Amidst COVID environment, Bay Area Voters Cite Housing As Top Concern

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RELEASE: Amidst COVID Environment, Bay Area Voters Cite Housing As Top Concern

New poll shows strong majority support for housing solutions, as advocates look for avenues to achieve these goals through AB 1487 implementation

Released Monday, May 18

(San Francisco Bay Area) The Bay Area Housing For All coalition released new polling this morning in a presentation to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) as part of an ongoing process to identify how to build on the 2019 passage of Assembly Bill 1487 (Chiu) which authorized the Bay Area region to pursue a regional approach to its regional housing challenges.

“Our current climate exposes even more deeply how foundational housing is to the health of our communities and the success of our economy,” said Amie Fishman, Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) Executive Director. “Now more than ever, we need to find innovative regional solutions to address our regional needs.”

The Bay Area Housing for All coalition pointed to the new polling research as evidence that the region should shore up and strengthen the newly authorized Bay Area Housing Finance Authority, in order to secure the solutions that voters support.

“Even in this moment of uncertainty, voters have continued to highly prioritize affordable housing and homelessness solutions,” said EMC Research President & CEO Ruth Bernstein. “No one knows what the future holds, and it’s not very surprising that we’re seeing a dip in support for a specific revenue measure.”

“Voters are clear on the outcomes they want to see for our region, and we’re committed to working with MTC and ABAG to ensure that the Bay Area uses all of the tools at our disposal to get the results that our communities need,” said Fishman. “Lawmakers had the foresight to empower the Bay Area with a regional agency in 2019. Let’s see what a strong, dedicated housing authority can do!”

The polling, conducted by EMC Research during weeks 7 and 8 of the Shelter in Place period (April 26 – May 6), found:

  • Homelessness and housing remain top priorities for voters (mentioned by 37% and 34%, respectively, the top responses in an open-ended question) even as COVID as a single issue surged onto the poll at 19%.
  • There is strong support for fundamental outcomes of what a potential affordable housing bond could help fund. Individual elements of a potential bond included:
    • 86% total support for providing stable housing for homeless children and families (60% strongly support)
    • 90% total support for providing local housing affordable for vulnerable residents (60% strongly support)
    • 89% total support for protecting the health of Bay Area resident (59% strong support)
  • Voters are deeply concerned about the economy and, while there is support across the Bay Area for a regional affordable housing ballot measure, it does not appear that a regional measure could secure the challenging 2/3 vote threshold amidst our current economic and political environment.
    • Forty percent of voters anticipate the COVID environment to have a negative impact on their personal finances.
    • Voter sensitivity to taxes has climbed in the last six months; 57% voters state that they would vote against any tax increase in this moment, up a net 16 points since November 2019.
    • While there is strong support for a regional measure (60%), this would not pass a 2/3 threshold at this time.


The Bay Area Housing for All Coalition is a coalition of organizations committed to progressing regional solutions for our regional challenges. The coalition leadership includes the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH), All Home, Enterprise Partners, and The San Francisco Foundation. Learn more at:

The Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) is the Bay Area’s voice for affordable housing. NPH envisions a future where everyone has an affordable and stable home. NPH represents thousands of individuals and organizations, including affordable housing developers, advocates, community leaders, and businesses, working to secure resources, promote good policy, educate the public, and support affordable homes as the foundation for thriving individuals, families and neighborhoods. For more information about NPH, visit

Media Contact: Alina Harway, 415-989-8160 x36,