Making History Together
Housing Now! is a broad and diverse coalition made up of more than 150 organizations building a movement in California to make housing affordable and to combat the displacement crisis that impacts low-income and communities of color the most. Public Advocates, a co-founder of Housing Now!, continues to work actively alongside coalition members.
Public Advocates’ Michelle Pariset, Public Advocates senior policy advocate, recalls the founding of Housing Now! in the spring of 2017:
“In Governor Brown’s May Revise of 2016, he proposed a very damaging housing production streamlining policy that would seriously hurt tenants, communities, and labor to the benefit of for-profit developers. A coalition of more than 80 groups (policy, base-building, labor, statewide and local) came together to defeat it. This hadn’t happened in the housing/tenant space before, and it proved how powerful we could be if we acted together. HousingNow! built off of this momentum – creating a grassroots-led structure to build and support the housing justice movement throughout California,” said Pariset.
“HousingNow! built off of this momentum – creating a grassroots-led structure to build and support the housing justice movement throughout California.”
Public Advocates has been on the coalition’s steering committee since its inception, with Michelle Pariset, Andrés Ramos, and Sam Tepperman-Gelfant representing Public Advocates at various times. Francisco Dueñas leads the organization.
“Public Advocates has been a stalwart ally in some of our most heated battles for housing justice. From successfully ending rent gouging in California, to stopping evictions during the pandemic, we’ve delivered once-unthinkable victories for the state’s 17 million renters. Together, I know we can make a safe and affordable home a reality for every resident of this great state,” said Dueñas.
“Together, I know we can make a safe and affordable home a reality for every resident of this great state.”
Francisco Dueñas, Executive Director, Housing Now!
Public Advocates has conducted trainings to prepare coalition members for lobby days in Sacramento, as well as helping to organize events and rallies.
Housing Now! has made major contributions to the housing justice movement since its launch, mobilizing some 1,000 grassroots leaders from across the state to act in powerful coordination. Tenants, community, faith and labor organizations lead the coalition, with support from allied homeowners, landlords, and realtors, united in the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, and affordable home.
The coalition has played an essential role in high-impact campaigns, including passage of the first statewide anti-rent-gouging and just cause protections for tenants in 2019 – AB 1482 (Chiu) – and protecting tenants impacted by COVID-19 from eviction and rent debt.
In addition to these important bills, Housing Now! has steadfastly worked on the repeal of Costa-Hawkins, a law that places severe limitations on local rent control policies. In 2018, the coalition organized major mobilizations including an occupation of the Capitol Building in support of a bill, AB 1506 (Bloom) to repeal Costa-Hawkins. The coalition also fought hard for the most progressive elements of the 2017 Housing Package, including clarification that cities could pass policies to require that all new housing developments include a percentage of homes affordable to lower-income households – AB 1505 (Bloom), and winning amendments to protect tenants in a bill to streamline approvals of certain housing developments SB 35 (Weiner).
In April 2022, Housing Now! gathered on the steps of the California State Capitol for a press conference and rally to call for $1 billion for affordable housing and homeowner protections in the state’s budget package. Andrés Ramos, Public Advocates legislative counsel, spoke at the event, which was widely covered by the media.
Over the last decade, Public Advocates has redoubled its commitment to working in partnership with community-based organizations throughout California. Around housing, there is no more valuable partner than Housing Now! Together, we continue to work to make housing affordable and put an end to the displacement crisis that is irremediably harming working class communities of color.