About

Our Mission

California YIMBY’s mission is to ensure that California is an affordable place to live, work, and raise a family. We advance our mission by:

  • addressing and correcting systemic inequities in California housing laws, and in related laws and regulations;
  • empowering Californians across the state to engage their elected representatives at the state and local levels on housing and related policies;
  • ensuring that California housing laws and local regulations are evidence-based, equitable and inclusive; and
  • drafting and advocating for proven legislative solutions that accelerate the pace of home building.

We believe that an equitable California begins with abundant, secure, affordable housing. We focus on housing and land use policy at the state level to ensure grassroots organizers and city leaders have the tools they need to accelerate home building at the local level.


Our Vision & Values

Our vision is of a California where neighbors welcome new neighbors of all backgrounds, and current residents are not displaced from their communities.

We believe in neighborliness, and that communities are enriched and strengthened by openness and diversity. We believe that California holds the promise of opportunity for all: the chance to start a new life, the freedom to be our authentic selves, the promise of prosperity, the lure of our natural wonders.

We believe in empowerment, and support those who want to accommodate new neighbors while ensuring that new developments take place without displacement. We believe that existing residents have a right to remain in their neighborhoods. We make an effort to seek out and include people with varied backgrounds, experiences and identities to inform our agenda and priorities. We do not tolerate intolerance.

We pursue excellence in every aspect of our work — from the policies we design and support, to the way we interact with our colleagues, allies, partners, and elected officials. We believe trustworthiness is a pillar of human of progress. We are passionate advocates for more housing, and insist on holding ourselves to account. We believe in evidence-based decision making. When we learn something new, we change our views to accommodate our learnings.

Our Staff

Brian Hanlon, CEO. Brian co-founded the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA) in 2015, which sues cities that violate state housing law. CaRLA’s novel impact litigation strategy yielded victory against Berkeley, lead to the drafting of SB 167, generated enormous press coverage for the YIMBY movement, and put scofflaw cities on the defensive across the state. Prior to co-founding CaRLA, Brian spent 10 years working for the US EPA and the US Forest Service. When he’s not fighting to expand housing affordability and access, Brian can be found cycling in the East Bay hills.

Stacy Cohen, Executive Vice President & Chief Advocacy Officer. After 20 years working as a film exec and producer, Stacy accidentally transitioned to a career in politics when she volunteered on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and couldn’t stop. She joined the President’s field team for the 2010 midterms as the CA Field Director and continued on through the 2012 campaign. Stacy​ ​worked ​to support the​ President’s second term policy ​agenda​ as CA State Director at Organizing for Action. She’s passionate about storytelling and training new organizers.

Louis Mirante, Legislative and Partnerships Director. As an analyst in the California Department of Finance, Louis worked to develop and pass Governor Brown’s 2017 and 2018 budgets. This included work on legislation to improve the delivery of services and quality of labor protection. Previously, Louis was an Executive Fellow with the California Air Resources Board in the Office of the Chair and in the Legislative Affairs Division of the Department of Transportation. In 2016, Louis co-founded House Sacramento, a local YIMBY organization.

Joe Kavanagh, Director, Organizing Product Management. Joe has worked in political organizing data for eight years, having started with the DNC in the 2010 midterms as a Special Projects Manager and serving as the California Data Director during the Obama 2012 campaign.  Since then he has worked with various non-profit and for-profit companies to help them design better organizing systems to engage the communities they work with. When he’s not busy in the office he acts as a judge for the Magic: The Gathering card game and currently serves as a senior adviser to the Southwest USA Region.

Aaron Eckhouse, Regional Organizing Lead. Aaron grew up in Iowa after his parents were forced out of the Bay Area by high housing costs and underfunded public schools. He moved to California two years ago, where he was taken by the beautiful landscape, amazing produce, and obscenely high rent. He is excited to apply his organizing experience from the 2012 Obama campaign and his YIMBY experience with East Bay for Everyone to the task of ending California’s housing shortage.


Our Strategy

California YIMBY’s tripartite strategy to end the housing shortage:


Our Fundraising

Foundations and individual technology leaders have provided the vast majority of our funding. We hope to broaden our funding base by appealing to the millions of Californians who want a more affordable and inclusive state. Donations are very much appreciated, but are not tax deductible, since much of our works consists of issue advocacy.