It's been 2 years since the trail was cleared. Now we have to build the housing. To do that, we must elect leaders who will say, "Yes!"
Exactly two years ago, the OC Public Works Department finished clearing the Santa Ana River Trail after the dismantling of homeless encampments. Since then, the Orange County United Way has rallied, partnering with the private sector, to get the word out about the causes of homelessness and to provide tenant assistance through their United to End Homelessness efforts. The Association of California Cities, Orange County successfully sponsored AB 448 to create the OC Housing Finance Trust (ochft.org) to apply for public funding for affordable housing development. The Orange County Business Council and NeighborWorks Orange County have championed donations to a separate, private trust (ochousingtrust.org) to collect private dollars to fund affordable housing. Over the past two years, we've seen leadership from the non-profit sector, the business community, the faith community to move the needle on getting homeless people housed and gathering resources to fund affordable housing. Orange County has a lot to be proud of. The next chapter of our housing story begins today. This next chapter is about creating actual housing -- STICKS & BRICKS -- and building that new housing in our existing Orange County communities. There will be prominent roles from affordable housing developers like Jamboree Housing Corporation and National Community Renaissance. But the real stars of this next chapter are our elected officials and those running for office in 2020. These are decision makers who can give new development the green light or stop a project from moving forward. The story has not changed. California, including Orange County, STILL has a housing shortage. We need more subsidized, affordable, attainable, missing middle, and market-rate housing. In this next chapter, we YIMBYs will be playing the role of narrator, asking, "What are your elected leaders doing to see that a good supply of affordable housing is built? What are your elected leaders doing to assure the end of homelessness in your community?"* The answers to those two questions will be the foundation of our endorsements process for the 2020 city council elections. If you are interested in asking those questions, consider becoming a member of our org. Go here to join-- https://www.peopleforhousing.org/membership.html There will be some cameo appearances from yellow-shirted NIMBYs in this next chapter, so we need Housing Champions to join us in advocating for homes for all of Orange County and in electing leaders who will #SayYesToHousing!
* Questions put forward in this opinion piece in the OC Register on March 3rd, 2018 https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/03/whos-really-to-blame-for-ocs-housing-affordability-crisis/