Five Take Aways From: Utilizing the Ballot for Affordable Housing: Looking Beyond Election 2016
In December, the AIA|LA partnered with the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH), on a program that analyzed the post-November 2016 elections in terms of affordable housing. Speakers examined future possibilities for housing/homelessness action at the ballot based on 2016 outcomes, the effectiveness of messaging to the public on these issues, and voter sentiment around affordable housing. Here are five takeaways from the event.
The panel consisted of an engaging group of experts with strong policy and public engagement backgrounds. They were: Ann Sewill, Vice President, Housing and Economic Opportunity, California Community Foundation; Molly Rysman, Housing and Homelessness Deputy, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl; Tommy Newman, Director of Public Affairs, LA Family Housing; Cecilia Estolano, Co-Founder, ELP Advisors; Moderated by Josh Stephens, Editor, California Planning & Development Report. (Statements are paraphrased rather than direct quotes.)
1. The Public’s Understanding of the Severity of the Housing Crisis
52 percent of respondents in a poll were concerned that they or someone close to them would become homeless in the next year. This included respondents in the $50,000-$90,000 income bracket--Ann Sewill, Vice President, Housing and Economic Opportunity, California Community Foundation
2. How Voters See it
Homelessness is defined as a priority along with traffic and schools by voters. That has not happened before. --Tommy Newman, Director of Public Affairs, LA Family Housing || Housing and homelessness was a huge campaign issue.--Molly Rysman, Housing and Homelessness Deputy, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
3. To Drive Solutions, Demonstrate Success
We need a very skillful leader in the [City of Los Angeles] Housing Department who is willing to take risks, plus a high level of coordination with the county. But we also need to create early highly visible successes. We need to show the city council that producing more affordable housing will help them with voters.--Cecilia Estolano, Co-Founder, ELP Advisors
One thing that HHH proponents got the word out about was: start at the end of the ballot in order to counteract ballot drop off--Tommy Newman, Director of Public Affairs, LA Family Housing
5. Let this Guide You
Voters are now willing to back public benefits. The voters have changed. There’s more trust in government than when Howard Jarvis was around. Denny Zane in opening remarks for the event.