On Tuesday, across the United States, voters turned out to support affordable housing!

On Wednesday, a day after the mid-term elections, Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, went to Twitter to announce, “Voters turned out to support affordable housing yesterday! @NLIHC is tracking nearly 100 affordable housing ballot measures advanced by our state and local partners – here’s what we know so far.” While some were fixated on the supposed, and dreaded, red wave or tsunami or tide or whatever it was, which happily never materialized, across the country, activists and organizers worked night and day to address the affordable housing crisis ravaging the country. Here’s what we know so far. First, most of the ballot initiatives supporting funding for affordable housing passed. Second, and equally important, many of them passed by large margins. For example, 70% of voters in Kansas City, Missouri; Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio approved initiatives for more, lots more, affordable housing. Want to watch a wave? Watch housing ballot initiatives across the country.

Let’s start on the West Coast and move eastward. California had 52 local ballot initiatives on housing. In the Bay Area, Berkeley authorized 3000 units of affordable housing. Oakland authorized 13,000 units and also expanded and extended eviction protections. Richmond passed a rent cap of 3% annually. That’s only in the Bay Area. In Los Angeles, voters weighed in on Measure ULA, United to House LA, which would raise taxes on home sales over $5 million. According to ACLU attorney Kath Rogers, “This city ballot initiative is a once-in-a-generation chance to end housing insecurity in Los Angeles. It will help keep people in their homes and support low-income seniors and disabled neighbors. Importantly, this measure will build the homes we need to reduce houselessness.” This initiative came from community-based organizations coming together to articulate their solutions and their visions for the future. The same is happening across the country. At last count, it looked like Measure ULA would pass and handily.

Voters in Flagstaff, Arizona, passed Proposition 442, which raises $20 million for affordable housing, by redeveloping city- and privately owned housing into affordable rental units.  Proposition 442 garnered over 60% of the votes.

Voters in Austin strongly backed a $350 million bond to be used for affordable housing acquisition, repair and rental programs.

In Missouri, Kansas City voters overwhelmingly approved $50 million for affordable housing: “According to the city, the $50 million will be Kansas City’s largest investment in affordable housing ever made.”

In Ohio, Columbia voters approved, again overwhelmingly, $200 for affordable housing: affordable rental construction; affordable home ownership; affordable housing preservation; homeless services.

In Florida, Palm Beach County voters approved a $200 million bond for affordable “workforce” units. In Orange County, Florida, 59% of the voters approved a rent control measure.

In North Carolina, 74% of Charlotte voters approved a $50 million bond for affordable housing. In Buncombe County, 62% of the voters approved a $40 million bond for affordable housing.

In Maryland, 82% of those who voted in Baltimore approved a $14 million bond for affordable housing.

Over the next few days, more results will come in, but the picture is already clear. From “overwhelming” to “strongly backing” to vote tallies showing 60 to 80% approval, the demand to provide adequate, decent affordable housing constitutes the wave. Yes, the country is divided, inequality continues to grow and intensify, `partisanship’ is expressed in both strident tones and acts of violence. But across the country, large majorities of people decided the time is now, housing is a right, make it happen. Housing is a human right. Support for adequate, decent, affordable housing is support for our basic, collective humanity. Join the overwhelming wave, vote for, work for affordable housing now.

(By Dan Moshenberg)

(Photo Credit: Martha Rosler, Housing Is a Human Right / e-flux)