Have you heard there’s a housing shortage? Of course you have. Everyone has. (Except maybe billionaires; they’re doing just fine.) Virtually every market in the country is getting more and more cutthroat as renters and homebuyers face higher rents and mortgages for an ever dwindling supply of apartments and houses. A Maryland buyer offered to name her firstborn after the seller to secure a deal (she didn’t get it). In Austin, real-estate agents have received offers of nearly $1 million above asking. In Manhattan, rents are 20 percent higher than they were last year (COVID-19 had something to do with that, of course). In only 7 percent of counties in the country can a person earning minimum wage afford a fair-market, one-bedroom apartment. Well, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a plan to address this worsening situation. She wants to flood local, state, and federal government with YIMBYs.
“Are you running/thinking of running in a local election (ex: council race) to help make things better?” Ocasio-Cortez asked Wednesday on Twitter. “I want to help — especially in tackling our housing crisis. We need people running everywhere.”
Courage to Change — the PAC that AOC started to get more progressive and working-class people into office by funding their campaigns — just released its 2022 pledge, which includes a number of policy commitments aimed at making “housing permanently affordable, inclusive, and widely available.” Specifically, AOC is asking prospective candidates to rewrite the rules on zoning — the weedy and arguably most consequential city policies to housing — so cities can build more of the kind of housing that actually relieves the housing crisis, namely multifamily, mixed-income buildings. This might include ending single-family zoning, reducing the minimum lot size for development, and enabling affordable housing in affluent neighborhoods. Crucially, AOC is asking those who sign the pledge to vow to carry out these pro-housing policies “even if the local official representing that neighborhood was opposed.”
This pro-housing stance is becoming the norm for progressive political candidates like Huge Ma, a.k.a. @TurboVax, who is running for the New York State Assembly on a platform of “housing abundance.” If Housing Twitter is any indication, these candidates are in for a grueling fight.