As I reflect on the Housing Action Coalition’s accomplishments in 2023, a few things are clear. Our movement continues to gain momentum with more pro-housing laws on the books and elected officials taking office. At the same time, the current economic conditions are not favorable for housing production. Nonetheless, these legislative and political wins will help to ensure a significant increase in housing production once the economic cycle takes a positive turn.
Through relentless advocacy and strategic partnerships, we successfully advocated for key legislative changes that are poised to reshape the future of housing in California. These victories include policy reforms that streamline the entitlement process, increase funding for affordable housing, create a more transparent and efficient permitting process, and ultimately pave the way for more inclusive and sustainable communities.
We’ve been able to leverage new state laws to ensure Housing Elements are implemented locally. For the first time in history, cities are being held accountable to create more homes in the next Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) cycle. By fostering collaboration between various stakeholders, including local governments, developers, and community members, we’ve worked hard to ensure that cities pass realistic Housing Elements AND continue to work to ensure these plans are implemented promptly. These plans must not only meet the demands of a growing population but also prioritize equitable distribution so that new housing will be accessible to all. This Housing Element cycle stands as a testament to the power of state law in holding local governments accountable.
Finally, our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has been a driving force in our advocacy work throughout the year. Recognizing that housing policies must be designed with fairness and justice in mind, we have actively engaged with a consultant over the last year and have updated our policies and practices. This includes promoting affordable housing options in historically marginalized neighborhoods, advocating for anti-discrimination measures, and fostering partnerships with organizations dedicated to addressing systemic inequalities in housing. Additionally, we’ve updated our Project Review criteria, as well as our policy and endorsement process, to reflect these values. We’ll continue to do the work because we know how the housing shortage has helped create an inequitable state.
As we celebrate the milestones of 2023, we recognize that there are many challenges ahead. However, through the spirit of collaboration, an unwavering commitment to equity, and the lessons learned from our past successes, the Housing Action Coalition will continue to make a lasting impact in the pursuit of more homes for people at all income levels across California.
HAC Executive Director Corey Smith was selected as one of the San Francisco Business Times’s 40 Under 40 recipients. Nominated by a fellow pro-housing champion California Senator Scott Wiener, this Corey’s honor is truly a testament to Corey’s his selfless hard work to devotion to solving the Bay Area and California’s housing crisis.