What is Housing Advocacy?
Housing advocacy is a way to make your voice heard and influence the outcome of a project or policy at the local, state, or federal level. There are several ways you can be a housing advocate. Housing advocacy activities include:
- Promoting an issue among your social networks
- Calling or writing to your elected officials
- Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper
- Writing to the City Council, Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors
- Attending City Council, Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors meetings
- Meeting with your elected officials or their staff
Affordable housing is too often misunderstood. Many residents in our region work extremely hard to provide the services we rely on every day, yet still do not make enough money to afford the average rent. As a community, we have a responsibility to speak up and support affordable housing.
Why Housing Advocacy?
- To promote sound housing policy
- To voice your approval of housing development
- To support the natural growth of our community
Who Engages in Housing Advocacy Activities?
Anyone can engage in housing advocacy and MBEP has provided some resources below to make it easy for you to get started. Also, if you have a specific housing policy or project you would like MBEP to consider supporting please complete one of the following endorsement forms: Policy Endorsement Request or Project Endorsement Request.
Helpful Resources for Advocacy Communication:
Where Can I go to Learn More About Advocacy?
The State of California is experiencing a housing crisis that impacts virtually every component of our local communities from low-income families who struggle to pay rent to major businesses seeking to recruit and retain qualified members of the workforce. The crisis is well documented, and has been compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, evidence for which is outlined in our COVID-19 Housing Reponse position paper.
Though there is no single cause for our severe lack of affordable housing, there are numerous solution strategies. In 2018, MBEP partnered with Envision Housing to publish a Housing Policy White Paper, outlining the primary drivers of the problem as well as nine realistic policy changes that could improve affordability in the Monterey Bay Region. We also created a corresponding “Housing Scorecard” that allows local governments to assess their progress on each of these measures.
The Housing Team also works to build, educate, and empower a broad coalition of community members, local employer, and organizations who will advocate for housing of all types and income levels in the region. You too can be a part of this regional force. MBEP and the Monterey Bay Community need you to be an advocate for more housing at the local, state and/or federal level.
We invite you to learn more about proposed policies, projects, and programs that aim to improve housing conditions and take action today through the MBEP Action Center. If you are interested in bringing our customizable “Housing 101” or “Housing 201” curriculum to your community, please contact Housing Program Director Matt Huerta at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Housing White Papers & Reports
MBEP’s Housing Advocacy Initiative aims to preserve and increase the quality of life and economic vibrancy of the Monterey Bay region by increasing housing supply, encouraging homeownership, supporting adequate funding, and fostering political will.
COVID-19 Housing Response Position Paper
The health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be most severe now but will last for an indeterminate period of time. Local leaders must work to understand these effects and respond with policy solutions that will safeguard the region’s lowest-income renters, homeowners, undocumented workers, seniors, and homeless populations. Though the legislation is being generated on national, state, and local levels, additional action is needed to protect these groups and minimize the delay of policy decisions around housing solutions in our region.
Click here to read the full paper including the policy initiatives the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership recommends for endorsement.
Monterey Bay Rental Assistance During COVID-19
This report summarizes the findings from regularly held meetings since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, a learning session held with rental assistance stakeholders from across the Monterey Bay Region, and an accompanying stakeholder survey. The learning session was co-hosted by the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) Housing Team and Community Organized for Relational Power in Action (COPA) on January 8, 2021. Both MBEP and COPA have worked to coordinate rental assistance providers and support tenants and landlords since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic crisis. The learning session was the culmination of MBEP’s COVID-19 Housing Response Initiative aimed at stabilizing housing conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis through the implementation of nine emergency measures. Since March 2020, the Housing Team regularly convened a Rental Assistance Subcommittee to review progress on these recommendations, provide technical support, and update administrators on policy developments related to rental assistance and tenant/landlord protections.
Housing Policy Change White Paper
This paper focuses on what local policy changes: a) have been thoroughly researched, recommended, and/or tested in other locations for their effect on improving housing affordability in a highly constrained housing market; b) are far from fully implemented within the Monterey Bay Region; c) are likely to have a positive effect on affordability within the housing and policy characteristics of Monterey Bay Region; and d) have been judged by the authors to be, broadly speaking, politically realistic in many of the local jurisdictions within the Monterey Bay Region.
Enhanced Bonus Density White Paper
The intent of this white paper is to encourage the implementation of Enhanced Bonus Density ordinances in the Monterey Bay region to improve housing affordability and supply. Such ordinances can increase total housing production and significantly alter what is produced to include more lower-income affordable housing, rental housing, smaller housing units, and transit-oriented housing.
Housing & Water Blue Paper
The Monterey Peninsula, from Marina to Carmel-By-The-Sea, needs housing development that is affordable to low income households and the broader workforce. Using the City of Monterey as an example, 87% of its local workforce commutes in from elsewhere, largely because of housing unaffordability and lack of inventory to rent or buy. Water is often cited as a barrier to the production of new housing, as the Monterey Peninsula is entirely dependent on local water sources that originate within the Salinas Valley or the Carmel Valley.
To help understand the relationship between housing and water, MBEP commissioned this study to identify and recommend key water policies and activities to strengthen the ability of the Monterey Peninsula local governments to achieve their housing production goals.