Accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, are a hot topic in the housing space. With the competitive housing market and rising interest rates, having an added source of income can be especially appealing to homeowners. For multigenerational households, ADUs provide additional space for older relatives or young adults in the family. Perhaps more importantly, ADUs can also offer additional housing supply in competitive markets. In 2023, NAHREP intends to execute a strategic plan to advocate for cities and states to not only allow but encourage the building of ADUs as a path to addressing the housing inventory crisis.
The first comprehensive city zoning ordinance was created in New York City in 1916, in response to a 42-story building built in a Manhattan neighborhood that cast a seven acre shadow, leaving many of its neighbors in the dark. At the same time, New York and other cities across the country were grappling with industrial warehouses and factories cropping up near residential neighborhoods. What started as a public health measure, to protect citizens from pollutants and toxins emitted from industrial sites, quickly turned into a tool to segregate neighborhoods.
Speaking of zoning, in California, the governor recently signed a critical housing bill, AB 2011, “The Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act”. NAHREP, alongside other housing advocacy organizations across the state, supported this bill because of its potential to spur millions of affordable homes. AB 2011 allows for affordable housing development on commercially-zoned areas if it meets the affordability, labor, and environmental standards.
Cómo están, corazones? This past weekend, I attended one of my favorite gatherings for national housing leaders. Annually, a group of top housing executives and nonprofit leaders gather in La Jolla to discuss the housing market and to share ideas. I was inspired by many innovative approaches to housing issues and I want to share some of what I heard. The goal of the National Advocacy Committee is to empower each of you to be leaders and advocates within your community. As you speak to more city stakeholders and nonprofit leaders, it is important to share these ideas so your city can explore new options.
Where are all my runners at? I know there’s a ton of you. I’ve even heard from little pajaritos that there are a few NAHREP running groups out there. First of all, I don’t know that I can call myself a runner just yet, but I’ve recently taken it on again after a long hiatus and it is making me so happy. I’ve made a list of all of the best running trails in San Diego (most of which are by the beach and absolutely stunning) and I’m slowly crossing them off. It is hands down the best way to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of a city.
Last month, many of our chapters attended their local city council meetings to speak up on homeownership as part of our June City Council Campaign. It was so awesome to see all of you in action! But what was even more amazing was that many of you reported that your city’s mayor, councilmembers, and other influencers approached you after the meeting and invited you to participate in further conversations around housing supply. That is what this is all about! As you become known in your area, you may be invited to join a city planning committee or housing commission. These groups may be formal or informal, but I encourage each of you to take that opportunity if it presents itself.
I’m currently at our Corporate Board of Governors (CBOG) Retreat and I was reminded of my favorite thing about NAHREP: the beautiful lifetime friendships that are built through this network. I had the pleasure of having dinner with some of my favorite NAHREP personalities, including Jerry Ascencio, Marc Hernandez, Cristian Correa, AT Almeida, and Alex Garza. We laughed harder than I have laughed, quite frankly, in a very long time. I needed that laugh. We were vulnerable, teased each other, told stories about our families, and through laughter, we established deeper bonds with one another than ever before. No pretense, no airs, no politics, just pure friendship. It went down as one of my favorite, most wholesome NAHREP experiences ever.
It’s June! Can you believe that? We’re essentially halfway through 2022! I can’t even wrap my head around that. But, with any milestone, it’s important to do some reflections. A couple of highlights from the first half of this year: This March, we released our 11th edition of the State of Hispanic Homeownership Report where we not only featured artists, but we conducted the first-ever qualitative study, using our members to help us tell the story of Latino homeownership.
Many of you might have heard about the Biden Administration’s Housing Supply Action Plan by now. I thought I would break it down so that we all know what to be excited about and what to be cautiously optimistic about. According to the plan, if implemented, the housing shortage will be filled in 5 years. Given that we are short about 5.5 million homes and demand will only continue to increase, that is definitely ambitious.
Over the next two months, NAHREP will be attending city council meetings all over the country to hold our local city officials accountable and put pressure on cities to build more entry-level housing for homeownership. The housing gap has reached crisis levels. We can no longer wait. Here’s the deal: no one is asking for more homes for first-time homebuyers. There are folks who are speaking up about affordable housing, which usually means rentals. While more rental housing is important, we can’t forget homes for homeownership!