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Affordable housing wins on the state and local level

On Election Day, several state and local housing measures were on the ballot across the country. Voters had an opportunity to weigh in on issues like parking requirements, eviction requirements, new taxes or dedication of existing taxes to support affordable housing and homelessness programs, and inclusionary zoning. I’m very happy to report that the vast majority of these ballot measures passed! State and local advocates were able to successfully demonstrate the need for and importance of affordable housing and perhaps more importantly, agree on practical steps to address the problems. Below is a list of housing ballot measures and their outcomes, broken down by state and community. Shout out to Michael Anderson with the Center for Community Change for compiling the list of ballot measures. If you know of any ballot measures that passed that are not included in this list, please send them to me at!


  • Alameda County
    • Measure A1 is a $580 million bond for low-income people through homeowner and renter housing programs. Passed with 72 percent.
    • Berkeley
      • Measure AA prohibits owner move-in evictions for families with children during the academic year and increases re-allocation payment requirements. Passed with 72 percent.
      • Measure U1 would generate funds for new affordable homes through an increase in the business license tax for owners of larger multi-unit residential buildings. Passed with 74 percent.
      • Measure JJ extends just-cause eviction requirements from units approved for occupancy before October 14, 1980, to units approved before December 31, 1995, and require landlords to request approval for non-standard rent increases. Passed with 74 percent.
      • Measure KK is a $600 million bond to support street repairs, affordable homes and other essential community needs. Passed with 82 percent.
    • Albany
      • Measure N1 allows minimum parking requirements to be lowered from 2 to 1.5 for each newly constructed residential unit when the city determines there is adequate street parking. Passed with 67 percent.
  • Los Angeles
    • Proposition HHH allows the issuance of $1.2 billion in general obligations bonds to provide safe, clean affordable housing for the homeless; facilities for mental health, drug and alcohol treatment; and facilities for housing assistance and for those in danger of becoming homeless. The initiative will raise property taxes by .01 percent as a pay-for. Passed with 76 percent.
    • The Build Better LA Initiative Ordinance JJJ would impose affordable housing mandates and labor requirements on residential developments above ten apartments that seek zoning changes or general plan amendments; fees in lieu would go into the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Passed with 63 percent.
  • San Francisco
    • Measure C changes $250 million bond loan program for seismic upgrades, including loans for affordable housing acquisition and development. Passed with 76 percent.
    • Measure J would create a Homeless Housing and Services Fund to route $1.2 billion into homeless housing and services over the next 25 years. Passed with 66 percent, but was dependent upon Proposition K passing for funding.
    • Failed: Measure K would have increased the sales tax by .75 percentage points, a measure that would generate an additional $50 million for homeless services and transportation.
    • Measure M would create a new Housing and Development Commission to oversee the policies and long-term planning decisions of the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. Failed with only 44 percent of the vote.
    • Measure P would require that anytime the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) invites developers to submit proposals for an affordable housing project on city-owned property MOHCD must publish the proposed project to the public and invite the submission of proposals; receive at least three proposals for the project; accept the proposal with the “best value. Failed with only 33 percent of the vote.
    • Measure Q gives the city the power to remove sidewalk tent camps with 24 hours notice, provided residents are offered space at a shelter or a ticket out of town. Passed with 53 percent.
    • Measure S directs the current 8 percent base tax on the rental of hotel rooms to provide specific funding for two different areas, arts programs and family homeless services. Passed with 62 percent.
    • Measure U would have changed inclusionary zoning requirements for market-rate developments from serving people at 55 percent of area median income to 110 percent of area median income. Failed with only 35 percent of the vote. If passed, it would have also applied retroactively to nearly 1,000 existing low-income rental units.
  • Santa Clara County – Measure A would authorize $950 million in bond funds to support affordable housing. Passed with 67 percent.
  • San Mateo County – Measure K extends a half-cent sales tax for 20 years, providing an estimated $80 million a year, some of which will be for affordable housing. Passed with 70 percent.
  • Santa Monica
    • Measure GSH will vote on a half-cent sales tax increase to fund education and affordable housing. Passed with 63 percent.
    • Measure GS requires that half of revenue from any new local transactions and use tax must help preserve and ensure housing in Santa Monica that is affordable, protect residents from displacement by rising housing costs and reduce homelessness. Passed with 70 percent.

Eagle County, Colo. – Ballot issue 1A supports a sales tax increase to fund affordable housing. Failed with only 37 percent.

Baltimore, Md. – Question J amends the City Charter to create a housing trust fund that would support fair and affordable housing for low-income households. A dedicated revenue source is not part of Question J. Passed with 83 percent.

Massachusetts – Sixteen Massachusetts jurisdictions voted on levying a Community Preservation Act property tax levy, which is used for affordable housing, open spaces and historical preservation. 11 of those ballot measures passed:

  • Cities passed: Boston (74 percent), Chelsea (66 percent), Holyoke (56 percent), Pittsfield (63 percent), Springfield (62 percent), and Watertown (61 percent)
  • Towns passed: Billerica (52 percent), Hull (59 percent), Norwood (61 percent), Rockland (50.5 percent), and Wrentham (68 percent)

North Carolina: 

  • Asheville – City Council approved a general obligation bond referendum that would generate $74 million for public improvements divided into three categories, Housing Affordability (71 percent), Parks and Recreation (77 percent), and Streets, Sidewalks & Bike Lanes (76 percent). Voters voted separately on each category and all three passed!
  • Greensboro – Bond for $25 million for various affordable housing programs. Passed with 68 percent.
  • Orange County – $5 million bond for affordable housing. Passed with 66 percent.

Portland, Ore. – Voters approved measure 26-179 which creates a $258.4 million bond to preserve and build affordable housing. Passed with 62 percent.

Rhode Island – Measure 7 authorizes $50 million for bonds in affordable housing, urban revitalization and blight remediation. Passed with 58 percent.

Vancouver, Wash. – Proposition 1 would approve a housing property $42 million 6-year tax levy and create an Affordable Housing Fund to serve very low-income families and individuals. Passed with 57 percent.

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