Above: Rachel and Francine prepare their talking points at Housing California's #LobbyDay 2016 event in Sacramento.
On April 12, our PR & Policy Coordinator Rachel Kassenbrock and DWC resident/community advocate Francine Andrade headed to Sacramento for Housing California's 2016 Lobby Day!
Above: Francine prepares for the Lobby Day kick-off on the steps of the California State Capitol Building.
Lobby Day is an annual event put on by Housing California and attended by hundreds of organizations and individuals from all over the state of California. This year, Rachel and Francine joined advocates from the Residents United Network (RUN), Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), Housing California, and other advocacy organizations across California to speak with state legislators about bills that specifically affect homeless women and affordable housing laws in California.
The opening remarks were given on the steps of the California State Capitol Building, and Rachel and Francine had their talking points at the ready as they were divided into groups to meet with different Senators and Assemblymembers throughout the day. Rachel and Francine joined two advocates from PATH Ventures, and attended meetings with staff members from the offices of Senator de Leon (Senate District 24), Senator Lara (Senate District 33), Assemblymember Steinorth (Assembly District 40), and Assemblymember Santiago (Assembly District 53).
In each meeting, Rachel and Francine's group voiced their support for four pieces of legislation supporting affordable housing development in California.
The first, the "No Place Like Home" initiative, is a Senate proposal to provide $2 billion to develop 10,000 new permanent supportive housing units, as well as fund programs providing assistance to chronically homeless individuals and families. The second, the Assembly Housing Budget Ask, is a request for more state funding to be directed toward affordable housing development. The third, AB 2817, would provide a state low income tax credit, increasing the amount of state tax credits California can allocate for affordable development. And the last bill, AB 2502, would allow cities and counties to pass an inclusionary zoning law, requiring new developments to include a certain percentage of affordable and low-income units.
Rachel, Francine, and their group members went over the initiatives carefully, explaining why each one would benefit California residents. Francine's story was especially powerful - as a woman with lived homelessness experience, she was able to provide concrete examples of how access to affordable housing has changed her life.
"I have my own key, and my own door," she said. "Now that I have that, I want to make sure other people can have it, too."
"I have my own key, and my own door," said Francine. "Now that I have that, I want to make sure other people can have it, too."
After a productive, fun-filled day at the Capitol, Francine and Rachel joined other Housing California advocates to compare notes on how their meetings went and discuss what comes next. Now that they're back in Los Angeles, they'll use what they learned in Sacramento to continue to advocate for affordable housing legislation at the City and County levels!
To find out more about key housing legislation in California, click here.
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