By Kimberly Sanchez, Executive Director
Last month, my colleague Daniele and I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for Grounded Solutions Network’s annual conference. Grounded Solutions Network works nationally to connect local housing experts, specifically community land trusts, and promote housing solutions that will stay affordable for generations. This year’s conference theme was Policy. Practice. Power.
It had been two years since we had all been together, and we were able to hear about new innovations, learn about the strides being taken to combat racial inequities in housing, and renew our hopes for increased federal funding because of the strong policy work being done locally and nationwide. Gatherings like these fill me with energy, inspiration, and hope that I get to bring back home to our Community Home Trust community. A consistent theme was impressed upon the attendees over and over: collaboration is the key. Gathered in the room were several hundred advocates representing many different forms of affordable housing, from rental to homeownership. The message was clear: work together. It doesn’t matter if it’s rental, homeownership, co-op or any other type of permanently affordable housing. It. ALL. Matters. We need to work together on policies that will expand and include all types of housing. One of the speakers noted eloquently that the environmental groups aren’t lobbying solely for clear air, or clean water, or more trees. They work together to focus on a broader goal. And we were encouraged as housing advocates to do the same.
The Orange County Affordable Housing Coalition (OCAHC) is the perfect example of this message, an organization for which I am honored to serve as the co-chair. OCAHC is made up of representatives from about a dozen local housing-related organizations as well as community members who are personal advocates for affordable housing. In our monthly meetings, we discuss the housing issues facing the County and the ways each of us is addressing those issues. Collectively, we advocate with local governments for the priorities we share, and we support each other in our work to make sure our community is a welcoming, affordable place for everyone to live. You may have seen us share social media posts and letters from OCAHC in the past, but if you’d like to learn more about the Coalition, take a look at the website.
We also have a special email list for people who want to receive alerts about opportunities to share your support for housing initiatives. Emails to this list are infrequent and always include simple ways to engage. If you’d like to be added to that list, just click here to email Daniele and let her know you’d like to remain informed.