A Vision for Class and Racial Justice
YIMBY Action believes that we must build welcoming, thriving communities of opportunity for all, and that a fundamental step toward that goal is addressing our housing shortage.
The policies that artificially constrain our housing supply and have led to today’s staggering shortage are rooted in racism and classism. They are tools that have been weaponized by local communities to exclude, marginalize, and exploit low-income people and people of color. These include: exclusionary zoning designed to legalize segregationist policies and practices; excessive permitting processes wielded to slow down or block new residences for othered groups; and intentional reductions in funding to strangle public housing and other housing restricted to workers and families earning less than median incomes. YIMBY Action recognizes that our fight to change these and other exclusionary housing policies is, fundamentally, a fight for class justice and for racial justice.
YIMBY Action envisions an integrated society where every person has access to a safe, affordable home near jobs, services, and opportunity.
Who Are We?
As we embark on the work of striving for a more equitable society, we commit to continuously examining our own identity.
While not universally true of our membership, we recognize that historically, the YIMBY movement has attracted and engaged people who have been shielded by the most extreme impacts of the housing shortage by virtue of our race, socioeconomic status, and other advantages. This includes an activist base that is disproportionately white, male, and college-educated.
We recognize the assets of our privileges, and commit ourselves to leveraging our resources and our social capital to further a vision of an integrated and equitable society.
We also recognize the limitations of our perspectives, and commit ourselves to embracing humility and continuously building coalitions and learning from allies and those within our movement who do represent marginalized identities and experiences.
Our commitment to equity must be continually renewed and assessed. As a starting place, YIMBY Action aims to operationalize our equity vision through the following concrete tactics:
We commit to educating our members and the public about the classist and racist roots of contemporary housing policy. We call on our membership and our larger network to align to certain key common values, although they otherwise may hold wildly divergent perspectives and ideologies. We are unapologetic that among these key common values is a commitment to racial and class justice. In aligning our membership, we recognize that YIMBYs cannot effectively fight the racist and classist history of housing policy unless we understand it. We take active steps through events and content dissemination to educate YIMBYs about the historical instances of classism and racism that caused our current housing crisis.
We commit to devoting disproportionate resources to areas where racist and classist exclusion have been most extreme. We prioritize fighting for housing in neighborhoods that have been the most exclusionary. We prioritize policy goals that especially uplift people of color and low-income communities, such as ending single-family-only zoning, a practice devised to use race neutral language to achieve racial segregation.
We commit to working to center the most marginalized voices in our movement and the YIMBY community. We actively work to engage, recruit, include, and elevate to leadership people from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds and particularly people who come from marginalized backgrounds. We identify and hold ourselves accountable to activities that advance equity on our Board, leads, membership, and in organizational decision-making.
We commit to examining and forestalling disproportionate impacts. We recognize and remember the disgraceful instances in our nation’s history when housing production was accompanied by displacement, and neighborhoods and communities were deconstructed. We are rigorous in choosing policies and projects that advance housing equity. Where proposed policies require tenant protections, we fiercely advocate for their inclusion.
We commit to working in coalition. While abundant housing is necessary to advance racial and class justice, it is not sufficient. We invest in building nourishing, productive relationships with organizations tackling homelessness, environmental justice, transportation access, economic equality, and civil rights. Only together can we achieve our vision of a just and integrated society.