Inclusive Affordable Housing
Creative Solutions to Our Housing Challenge
Housing affordability is a serious concern for our city that must be addressed. The lack of affordable housing is forcing many families to relocate to neighboring communities, leading to increased commuter traffic into and out of our city. Not only is this causing frustration among drivers, it is also increasing pollution levels and contributing to climate change. Our economy is also being harmed as local businesses have trouble attracting and retaining employees due to the lack of workforce housing.
SLO cannot thrive when working and middle class families cannot afford to live here. What would our city be if our firefighters, teachers, police, and construction workers couldn’t live in the community they serve?
As mayor, Heidi will push for a variety of initiatives to fix the problem. First and foremost, she will reduce the demand for student housing by working with Cal Poly to house a much larger percentage of their students on campus. The resulting reduction in demand from students will help lower rental rates for the rest of city residents.
Heidi will also work to pass an innovative housing ordinance permitting the construction of small, modest homes and “tiny homes”. She believes we need these creative housing solutions for families, young professionals, and retirees to build neighborhoods we want to come home to. She also believes we must reduce sprawl and protect our open space by looking to infill housing to meet new demand. All new housing will always be required to contribute to the charm and character of SLO. Additionally, Heidi believes that the rental inspection program is a detriment to affordable and diverse housing.
Rental Housing Inspection Program (RHIP)
Worsening Our Current Housing Problems
In 2014 the City Council adopted a mandatory Rental Housing Inspection Program (RHIP) by a narrow 3-2 vote. At the time, the majority of citizens who addressed the City Council were strongly opposed to the program; yet it passed. While landlords should be held accountable to an agreed upon standard of healthy and safe living environments, the RHIP is not the answer, and only exacerbates our current housing problems.
The detailed home inspections violate tenant privacy and the cost of the inspections are being passed onto renters. Some local property owners are being told that work done decades earlier by a different homeowner doesn’t meet current code and that they must incur thousands of dollars to rectify the issues. This results in displaced tenants, reduces the amount of available housing, and puts the owner’s home in jeopardy when they cannot afford the cost.
SLO citizens’ predominant housing concerns such as exorbitant rental prices and inadequate housing availability must be prioritized and addressed proactively, something this program only makes worse. The long history of unregulated rentals is not the fault of property owners or tenants, but a result of failure of the city to enforce existing regulations that have long subsisted in the Municipal Code. There are effective and less intrusive ways to ensure that no sub-standard units are on the rental market. Heidi believes that empowering and supporting tenants is the best path forward.
Innovative Local Economy
Policies to Support Local Business Creation and Growth
Imagine a town that focuses on quality and value over quantity and size. Instead of bringing in new national chains, we work to make every existing block a better place for our citizens. Instead of widening roads for more cars, we invest in making every street a place that welcomes all. Imagine creating a place of sustainable beauty and innovation to work and live.
This is the type of local economy that Heidi will work to cultivate and support in San Luis Obispo. Understanding that small businesses are critical to the fabric of our downtown and our city, she stands by business owners and residents alike to create a diverse and innovative economy.
The city will initiate a streamlined permitting process allowing small and locally owned businesses the chance to start and grow their business in a supportive environment. As Mayor, Heidi will champion a competitive marketplace that supports locally owned businesses by removing unnecessary red tape that unfairly burdens smaller business and favors large chain stores. The city will work towards increasing walkability and reviving communal gathering spaces. As the downtown grows and evolves, it is imperative to retain our individual historical charm and vibrancy while supporting community events that encourage both residents and visitors to engage.
Proactive Community Engagement
Actively Reaching Out and Listening to Citizens
Strengthening relationships within the diverse voices of our community is a crucial component to building a happy and prosperous San Luis Obispo. The citizens of SLO are the true heart of our great city. By actively reaching out and listening to the citizens we serve, the city will be better informed about the community’s needs, challenges, and desires. Heidi will work to increase civic engagement, encouraging community participation and government involvement by supporting democratic spaces open for people to discuss concerns and public interests. This will also facilitate deeper public knowledge and transparency regarding the policies and practices of our local government. With this type of collaboration, we will build community within our city, and our local government will develop more creative and informed solutions to the varied concerns we face. The city will work to revive cultural and community galvanizing events that are centered on bringing people together and reenergizing the happiness of SLO.
Our local government must be responsive and supportive of all its residents, particularly communities that have been marginalized in city government. Heidi will be a champion for inclusion by fighting for the ordinary person, because she knows that a city prospers when all residents are engaged and feel empowered to participate in their community. By empowering the collective voice and wisdom of our citizens, and encouraging the next generation of San Luis Obispo leadership, a stronger and more prosperous future is possible.
Leadership on Drought and Changing Climate
Leading CA with 80% Renewable Energy by 2030
There has never been a more relevant time for SLO to plan for our energy future now that Diablo Canyon is scheduled to close in the next decade. Climate change is the single greatest threat facing our planet, and the impacts are apparent here and now with our drought, devastating forest fires, and damaging natural disasters worldwide. This is an economic issue, a public heath imperative, and a national security priority. Acting now to stand up for our children and vulnerable communities worldwide is our moral obligation. Together we can enhance community resiliency through energy efficiency.
Many cities throughout our state, such as Lancaster, San Diego and Palo Alto are increasing their commitment to renewable energy goals. The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 requires the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2020, and set an aspirational goal to reduce emissions 80% by 2050. Let’s make SLO a leader in this important movement toward reduction statewide. Heidi commits to proactively creating a path towards 80% reduction in San Luis Obispo’s emissions by 2030. With this vision to create a more resilient community, SLO must increase infrastructure support for electric vehicles, normalize carbon free electricity, and provide local choices for citizens to access renewable energy.
It is time to accelerate our path to a resilient city with clean jobs by utilizing our innovation. With an ordinance for minimum solar installation on new residential buildings, the city will develop streamlined permitting and an open arms attitude toward clean energy businesses in the city. By investing in clean energy, we will create local jobs for families and meet the challenge of climate change with local solutions to this global issue. Heidi will put the action into the Climate Action Plan.
Heidi will make it a priority to create a sustained conversation within our community on our changing climate because she knows, an informed public provides a platform on which good climate policies can be built.
Effective Solutions to Homelessness
Compassionate and Community Based Approaches
While there are many excellent programs in San Luis Obispo currently serving our homeless population, more needs to be done. Homelessness is a complex and multi-faceted issue that includes addiction, mental health issues, and housing. This calls for an array of solutions to genuinely address the issue. While housing is an essential component, the real issue is homelessness not houselessness. Housing will never solve homelessness, but community can. This means creating supportive environments for people to live.
Heidi supports the realization of Hopes Village. This project also believes in a “community first” rather than “housing first” model. In providing stable, safe, drug-free, twenty-four hour housing, the Village will create a foundation for empowering individuals. This project will help those who for numerous reasons do not qualify for county services. If realized, Hopes Village could be an effective model of sustainable design for other urban communities in the country. Learn more at: hopesvillageofslo.com
By developing a cohesive network of organizations, we can empower the homeless population to participate as residents of this community. Heidi also want to expand the use of community service. This alternative to fines and jail time for citations is being used in many places nationwide. Participants in the process are paired with mentors, encouraging individuals to build trust and social networks. This allows the potential for success and development of purpose.
Proactively supporting projects and organizations already engaged is paramount. This will aid in the completion of these projects. Using the creative and intellectual capital of those working toward positive solutions for homelessness is key. Compassionate and community based approaches that engage everyone is the solution.