Fighting for the public policies and funding necessary to build more affordable homes.
The Stable Homes Act (AB 919)
AB 919 would establish a statewide TOPA/COPA policy. The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, TOPA, would give renters, local public agencies, and mission-driven nonprofits the first opportunity to purchase rental housing properties when landlords put those properties up for sale, and a right to match an offer on those properties made by a third party, keeping workers and families housed. This policy would also ensure that rental housing—which is often at risk of being flipped by corporations and wealthy landlords—remains permanently affordable and that communities stay intact.
Housing Element Advocacy
Public Advocates works throughout the Bay Area to enforce a California law requiring all cities and counties to develop and periodically update an affordable housing action plan. That plan, called the “Housing Element” of the General Plan, must detail a concrete “program of actions” the local government commits to carry out so that its fair share of new housing affordable at all income levels can be built. Through precedent setting litigation, coalition work, and creative policy advocacy, we have leveraged the Housing Element requirement to lay the groundwork for many thousands of new homes for low-income people.
Social housing is the answer to California’s decades-long homelessness and affordability crisis. As practiced in cities across the world, social housing is affordable to households with a mix of income levels, high-quality, socially-owned, resident-managed, and permanently off the speculative market.
Fight for Renter Protections Continues after Expiration of Eviction Moratorium
We are calling on the Governor to extend the eviction moratorium and ensure that AB 832, which promises to cover 100 percent of rent for low- income households impacted by the pandemic, works as promised.
Immigrant Oakland Tenants Stand Up to Callous Landlord, File Lawsuit to Fix Inhumane Living Conditions
Tenants refuse to be forced out, suing on fifteen claims that could result in more than $1M in damages.
COVID-19 Housing Resources
We’ve organized resources for renters struggling amidst the COVID-19 pandemic including protections granted under the Tenant Relief Act of 2020.
Surplus Land Act
We lead advocacy in the Bay Area to enforce the state Surplus Land Act, which requires that affordable homes get built on public land that local governments sell or lease. Surplus public property is an essential resource for creating inclusive development, especially since so much of it is located in areas near transit and employment opportunities. We work with community partners throughout the Bay Area to watchdog implementation of the Surplus Land Act, educate community groups and jurisdictions about the Act’s affordable housing requirements, and pursue enforcement actions when necessary.
Plan Bay Area
Public Advocates co-coordinates the 6 Wins Network , a coalition of more than 20 grassroots, policy, faith, and labor organizations across the Bay Area focused on targeting and shaping the regional housing and transportation plan called Plan Bay Area. The plan will determine how nearly $300 billion in transportation money will be spent and how the region will house more than 2 million new residents over the next 25 years. Public Advocates and the 6 Wins Network aim to ensure that Plan Bay Area will result in more affordable housing near jobs and transit, robust and affordable local transit service, investment without displacement, healthy and safe communities, access to quality jobs, and greater power for low-income communities of color in local and regional decision-making. Two long-term regional housing and transportation plans — Plan Bay Area 2050 (PBA) and the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) are close to being finalized.
Statewide Tenant and Community Opportunity to Purchase
Public Advocates is excited to have recently co-sponsored AB 2710, authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra.
Oakland Housing Justice
For more than a decade, we have worked in partnership with community groups in Oakland to win investment and development that meets the needs of the city’s low-income residents and workers. Our campaigns and coalition work aim to create more homes that families can afford, more protections for tenants facing rising rents, and better wages and stronger workforce development policies for local residents. Although more than a year living with the Covid-19 pandemic has changed most aspects of our lives, the fight for safe, affordable homes continues.
Stop the COVID Evictions – AB 1436
We co-sponsored AB 1436—legislation that prevents evictions and provides security to renters who are enduring a global pandemic and the worst economic downturn in modern history.
Tenant Protection Act – AB 1482
AB 1482 was signed by Governor Newsom on October 8, 2019. For the first time, California has passed a law that provides renters statewide with protections against rent-gouging and unfair evictions. It is estimated that these protections will cover more than 8 million renters in California.
Anderson v. City of San Jose – Surplus Land Act Policy
When the San Jose City Council adopted a Council Policy on how to dispose of surplus city land that did not comply with the state Surplus Land Act, we partnered with Urban Habitat and other legal organizations to hold the City accountable, and we won.
East 12th Street
When the City of Oakland was ready to sell public land for luxury apartments and zero affordable housing on East 12th Street near Lake Merritt, we partnered with the East 12th Coalition to ensure that the City complied with the state Surplus Land Act. Under the Act, the City must prioritize land that it sells or leases for affordable housing development. After intense organizing and legal pressure, the City reversed course and eventually received multiple proposals that included substantial amounts of affordable housing.
Climate investments in affordable housing
Public Advocates works with statewide and community partners to ensure that investments made under the state Affordable Housing & Sustainable Communities program reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide economic and health benefits to low-income communities.