Topic

affordable housing

125 petitions

Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to

Sebastopol Needs Affordable Housing Now!

The community of Sebastopol has a unique opportunity to support working families, live up to its values of equity and inclusivity, and protect local food and agriculture. The prospect of the proposed Woodmark Apartments, which would provide desperately-needed 100% affordable housing, half of which are reserved for our farmworker community, would be such a positive and a long-overdue addition to the city. And so we are confused and disappointed to learn that instead of enthusiastically supporting this project, the city of Sebastopol has presented 3 years worth of delays and barriers which now jeopardize the future of these homes. The Woodmark project was first proposed to the city in 2019. Now, because of an unnecessarily drawn-out process, the state financing initially awarded to this project to ensure its affordability could be terminated at the end of the year unless they can begin building. Every delay and obstruction by the city increases the likelihood that these homes will never be built and that working families and community members who so desperately need them will be left out. We are calling upon Sebastopol city leaders to do the right thing and not only remove needless obstacles and delays–current and future–but to streamline and support the Woodmark (and projects like it) to ensure our community doesn't miss out on a rare yet vital opportunity. BACKGROUND: To cover the almost $2,000 average rent for a two-bedroom unit in Sebastopol, residents need to earn $37.50 per hour, according to the Press Democrat. The median hourly wage for farmworkers in Sonoma County is $17.55. The math is simple: without subsidized projects like Woodmark and the cities that enable them, we are complicit in an unsustainable and unjust system of poverty, one that systematically excludes an entire segment of the population from this town. Add to this racial inequities that have left people of color with less means to compete in this housing market and it’s no wonder that Sebastopol, according to the US Census, tops the list of least diverse cities in Sonoma County and among the least diverse in the Bay Area. Ensuring racial justice means ensuring affordable housing, especially for a workforce as diverse as agriculture. We understand the concerns that some citizens have about growth–traffic, evacuations, water, etc–but we all must recognize that unlike more affluent transplants to Sonoma County, the future tenants of Woodmark are already part of our community. At this very moment they are harvesting our food and grapes on the outskirts of town, working in the kitchens of our favorite restaurants downtown, and tending to the health and safety of our children and grandparents. Sebastopol has more than five low-wage jobs for every affordable home, according to the recent State of Housing in Sonoma County report. Each day, many of these people commute to or through Sebastopol, contributing even more to traffic and climate change than if they could afford to live near their jobs. Transportation is responsible for the majority of emissions in the county, according to the Regional Climate Protection Authority. And between 2015 and 2018 vehicle miles traveled by workers within the county increased by almost 10%. Meanwhile, when it comes to water and energy, the impact of smaller, more dense apartments pales in comparison to the environmental demands of larger, single-family homes.  Preventing this project will not alleviate the overall impact on our local resources; it simply shifts that impact around, perpetuating the problem and hurting those most vulnerable in the process. Sebastopol is a unique gem of a town, combining agrarian and progressive values, a place dedicated to healthy families, healthy local food, and a healthy and just world. And for everyone–especially our most essential workers–there is no health without a home. Woodmark is the most ambitious attempt that we’ve seen in years to overcome the unfortunate and growing disparities that threaten Sebastopol’s spirit and our region’s true sustainability. Providing 84 affordable housing units–within city limits and without any changes to code, all in a safe, healthy, and secure environment–will be a massive step towards making Sebastopol a town that supports its own workforce, welcomes communities of color, and ensures those who work here can live here. We know City leaders share these values, so please help us realize our vision for a sustainable future and do everything in your power to expedite the administrative processes that will bring the Woodmark Apartments to fruition.

Evan Wiig
318 supporters
Update posted 1 month ago

Petition to Forest City Washington, Vornado/Charles E. Smith, Bresler & Reiner, ANC Commissioners 6D

Preserve Community Space @ 4th & M SW

Southwest is, and has been, a very special place to a community of people for a variety of reasons, and for a number of years. For starters, this includes its diversity: economically, racially, and architecturally; its proximity to the city and downtown, yet its quiet, small-town feel; its open, green spaces, and tree canopies. These particular characteristics, we believe, are vulnerable to money-driven development that has already taken place in other parts of the District and is the catalyst for this petition. This petition calls for the developers to design a space that utilizes how the community already uses the space. Development can bring benefits to a community by providing affordable housing, new places to socialize, and means to support local businesses. However, much of the development witnessed throughout the city has been fueled by profit, rather than community preservation or improvement. The plans consists of two buildings on the northwest and northeast sides of the intersection at 4th & M Street SW. The two buildings will add an additional 605 residential units to the area, with 41,870 square-feet of ground floor retail, and 38,110 square-feet of commercial space on the second floor. A minimum of 8% of the gross floor area will be dedicated to households earning up to 60% of Area Median Income, and five of the affordable units will be 3-bedroom apartments. There are 3 major concerns about the plan: loss of an important community space; increased density for an already suffering infrastructure; adding to an already unaffordable and homogenous housing market.    1) Market SW and the SW Community Farmers Market have grown to become important community spaces for the quadrant. It is great to be outside communally with neighbors on Friday nights, meeting new neighbors, chatting with the vendors, and sitting outside enjoying food and drinks. Then, come Saturday morning, the lot is packed at the Farmer’s Market (and parking has been added!). The area is being used and has a lot of traction. One asset of the space that cannot be overlooked is its accessibility to people of all incomes and its open invitation to people. It is great that neighbors can socialize or hang out in the space without spending money for planned or unplanned events. This environment is far more inviting and fitting with SW's character than people always having to pay to enjoy an outdoor patio area. 2) SW has not shown a great capacity for handling any additional car traffic. Our main thoroughfare, M St, already gets completely grid-locked when there are baseball games. This is before the Wharf fully opens with its 6,500-person capacity music venue, or the 1,000 other apartment/condo units being built around the corner. It begs the question, did the developers really think about SW’s current infrastructure when planning these buildings, or were they in pursuit of increasing their bottom line? 3) A high cost of living is the antithesis to maintaining or promoting a diverse neighborhood. Additionally, only offering studio, 1-bedroom, or 2-bedroom options doesn’t encourage families, or people, to stay in the city long term. Offering 8% of the total units at 60% of the median area income is a pitiful attempt at providing affordable housing. It is well known that affordable housing in the District is nearly nonexistent. In order to live comfortably in DC, an individual must earn $103k/year, although the individual median income is $73k. The math doesn't add up, and neither does the potential for creating long-standing, invested, communities. How will we continue to build a SW community when our neighbors are pushed out because they can no longer afford to raise a family here? For example, some of our SW friends, who are educated, middle-class, send their children to Amidon-Bowen, are engaged with the community, will, or already have, move out of the community because of how unaffordable it is.  How will we continue to build a SW community when our neighbors no longer have a space to be together communally? Ultimately, it comes down to what kind of community do we want. Do we want a transient community that does not think of SW as home? Or, do we want a SW that can be together communally, know thy neighbor, and keep that “small-town feel”? If the latter, then we argue that more high-rise luxury apartments is not the prudent path forward. We petition for the developers to use the land in a manner similar to how the community already uses it -- as an outdoor gathering space for neighbors.

Coy McKinney
326 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Michelle De Guzman, Jesse Arreguín, Rigel Robinson

Save Rochdale, Save Our Home: Trust Us With the Land!

When Rochdale Village Coop opened in 1971, it was a shining example of public entities (UC Berkeley, HUD) partnering directly with students to tackle the issue of affordable student housing on a long-term basis. Last year, Rochdale Village quietly turned 50 years old without much ado, in the shadow of great uncertainty about its future. There is no longer any tangible agreement between the UC and Berkeley Student Cooperative ensuring that the experiment started in 1971 will exist much farther into the future, or that it will do so in an affordable manner. Rochdale was made as affordably as possible 50 years ago. With those decades, it has served many students, but is now also showing its age. On the low end, to complete the seismic retrofits and do minimal accessibility and apartment reconditioning, it will cost the BSC approximately $26 million. To make more comprehensive accessibility upgrades and reconditioning that future low-income students deserve, the cost would be between $42 and $48 million. We can continue down the path we have been on in recent years, with a lopsided relationship between UC and BSC, with shorter and shorter lease agreements with conditions that are onerous for an affordable housing organization like the BSC. Or, a new path can be forged, one where the land beneath Rochdale and Fenwick is guaranteed for affordable student housing in perpetuity. Toward these ends, we demand that UC entrust the land beneath Rochdale/Fenwick to the BSC on a restricted deed basis for the purpose of providing affordable low-income housing to UC Berkeley students. that the UC provide more time and/or waivers for costly requirements it expects the BSC to adhere to as a condition of a lease extension or sale of land. that the UC direct a materially substantial amount of capital support for the retrofits and refurbishment but, if it is deemed unable to support the entire sum, it must partner with the BSC to consult and share fundraising capacity to raise capital in order to lessen the cost shouldered by BSC members.  We invite support from the community, including city council members, concerned students and student groups, alumni and all stakeholders to support these demands in order for us to Save Rochdale, Save Our Home!  

Are Gomez
1,338 supporters
Started 2 months ago

Petition to Congress

End homelessness and boost equity - give every person in poverty a Housing Choice Voucher.

We've been taught an incorrect economic theory about the housing crisis: that if we increase the supply of housing, demand for it will go down, and the price of rent will go down too. Unfortunately, banks who might lend money to housing developers aren't interested in prices going down. Building housing is expensive and hard to pay back, and landlords have to prove that having more units will make them more money - which isn't true. In fact, ranging from 166 empty homes per 1 unhoused person in Mississippi to 9 empty homes per 1 unhoused person in California, there is not a single State in the Union that does not have so much profitless housing that for-profit banks refuse to make loans to build unsubsidized low-income housing. The free market will not naturally create low-income housing in highly desirable dense urban areas. 'Affordable' housing must be created by the government, either by subsidizing new buildings or by subsidizing rent for households - but we already know that new buildings aren't needed. Around 19 million households qualify for housing assistance, but there are only about 500 thousand unhoused people. Around 18.5 million of the 19 million are already living in apartments, but they're paying more than they can afford for them! We don't need to build anything, we just need to provide some assistance paying rent.It's not even possible to build as much new housing as it would take to house those 19M households in any kind of reasonable time frame. King County in Washington State implemented a five-year plan to build 44,000 units. At 3.5 years into the project, only 1,595 units have been built and King County is still below the national average for number of 'affordable' units per 100 people. It's not reasonable to ask people to wait however many decades it takes to build housing, especially when that housing already exists. Every year, 1 out of every 25 people living in poverty will become homeless.There is already a federal solution called the Housing Choice Voucher program. If we immediately provide everyone who qualifies with a voucher and make a law nationally prohibiting discrimination based on source of income, every person in this country will be able to live in whatever state they want and be able to afford their rent no matter how much money they make. This could end the threat of homelessness for almost every American overnight.Fully funding the Housing Choice Voucher program would render thousands of state, city, and non-profit housing programs unnecessary, and it would conflate hundreds of funding streams to eliminate organizational inefficiencies. It would free up supportive housing programs to serve only the people who actually need support, and empty shelters so they'd be available for people like domestic violence survivors. It would end the $44,000-or-more per-unhoused-person per-year expenditure that a lot of cities pay for hospital visits, on top of all the other services that cities provide to unhoused people staying on the street.The Housing Choice Voucher program provides dignity, the most diverse communities, stops people from being pushed out of their own neighborhoods, prevents the formation of ghettos, works within the free market to provide the best housing possible, and allows voucher holders to buy their own homes. Ordinary, hard-working people are at risk of losing their homes just because rent is going up too much.Making federal Housing Choice Vouchers available to everyone in the United States whose income qualifies them, and making a national law to prevent discrimination based on source of income, will drastically reduce homelessness, childhood poverty, and the effects of institutional racism on housing. We urge our representatives in government to immediately take these measures to end the suffering of millions of people.Join Northwest Hospitality's coalition and sign and share this petition to show our legislators that we're sick of inefficient semi-solutions that leave 75% of people in need out in the cold.

Galena White
124 supporters