housing and homelessness

65 petitions

Started 2 weeks ago

Petition to Berkeley Planning Commission, Berkeley City Council

Fully Implement More Student Housing Now!

More and more students in Berkeley are finding it difficult to find housing they can afford. As enrollment rises and the Bay Area suffers from one of the worst housing crises in modern history, students are forced to make tradeoffs no student should have to make. Some have to triple and even quadruple up in rooms to make rent, some commute to class from beyond the city limits, and some even become housing insecure. Whatever the choice, high housing costs are a major obstacle to the wellbeing and educational goals of students. It doesn’t have to be this way. The UC Administration and the City of Berkeley already have the tools to deliver housing relief to students. The University owns numerous sites near campus on which it can develop dense student housing. The City controls zoning near campus, and it can legalize the construction of thousands more beds simply by reforming zoning. Relief is a question of will, not ability. Student housing relief simply can’t wait. In February, the Berkeley City Council passed the More Student Housing Now resolution, which would reform zoning in the Southside area to create thousands of affordable and market-rate beds for students. However, the plan still requires consideration by the Planning Commission before it can go into effect. The University has said its student housing plans will abide by city zoning, so enacting More Student Housing Now is key to building the housing students need and deserve. Tell the City to prioritize More Student Housing Now!

More Student Housing Now
5 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives

Tell congress to pass the SSIRA bill proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. Social Security administers this program. SSI provides benefits to some of our country’s most vulnerable citizens, including the elderly, those with disabilities, and 1.3 million children. Unfortunately often persons with disabilities live in poverty.  For many recipients, SSI isn’t just a safety-net – it’s their only source of income. Yet, those who receive it can have no more than $2,000 in cash or liquid assets without forfeiting their benefits. $2,000 is barely enough for any American to survive.   Imagine this scenario: you want to set aside $100.00 a month to invest to make your later years of life more comfortable. As the law is now you cannot because if that account rises over the $2,000 limit you will be forced to forfeit your SSI benefits.    The Social Security Act of 1935 was an attempt to limit what was seen as dangers in the modern American life, including old age, poverty, unemployment, disability and the burdens on widows and fatherless children. By signing this act on August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt became the first president to advocate federal assistance for this group. Under the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act (SSIRA), a new bill proposed by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown, SSI recipients could increase their assets to $10,000 in cash or liquid assets without losing their benefits.  This bill is long overdue, and can go far to ensure that America’s most vulnerable citizens have a chance to better their station in life, and take their shot at the American dream. Please join me in telling Congress to pass the SSIRA and help make a difference for millions of Americans. The last asset limit increase was nearly 30 years ago. These requirements have not kept up with inflation, but recipients are stuck; unable to better their position, because saving money or having more than $2,000 in their bank account or saving for their future causes forfeiture of their benefits. The SSIRA would update the law to encourage individuals who receive SSI to work toward financial security. If an SSI recipient is able to save over the minimal amount of $2,000 that might one day give them more financial independence and make them less reliant on government aid, why discourage it? We should be helping those who are willing and able to get out of poverty, not obliging them to stay their.  Please join me in supporting  the SSIRA and tell Congress to do the same.

Jason Lehman
2,958 supporters
Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Wilmington City Council

Keep Short-Term Rentals Legal in Wilmington

Visitors have used short-term rentals for as long as Wilmington has existed. Short term rentals also serve as homes for Wilmington families during remodels, between leases, and during emergencies. They serve as guest bedrooms to welcome grandparents visiting grandchildren, and for parents and siblings visiting UNCW students. They provide new Wilmington families a clean, comfortable home to start a new chapter of their lives. Visiting professors, nurses, artists, musicians, actors, and others involved in film and digital media production all depend on short-term rentals. Wilmington City Council members should recognize the value of short-term rentals in providing flexible housing, and legalize and formalize short-term rentals as a unique and valuable alternative for travelers. They should further remove the one-week minimal rental period that is hidden in the definition of a “dwelling unit.” Many short-term renters cannot afford to take an entire week (plus travel time) when they visit Wilmington. Weddings, conferences, sporting events, and family gatherings often require less than a week’s rental. Wilmington city leaders also need to recognize that short-term rentals are a non-commercial activity, governed by the same or similar guidelines and laws as those governing long-term residential rental properties, including the absence of additional laws or ordinances for dealing with nuisance issues already covered under existing city codes. Cities around the world that have created burdensome regulations, or implemented bans, end up with two unintended consequences. Because people have a choice of where to vacation and where to hold events, and because many of these people prefer short term rentals to hotels, they will vote with their feet and choose a different place to spend their money. And because other people will continue to have a need to come to Wilmington for work assignments, family gatherings, or hospitalizations, the short-term rental owners that remain will continue to operate underground, resulting in lost tax revenues. Hiring additional planners, analysts, and code enforcement officers to determine if a short-term rental is complying with an arbitrary number of days per rental is ineffective and burdensome to Wilmington taxpayers. Short-term rental owners contribute every month to the New Hanover County Room Occupancy Tax, which supports tourism promotion programs and beach renourishment. County tax administrator Roger Kelley told the Lumina News in August 2015 that his office very seldom finds short term rental owners who aren’t paying Room Occupancy Taxes. Short term rental owners also create millions of dollars per year in economic impact for the community and contribute to the incomes of hundreds of local families through hiring local landscapers, accountants, housekeepers, managers, contractors, and more. A recent analysis in nearby Myrtle Beach found that in 2013, short-term rentals generated $200.7 million in total economic activity, with $168.6 million directly attributable to visitor spending on short-term rentals and related food, retail, recreation, transportation and other expenses. For every $100 a traveler spent on lodging, they spent an additional $69 on food, $24 on local transportation, $48 on arts, entertainment, and recreation activities, and $59 on retail shopping. The study also found short-term rental activity created 2,587 local jobs, primarily in restaurants and bars and in the arts, entertainment, retail and recreation sectors throughout the county. Beyond the $56.3 million in direct spending on short-term rentals, visitors spend money elsewhere in the local economy, which in turn has a ripple, or multiplier, effect. Even the United States Conference of Mayors has stated: “Fair regulation of short-term rentals ensures greater compliance and greater receipt of local hotel taxes,” and, “Onerous regulations of short-term rentals can drive the industry underground, thus evading local regulations and local hotel taxes.” Why jeopardize Wilmington’s success? Why try and find a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist? Please keep short-term rentals legal in all residential zoning districts, and please remove the arbitrary minimal rental period of one week that is hidden in the definition of a “dwelling unit.” For more information, please visit The North Carolina Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity at

North Carolina Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity
1,538 supporters