We cannot make meaningful progress toward inclusive prosperity in the Bay Area without addressing the housing crisis. To realize this vision, we need to build community power to transform our housing systems.
Evita Chavez, Program Officer for State Housing Advocacy, moderated a panel on “Organizing For Housing Justice: Building Power to Transform our Housing Future” at Housing California’s annual conference. Ms. Chavez was joined by Saa’un Bell (Power California), Shar Thompson (Tenants Together), and Karla Martinez (Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability). The panelists reflected the growing and diverse community of organizers working to reimagine our collective housing future.
Some key themes emerged as panelists reflected on the work. Panelists discussed their organizing challenges as well as the progress they are seeing, particularly in California’s Central Valley. They discussed the need to build deeper alignment and power across the housing and homelessness sector. They shared how critical it is for housing justice advocates to accelerate power-building efforts – particularly in communities that are being directly impacted.
As Ms. Chavez shared with the panel, “The people on the ground are the closest to the solutions, and we won’t make progress on this housing crisis without centering tenant voices from across the state. The pandemic showed us what is possible if we are willing to prioritize the well-being of our community members, and as those policies are getting pulled back, we must look to the advocacy leaders in our state to guide us towards what’s next.”