In the three years since our founding, California YIMBY has been at the forefront of major legislative victories that will help end the housing shortage and make California a more equitable, affordable, and livable state.
A Fast-Growing Movement
We’ve built a fast-growing, statewide movement for housing reform, with over 80,000 members and 20 local teams comprised of volunteers dedicated to ensuring all Californians and future Californians have a home. From Humboldt to San Diego, California YIMBY organizers are engaging voters, homeowners, renters, businesses, civic leaders, faith communities, affordable housers, and changing the conversation about housing. We connect our volunteers and members directly with the local and state leaders who write and pass policy.
Popular Solutions for the Housing and Climate Crises
Our solutions are wildly popular with California voters. Across the political, economic, and demographic spectrum, Californians understand that the housing crisis is the result of a shortage of homes — and that allowing more homes to be built is the solution. Fully 66% of Californians support making it legal for more homes to be built near transit and jobs while protecting tenants. That includes “Yes In My Back Yard” voters who would welcome new homes in their neighborhoods — and on their blocks.
Grounded in Research
Our legislative and policy agenda is guided by empirical research into the causes of the housing shortage and housing cost burdens, and the measures needed to overcome them. We work closely with top housing researchers and academics from across the US, including California’s extensive network of experts on land use, urban planning, housing affordability, transportation systems, low-income housing, and related finance and tax policies.
Changing the National Debate
As the largest YIMBY organization in the largest state in the US, California YIMBY has played an outsized role in advancing the cause of affordable housing and urban land use reform across the country. As our policy priorities advance in the Golden State, other states are taking notice — and taking action: Zoning and land use reform is moving forward in states across the country, taking lessons learned and concepts from our efforts in Sacramento and bringing them to state houses far and wide.
Our pro-housing agenda is also supported by scores of advocacy organizations, with policy partners like AARP, the League of Women Voters, NRDC, the California Labor Federation, the California Chamber of Commerce, the Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and the California Association of Realtors.
New York Times: “SB 50 would override local restrictive zoning by legalizing small to midsize apartment buildings (up to five stories) near job centers and public transportation and set minimum affordability standards for some of those units. The measures are intended to stem the growth of super-commuters — workers who are priced out of areas near their jobs and forced to drive long distances to get to work.”
Vox: “This is a proposal that would unleash a drastic increase in the pace of construction and add millions of new units. And if the governor is able to get behind something like this proposal and deliver, he’ll have a chance to leave his mark on the state and create a legacy of accomplishment to fuel his national ambitions.”
LA Times: “SB 50 is bold, to be sure; it would herald a dramatic, but ultimately necessary transition toward greater density in California. We would like to see it passed — if it is first amended to give cities a final chance to take the lead in building the necessary housing, and if it gives a pass to those cities that are already succeeding. If cities prove unable or unwilling to take the necessary steps, then the state should step in.”
The Atlantic: “If [SB 50] passes, California would become denser, cheaper, greener, and more affordable—a state less centered on car culture, and more centered on walkable neighborhoods; more responsive to the needs of young families. The central economic crisis of the Trump years—high inequality, a shrinking middle class, and an excruciatingly high cost of living—would become less daunting. And California would be a lesson to other states whose residents are facing jumping rents and long commutes.”
SB 10 allows cities to streamline the upzoning of lots near jobs and transit. By enabling cities to increase the density of these lots up to 10 units without triggering an environmental review, this bill would make it easier to build housing for young people and working families.
SB 9 allows two homes on every property zoned for single-family homes in California. By streamlining the process to split a lot or create a duplex bill could lead to a substantial increase in the amount of housing available in neighborhoods throughout the state.
We sponsored legislation that will lead to a dramatic expansion in the number of Accessory Dwelling Units, or “Granny Flats,” a popular and fast-growing type of housing that can be built in the back yards of single-family homes. AB 68 streamlined the process for approval of ADUs while also creating the right to build a second, “junior” ADU on the same property. This bill effectively ended single-family zoning in California.
We were the lead advocacy group supporting SB 330, which holds cities accountable for following their own rules on housing, and prevents them from “downzoning,” which makes it harder to build affordable housing in high-opportunity areas. The bill also ends local governments’ ability to enact building moratoriums, which ban the construction of all housing for arbitrary and typically political reasons.
We lead the effort to strengthen the Housing Accountability Act, which holds cities accountable for building the housing they say they will build — and face penalties if they don’t. SB 167 has become one of the most powerful tools in the toolkit for housing advocates across the state.
We supported groundbreaking legislation that allows the Bay Area Rapid Transit system to convert its parking lots into mixed-income housing, which will yield 20,000 new homes.
We supported the first statewide, annual caps on rent increases, which include bans on arbitrary evictions. You can read our full letter of support for AB 1482 here.
Among the many roadblocks cities create for housing, one was a requirement that ADUs can only be offered to renters if the owner lives in the main house. We sponsored this bill, which eliminated the owner-occupancy provision, unlocking the ability of non-resident homeowners to provide low-cost housing in neighborhoods across the state.
We believe that everyone should be able to benefit from California’s boundless opportunity to achieve their full potential. California YIMBY’s mission is to make California an affordable place to live, work, and raise a family. Achieving our mission will put California on a path of broad-based economic prosperity, creating vibrant, livable, and inclusive communities for everyone. We advance our mission by:
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 is of a California where neighbors welcome new neighbors of all backgrounds, and current residents are not displaced from their communities.