Medium: Voters Agree on Housing, Will Decision Makers Follow Their Lead?
December 14, 2016
Amie Fishman in Rewire News: “Fair and affordable housing advocates swiftly sounded the alarms on Carson’s nomination”
January 20, 2017

“Earlier this year, a national survey from Ipsos Polling illuminated new insight into voters’ attitudes around affordable housing.


The poll showed that a strong majority agreed that Congress wasn’t doing enough to improve housing affordability. And voters across party lines wanted more action on housing solutions, with 72% of voters stating that their Democratic and Republican parties should make housing a core component of their platforms.

Yes, true, it’s a poll — a tool that many of us feel particularly sensitive about putting our trust in right now.

But we had a test of these findings in a number of areas this November. Voters spanning eight states and 35 jurisdictions were asked to weigh in via the initiative system on proposals that would invest in creating more affordable housing: Measures that would support families and working people, veterans and seniors, and help many others facing homelessness to find stable, healthy, and affordable homes.

More than 80% of these affordable housing funding measures passed. While these measures chiefly appeared on ballots in blue states, the support spanned the spectrum, with “yes” votes measuring in the 60s, 70s, and even 80 percents…

…In the state of California, perhaps the poster child for housing challenges, several measures were victorious despite the state’s 2/3 voter support requirement (a Tea Party-style policy designed precisely to prevent such measures from passing.) Voters in Los Angeles, Santa Clara County, Alameda County, and San Francisco overcame this high threshold and secured significant investments to create more housing opportunity and access in their communities.

Affordable housing measures found success in many other places, including communities in North Carolina and Maryland, Oregon and Washington, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. While not every state had an opportunity to weigh in on housing at the ballot, those that did validated what Ipsos showed us: Voters said they want more housing solutions, and when given a chance, they will act to do so…


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