Policy Advocacy

“Housing California is a backbone to the movement for housing affordability in California and has demonstrated their ability to strategically connect, catalyze, and provide leadership to the locally directed, regionally organized statewide homelessness and housing affordability alliance advancing the bold state policies we need.”

Leslie Payne

Initiative Director, James Irvine Foundation

Housing CA plays a unique and vital leadership role in changing the housing and homelessness debate and making historic progress in California.

Working in deep partnership with affordable housing resident leaders, mission-driven affordable housing developers, homeless service providers, multi-sector and other key partners, we collectively advance policy change to help create a California with homes, health, and wealth for all in thriving, sustainable communities.
As a statewide advocacy organization that focuses on both homelessness and housing affordability, we use an equity-focused lens and place people struggling the most to make ends meet at the center of our advocacy through the Residents United Network. This means we collaborate closely with Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian Pacific Islander, other people of color and from the lowest-income communities who help guide our policy change work.

What is Policy Advocacy?

Policy advocacy is a set of actions aimed at engaging and influencing opinion leaders and decision makers so they take ownership of a policy proposal and take steps to advance it.

To realize a bold solution like ongoing funding to address homelessness, we must continually converse with the public, key influencers, and legislators at local, regional, and state levels to help them understand how a particular policy can significantly impact the lives of community members. This long conversation ultimately aims to secure the votes needed to pass the proposal we know will provide the stable, affordable homes all Californians should have.

Housing California's Executive Director, Lisa Hershey, stands on a stage in front of a tall blue curtain. She wears a microphone attached to her dress collar. Her hands are animated as she talks energetically to the attendees of Lobby Days at the Capitol in Sacramento, California. She looks determined.

How do we advocate?

Housing California employs multiple strategies to effect the positive change we know is possible and necessary. Specifically, Housing CA invests deeply in both of the following strategic directions:

(1) shaping the narrative to move the public and policymakers from placing individual blame to embracing societal change – “The New CA Dream” and

(2) shifting and building collective power and coordinating with our multi-sector coalitions and community organizing networks to identify and advance bold, high-impact, anti-racist and equity-centered affordable housing and homelessness policy solutions, as outlined in our Roadmap Home 2030.

Housing CA also invests deeply in our third strategic direction, which contains the “more traditional parts” of policy advocacy and breaks down into five categories:

  1. State Legislative and Budget Change – In the state Capitol, we advocate for affordable housing and homelessness legislation and funding.
  2. Administrative and Regulatory Change – We help make sure that the laws we work so hard to pass get turned into programs that meet the housing needs of our neighbors throughout the state.
  3. Electoral Change – At the ballot box, we advance statewide electoral campaigns. (For example, we helped win $6 billion for affordable housing in 2018 via Propositions 1 and 2!)
  4. Legal Change – In the courts, we often serve as a “special party” to help legal services organizations hold local governments accountable if they do not comply with the laws we fought hard to pass.
  5. Federal Change – We partner with our national allies to help pass key federal laws and investments.

Learn more about all our recent successes in each of these areas on our Successes page.

A small group of people stand outside of the Capitol in Sacramento, California. It's a sunny day, the sky is blue, they are wearing smart clothes, and they look very happy. The people are members of Residents United Network and they are attending the annual Lobby Day where they get to tell their stories to representatives.

How can you help?

Join Housing CA in our policy advocacy by signing up for our newsletter and taking action today.

Visit and endorse California’s Roadmap Home 2030, our evidence-based, equity-centered, and comprehensive approach to advancing racial equity, ending homelessness, and creating stable, affordable homes for all Californians. And dive deeper into the Roadmap Home’s vision, goals, and policy solutions that address the root causes of housing insecurity and homelessness across our state.