Where do your candidates stand on housing?
Celebrating NAHREP familia, cultura, politics, and grassroots action
August 25, 2022
Qué onda mi gente?!
If there is nothing else you take away from these blogs, let it be this one thing: You have so much more power than you think. Now it’s time to use it.
When it comes to your elected officials, YOU are in charge. Don’t ever forget that. Every 2 to 4 years, you get to choose whether you want to keep your elected officials or to fire them. With that power comes a great deal of responsibility. And I know, ignorance is bliss. Most of us go about our days, solving problems that arise within our immediate families and/or businesses, and we don’t have time to “supervise or manage” our elected officials. But, if you think housing supply is the biggest issue impacting your clients and business right now, let’s do something about it! Use this upcoming election to actually review and vet your candidates – especially when it comes to housing issues.
The 7th principle of the NAHREP 10 says: be politically savvy because public policy matters. From this principle, the National Advocacy Committee and the #NAHREPVOTES campaign were born. Being a NAHREP voter means being a housing voter, and to be a housing voter, we have to know how our candidates vote and think about housing.
Find out where your candidates stand on housing
In order to understand, compare, and contrast where your candidates stand on housing issues, we’ve put together a sample questionnaire. You can send this questionnaire to your mayoral, city council, and county board of supervisor candidates for this coming Fall election. You will want to send your questions as soon as possible to allow time for then to fill them out and so that you can share their responses-especially with the NAHREP network. Feel free to edit your questions to be more relevant to your city or send as is.
NAHREP Candidate Questionnaire
- How would you characterize the housing needs of your district, both for renters and homeowners?
- How would you increase overall housing production?
- In your opinion, what is the biggest barrier to housing production in our region?
- How will you reduce the racial and ethnic homeownership gap and other disparities in housing for households of color?
- How would you go about ensuring an adequate supply of affordable housing in the city?
- Do you support legalizing new and diverse housing options, such as 2 – 4 unit buildings and mixed-used zoning, in parts of the city where it is currently illegal to build them?
- Would you support the streamlining of zoning-compliant housing?
- How many units of housing do you believe our city should add over the next 10 years? How many of those would be for potential homeowners so that they can start building wealth?
- Do you support upzoning? What parts of the city/county would you push for upzoning?
- How would you interact with city supervisors, city council members, and/or state legislators who do not want new housing in their district?
- Do you support a by-right process for zoning-compliant housing developments? If not, how you would expedite housing construction in our city?
- If a good infill housing development was being proposed in your district, but some neighbors wanted it blocked, what factors would you consider when deciding whether or not to support or oppose the project? Please provide an example where you supported such a housing development, whether as an elected official or activist. What factors would you consider if the project was in another district?
- The lack of housing supply is the number one barrier to advancing sustainable Latino homeownership, and no other product is more underproduced than housing for first-time homebuyers, further exacerbating the wealth gap for generations to come. What would you do to encourage the production of more homes, particularly the production of homes for first-time homebuyers?
- What would you do to support or incentivize local developers, including community organizations and private developers to develop more housing such as condos and townhomes?
- We cannot meet our growing demand for housing without significant resources and efforts. Will you support a dedicated source of funding and efforts for housing production?
Some ideas for how to distribute this questionnaire:
- Email to candidates: As a chapter, you send this questionnaire to all of the local candidates in your region. This is a great exercise for your Government Affairs Committee. Collect a list of all of the candidates in your local city and county government and reach out to them.
- Hold a candidate forum: If you are able to hold a candidate forum, make sure that all of the candidates are invited. You could even do this in collaboration with another local housing organization so that you could see in person how various candidates respond to these questions. You’ll also get to see who has actually put some thought into these pressing issues, and who has the best plans for addressing our housing crisis.
- Host a meet and greet at your house: You can host a meet and greet at your house. Invite all of your friends and NAHREP members and ask the candidates these questions.
- If you find who the top housing champions are in your city: Champion them! Volunteer for their campaign or help them out in any way that you can.
Gracias corazones. Let me know how this goes! Remember, you have more power than you think. Now use it.
About Noerena Limón
Noerena Limón is NAHREP’s Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Industry Relations. Noerena heads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts on issues ranging from homeownership, housing inventory, credit access and immigration.
Prior to joining NAHREP, Noerena spent six years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and served as a political appointee under President Obama in the White House Office of Political Affairs.