March 7th was a big day for the future of LA. Measure H passed to provide services for the homeless, and Measure S failed in a historic landslide. Across both measures, 70% of Los Angeles voters made it clear that LA can still change, that we can become a more affordable, equitable city.
And we didn’t just win the vote. We have the momentum. There are now more than 700 of us in Abundant Housing, with more joining the community every day. The campaign also helped us build partnerships with the other organizations that we fought beside, and with labor, business, transit, and affordable housing advocates working together, we can, and will, change things for the better.
So, that begs the big question. Now that we’ve got the momentum, how do we move toward the long term vision of more affordable housing, less displacement, and a more vibrant city for all Angelenos? Over the last few weeks, dozens of people put forward suggestions and weighed in, and we’re really excited about where we’ve ended up. Without further ado:
Upzoning community plans. 35 community plans dictate what can be built on every parcel in LA, and they’re each going to be updated every 6 years. As they are updated, we need to make sure they are upzoned to allow more housing to be built across the city. To that end, we’re going to create policy recommendations which can be included and adapted into in all plan updates, as well as a playbook for how to influence each individual plan. From there, it’s all about local leaders heading up the fight in their neighborhood. If you’d like to step up and take the lead or get involved in your community, let us know here!
Upzoning transit plans. As new transit lines open, the surrounding plans are updated around the new stations. Similarly to the community plan updates, let’s make sure those plans allow for lots of new housing to drive down rents and help people get out of their cars and onto public transit. Similarly to the community plans, let us know if you want to help take the lead or join the team on transit plan updates in your area.
Win locally by getting more involved in neighborhood councils. You may have noticed a theme to the big objectives above – it’s all about winning local fights, neighborhood by neighborhood. Neighborhood councils are often dominated by NIMBYs (although good people are already fighting the pro-housing fight across the city), but that sounds like a temporary problem to us. Let us know if you want to get involved in your local NC!
Keep supporting projects. Don’t stop when you got a good thing going. So we’re going to keep fighting for projects which will create more affordable and market rate housing to alleviate the crisis. That means writing letters in support of projects and attending public meetings to counter the NIMBYs who always come out of the woodwork.
State level advocacy. We’re getting bigger, so we’re starting to have some ability to sway state level legislation. So let’s sway. We’re going to be tracking and supporting good state level legislation (and opposing bad legislation), as well as developing deeper relationships with other pro-housing advocacy orgs across the state.
We’re pretty excited about the next chapter, but changing the trajectory of housing growth in LA is not going to be easy. Because Abundant Housing LA is all-volunteer, things will only happen if we all step up and lead together. So, as always, if you have a great idea or want to weigh in, please let us know, just drop anyone on the steering committee a line!