-3 renters on City Council and potentially the Board of Supervisors as well.
OK I’m in! How do I update my voter registration?
But to me, this is just a small piece of how we can have our needs addressed. We should be building a people’s movement and demand action for equity in housing, and to make sure the needs of people and planet are being addressed. That’s what has historically made the wheels turn regardless of who is in office.
Our Affordable Housing Platform
People have been asking me what we can do as the Yolo County Board of Supervisors to help the affordable housing crisis. We can and we should be:
- Fund affordable and carbon-neutral housing development in Davis and other Yolo County cities through joint funding initiatives with cities and affordable housing developers
- Enact strong renters rights and protections in Yolo County
- Connect public transit to new developments
- Eliminate loopholes that allow developers to skirt affordable unit requirements
As renters, we are facing an unprecedented housing crisis that makes our cities inaccessible for many people, forces people to leave their homes, has contributed to the houselessness epidemic in California, and further affects marginalized communities which have historically been discriminated against in housing.
An Action You Can Take Right Now (2 Minutes)!
Much of the power to determine what kinds of development happens in Davis is held by the City Council. I have been encouraging everyone who cares about these issues to contact their City Council Members and let them know that you want them to focus development on affordable housing. It could be an email as simple as the question “What are you doing to address the affordable housing crisis in town?”…but it’s better if you put it in your own words and tell your own story.
You can also contact your County Supervisor Representative and ask that they support joint-funded affordable housing development in the Cities with support from the County:
Local, State, National, and Global Action
As we know, rising rents and low vacancies is not a problem specific to our area. It’s a problem that’s developing in most urban centers in California, the United States, and around the world.
The first piece of Green New Deal legislation recently introduced by House member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders relates to public housing. The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act would commit up to $180 billion over a decade to upgrading 1.2 million federally owned homes.
This is very much needed in California where there are over 2.2 extremely low and very low-income renter households and just 664,000 affordable rental units. Yolo County has the opportunity to be a leader in creating a model for affordable, equitable, and ecologically-minded housing.
Let’s make Yolo County and Davis a place where us renters can afford to live and continue to be part of the places that we are from and the communities that become part of.
If you want to see a renter and advocate for affordable housing on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, please vote for David Abramson for Yolo County Supervisor on March 3 ?