Oct 23, 2018 · 4 min read
Voting has begun on critical housing and criminal justice ballot measures
With early and mail voting underway, critical community-driven ballot measures on criminal justice reform and housing affordability are being voted on right now.
As part of our Justice & Opportunity Initiative, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is supporting several efforts to increase access to affordable housing in California, as well as a measure in Ohio to reduce prison spending and, instead, bolster addiction treatment and other common sense public safety measures.
2018 Ballot Measures
In our home state of California, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is supporting a number of efforts to increase access to affordable housing:
Prop 1 (Statewide): Prop. 1, the Veterans and Affordable Housing Act, will be on the November statewide ballot and will help build affordable housing for veterans, working families, people with disabilities, and other Californians experiencing homelessness or struggling to find a safe and affordable home.
Prop 1 recently picked up an endorsement from the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board, as well as editorial boards of the San Jose Mercury News and East Bay Times, which wrote, “California can’t hope to solve its housing crisis unless the state makes a serious investment in building more units. Proposition 1 does just that, authorizing a $4 billion bond for housing loans for veterans and affordable housing for low-income households. Voters should support it on Nov. 6.”
Measure V (San Jose): The measure would authorize $450 million in bonds which, when combined with existing city funds and used to leverage county and state funding sources, will allow the City to produce up to 9,000 new affordable housing units for working families, veterans seniors, teachers, nurses, paramedics, and other workers, as well as people experiencing homelessness. This measure would build on work around housing and homelessness that many of our partners are doing in throughout the region, including Bay Area Forward, PICO California, Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto, and Project WeHOPE.
Community coalitions: We have also made donations to several local community and advocacy groups who are working on housing measures: Non-Profit Housing Action, a Project of Tides Advocacy is working on a number of housing measures, including Prop 1 (statewide), as well as Prop 2 (statewide), which would expand housing for people with mental illness who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, as well as a number of local housing bonds. If passed, the slate of local affordable housing bonds would raise almost $900 million to support affordable housing throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. We are also supporting the Million Voters Project (MVP), an alliance of 8 statewide and regional community networks working to increase turnout of infrequent voters in California. The MVP partners are currently organizing in 24 counties with a goal of contacting 400,000 voters and identifying and motivating 285,000 to the polls on November 6 in support of affordable housing and community investment.
In addition, our criminal justice reform program works to support community-driven efforts across the country to safely reduce incarceration and redirect resources toward common-sense safety measures, such as increased resources for addiction treatment:
Ohio Issue 1: This November, Ohio voters will have the opportunity to vote yes on State Issue 1, the “Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment,” a bipartisan ballot measure aimed at putting taxpayer dollars to better use by reducing reliance on prisons to address certain non-violent offenses, including drug use and possession.
A broad coalition of stakeholders from across the political spectrum have spoken out in support of this effort, as reflected in radio ads by the Christian Coalition, the SEIU, and TV ads by Yes on 1 campaign. Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich also teamed up with civil rights activist and social entrepreneur Van Jones to author an op-ed advocating for the measure.
We are inspired by the work of citizens working to make positive change in their communities and are proud to support their work.
About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Justice & Opportunity Initiative
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Justice & Opportunity Initiative aims to help shape a world that is just, inclusive, and full of opportunity for all people. Our criminal justice program focuses on redesigning our justice system through policy reform, technological innovation, and power-building in communities that have historically been excluded from agenda-setting. Our housing affordability program focuses on supporting local partners who are developing and leading innovative approaches to addressing these challenges that we hope can be scaled to other communities across the U.S.