“Everyone has the right to live in a home”—Joshua D.

July 08, 2019

“I remember when I rented a room for $420 a month while I attended George Mason University. The owner purposefully converted his single-family home into a multi-family residential. It was part business and part community service—he wanted students to be able to afford to live in the community. When my wealthy NIMBY neighbors wanted to kick us out, the zoning department defended our right to live there. Co-living homes are legal in Fairfax, Virginia, which is one of the wealthiest zip codes in America.

Unfortunately in over 70% of California—multi-family homes are illegal. When the Federal Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, political leaders across California responded by downzoning entire regions of the state to only allow single-family homes. Duplexes, apartments, and subdivided single-family homes allowed lower- and middle-income people and minorities to live in their neighborhoods. Allowing only single-family homes was a way to keep them out. And this history of racist and classist housing policy created California’s severe housing shortage.

Lifelong residents are forced to move away from their friends and family. Residents who stay, often live in inadequate or substandard housing at the whim of unsympathetic landlords. Every year, more and more people are living on the street or in their cars. Considering I have to pay $2,900 a month for a “market rate” one bedroom apartment in Oakland, this result seems inevitable.

Oakland is working to fix these problems, but there is only so much we can do. The richer cities that surround Oakland don’t want to rezone their areas to allow more housing. They fight tooth and nail against every proposed housing project. I’m tired of it.

Housing is important to me—I was raised in a home passed down from our grandparents and made affordable by federal subsidies for veterans. It’s important to have a home, if my family didn’t have one, I don’t know where I’d be right now.

YIMBY or “Yes In My Back Yard” is an ideologically diverse movement that believes in one thing: People have the right to live in a home. We don’t care if that apartment might cast a small shadow on a park or that an apartment complex might ruin the neighborhood ‘character.’ People are suffering. We’re tired of the status quo. We want an end to the housing crisis.

I’m a YIMBY because I want to reverse the injustices of our past.

I’m a YIMBY because I see the effects of the housing shortage every day.

And I’m a YIMBY because I believe people have the right to live in an affordable, safe home.

Being a member of East Bay for Everyone, I’ve been able to fight for increased tenant protections, rent-control, government-subsidized public housing, new housing developments, and more. Will you join the fight for more affordable homes?