Nov 12, 2017
The Mercury News · Katy Murphy
California’s unprecedented housing crisis has ushered a new power player onto the scene with a supply-and-demand message so succinct it could fit on a T-shirt: Build more homes.
Meet the YIMBYs, a network of pro-development, tech-funded, ‘Yes-In-My-Backyard’ organizations cropping up throughout the Bay Area and beyond to counter the sentiment against building more homes in existing neighborhoods. Led by millennials, who have been frozen out of the housing market and slammed by California’s skyrocketing rents, the movement has distilled a collection of wonky policies into an urgent problem with a ready solution.
The YIMBY Party, whose groups include East Bay for Everyone, YIMBY Action and a legal nonprofit known as CaRLA, has raised more than $1 million over three years, supported primarily by Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and other large employers whose workers can’t afford to live near their jobs, according to Sonja Trauss. It also collects monthly dues from hundreds of members, she said, and receives some funding from developers.
“As a large employer myself, I’m like, ‘This is a disaster,’” Stoppelman said in an interview outside the group’s recent fundraiser. “I want to grow my business here in San Francisco. We love that we have our headquarters here — it’s where we started — but as rents ever escalate, it’s a real burden.”