Housing, Homelessness Top Bay Area Council Priorities for 2022

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Two of the Bay Area’s most intractable and worsening problems are housing and homelessness, and the Bay Area Council, our members and many partners secured some changes last year that may start to turn things around. But decades of inaction on these difficult problems means much more still needs to be done, and the Council is determined to make it happen.

On the housing front, legislation the Bay Area Council either sponsored or supported ended the grip of local single-family zoning restrictions that have artificially constrained supply, significantly increased the number of new homes cities must approve and sharpened the teeth of enforcement tools for ensuring communities actually meet their housing obligations. On the homelessness front, partially at our urging, Gov. Newsom and the legislature dedicated billions of dollars to getting thousands of people off the streets and into former hotels and motels converted to temporary housing in line with past recommendations the Council has made and advocated for.

That’s why the Bay Area Council Executive Committee under the leadership of Chair Kausik Rajgopal, Chief Human Resources Officer for PayPal, this week approved a 2022 Policy Workplan that rededicates housing and homelessness among our top priorities. The Council also elevated climate change and climate resilience to its top tier of policy work to focus on the growing threats of drought, wildfires, rising seas and extreme weather.

Improving the Bay Area’s transportation system and improving overall business climate round out our “focus” 2022 policy priorities, though many other important areas will still see significant staff and member work. Over-arching all of them is a focus on ensuring solutions reflect the need for addressing historic and profound social and economic inequities that have created significant disadvantages for underserved communities, people of color and other marginalized groups.

The Executive Committee also took a deep dive on the homelessness issue with Homelessness Committee Co-Chairs Tomiquia Moss of All Home and Robert Schiff of McKinsey. And the Board of Directors later in the meeting took part in an in-depth discussion with housing champion Assemblymember Buffy Wicks focused on next steps for winning more housing reforms.

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