“The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.”
– John Lewis


Dear Friends, Partners, and Allies,

To get us through 2020, we need superheroes, so I’ll get us started on the right foot by quoting Spider-Man: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Fortunately, Californians hold the power to be superheroes, when we vote. We also have the responsibility to champion those who most need superheroes in these challenging times.

Our power starts with ballot propositions. At Housing California, we look at these through a clear-eyed lens: how can we create homes, health and prosperity for all? The issues addressed on our voting ballots will have meaningful impacts on these concerns and affect racial and economic justice for years to come. To help us on that path, we created the 2020 Ballot Guide, and encourage you to consider our recommendations as you vote.

Our power continues with elected officials. This year’s Legislature fell short in championing those struggling the most amid wildfires, COVID-19, and the ensuing economic hardships borne largely by Black and Brown Californians. Next year’s Legislature MUST do better--and poll after poll shows Californians demand a focus on ending homelessness, addressing health care, and creating affordable homes for all. We are doing our part by charting a path with the Roadmap HOME initiative and promoting it at numerous conferences across the state including one tomorrow. We need you to vote for legislators who will put it to use and chart a better future for all Californians, especially those who most need a decent, affordable home.

So take a moment right now to make a plan for how you’ll vote, or track where your ballot is. Be the superhero we need in 2020 and use your power to realize housing justice in 2021. Then, read below, where in this issue, we not only share the latest updates regarding our legislative agenda but also provide ways you can prepare for the upcoming election.

In solidarity, strength, and gratitude,

Lisa Hershey
Executive Director


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New COVID relief bill is in the works

The US House of Representatives introduced a new COVID relief bill that is expected to cost about a third less than the HEROES Act at approximately $2.2 trillion, but it has not yet been taken up in the US Senate. The Senate relief bill offered a package at $1.8 trillion and does not include new funding for homelessness and low-income housing. Speaker Pelosi has been engaged directly in negotiations with Secretary Mnuchin, and the Administration has most recently put forward a $1.9 trillion package, including $60 billion for rental assistance. Failing to provide additional funding for homelessness and affordable housing is an inadequate and unacceptable response to the health and economic consequences of COVID-19. Any new COVID relief bill must retain the homelessness and housing provisions of the HEROES Act, specifically the $11.5 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) to prevent and respond to COVID-19 outbreaks among people experiencing homelesssness, a national moratorium on evictions, and $100 billion in emergency rental assistance. With recent displacements due to evictions and wildfires, we need the funds to get people off the streets and into shelter and homes. We encourage you to please contact your members of Congress today!


Get Proposition 15 over the Finish Line

As we approach Election Day, we’ll keep lifting up proposals we know will help communities throughout California to recover and thrive amid our current crises. Proposition 15 will help communities reclaim $12 billion by closing a tax loophole used by large corporations like Coca-Cola to avoid paying their fair share. It does not affect homeowners and small businesses. Learn the facts by visiting the YesOn15 website.

Furthermore, a report from the Urban Institute says Proposition 15 is more likely to increase California’s housing supply by encouraging owners of vacant and underused commercial and industrial parcels to redevelop their land with housing. Let’s amplify the truth about the tremendous potential this proposal has to provide the resources our family, friends, and neighbors need to recover.

There are still a lot of Californians who are on the fence. According to a poll released on September 23 by UC Berkeley, only 49% of Californians support Prop 15 and 17% of Californians are STILL undecided. We are asking supporters to tweet or post supportive messages reaching far and wide.


#Prop15 will return $12 billion a year to local schools and communities - a huge first step in rebuilding California from #COVID-19, unprecedented unemployment and wildfires. #Vote #YesOn15 on November 3rd to build a California that is affordable, fair, and safe for everyone.

Updates on Key Legislative Bills

2020 was supposed to be the year of housing production with a multitude of proposals ready to bring funds and resources enabling housing for all. Housing California had sponsored and supported a variety of bills addressing housing production, homelessness, and tenant protections. Unfortunately, COVID-19 derailed these plans as legislators focused on measures to address the pandemic.  Add to this severe economic upheaval, record unemployment and income loss, historic wildfires, and politics, what we saw instead was the demise of a slew of potentially significant housing proposals towards the end of the session on August 31. Governor Newsom then had until September 30 to sign all the bills that had reached his desk.

The Governor’s decision to veto AB 1845 was another disappointment, especially since it was the only legislation remaining that could have made a real impact on homelessness this year. This bill from Asm. Luz Rivas and Asm. David Chiu would have created a cabinet-level Office to End Homelessness, centralizing the management of approximately 30 homelessness-related programs under 13 different agencies and departments. Check out our statement on the fate of this bill.

But we remain undeterred.  In fact, we learned a great deal from the experience.  We are strongly encouraged by the coalitions and partnerships that formed this year. They continue to expand, bringing experts and co-conspirators from sectors like healthcare and enabling us to strengthen our arguments and amplify our messages. So take heart, you will see some important legislation, like AB 1845, re-introduced in the next legislative cycle.

Voting Ballots Have Arrived

Election Day is right around the corner, about three weeks away on November 3. If you are a registered voter, you should have received your official ballot by now. If you haven’t, reach out to your county registrar’s office here.

Voters will be able to track the status of their mail-in ballots using the “Where’s My Ballot?” tool.

Besides mailing in your ballot, you can drop off your mail-in ballot at a polling place, county elections office, or a county drop box anytime before 8pm on Election Day.

Get more information about where and how to vote here.


Housing California’s Virtual “Un-conference”

The buzz is true! Housing California’s Virtual Un-Conference was a tremendous success.  We are deeply grateful to our community of supporters and our generous sponsors who made this un-conference possible.

Over the course of a week, we engaged with bright minds, champions, and visionaries leading the conversations around housing and homelessness in Congress, at the State Capitol, and in communities across California. Together, we laid the foundation for new strategic approaches to end homelessness and create affordable homes for all. Conference registrants can find recordings by clicking here and logging into Workcast, then clicking the day you want to access and finding the session. Recordings will be released to the public on November 2nd.


Roadmap Home 2030 Goes on the Road

The excitement around Roadmap HOME 2030, a 10-year strategic vision and policy blueprint to end homelessness and create affordable homes for all, continues to grow as we build our base and bring more partners into the conversation. This month Housing CA staff and Board members have been speaking at our partners’ annual conferences across the state.

Housing CA’s Executive Director Lisa Hershey and Board member Murtaza Baxamusa joined a special panel on the Roadmap HOME at the San Diego Housing Federation’s Annual Conference on October 7.

Housing CA Board members Tunua Thrash-Ntuk and Va Lecia Adams Kellum joined a panel on the Roadmap HOME at the Southern California Association of NonProfit Housing’s Annual Conference on October 16.

On October 23, Housing CA’s Associate Director David Zisser will discuss the Roadmap HOME as a comprehensive, long-term strategy at the Sacramento Housing Alliance’s 6th Annual Summit. Register today!

And on October 29, Lisa Hershey will bring the Roadmap HOME into a conversation at the California Coalition for Rural Housing’s Virtual Rural Housing Summit with state leaders, including Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez, Senator Scott Wiener, and Assemblymember David Chiu. Register here.


Work Ends on the Census 2020

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Census Bureau may stop counting residents for the 2020 Census prior to the intended deadline. Thus, the count concluded on October 15. Housing California and our partners had been spreading the word throughout our networks and communities over several months about the urgent need for every one of us to fill out the Census survey. We are grateful for the Herculean effort from partners and the Census Bureau to collect as many surveys as possible.


Residents United Network is Building Power

What should RUN fight for in 2021?

Starting in late September, we began RUN’s big brainstorm, “There Ought To Be A Law,” with five regional convenings through October 16. We spent time getting to know each other, thinking about what happened in 2020, and getting our ideas out in small groups. The meetings were online, so anyone with a phone, a tablet, or a computer who can get online with us could join. Ultimately, RUN came up with 224 ideas for how to ensure all Californians have safe, stable, affordable housing in 2021.

We’re also announcing the official RUN Summit 2020, happening December 3 and 4, where RUN will narrow down its 2021 priorities. Will we do Zumba at the virtual Summit like we did in person last year? You never know. You can apply here. Applications close October 28. 


Housing California
1107 9th Street, Suite 560  | Sacramento, California 95814
916-447-0503 | staff@housingca.org