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OP-ED: "More Housing, For Us and Our Climate" by Nicole Lillie, Housing Projects Director

OP-ED: "More Housing, For Us and Our Climate" by Nicole Lillie, Housing Projects Director

Monday, February 6, 2023

Our Time to Act United

Our Time to Act (OTTA) United's new Housing Projects Director is making waves. On February 6th, 2023, Nicole Lillie's Op-Ed titled "More Housing, For Us and Our Climate" was published in the UC San Diego Guardian newspaper.

In her piece, Housing Projects Director Lillie advocates for more "high-density, multi-family, mixed-use housing" to address both the housing and climate crisis.

Housing Crisis

Ms. Lillie uses historical data to identify the root cause of housing unaffordability in San Diego and in Southern California.

"The ultimate origin of San Diego’s housing crisis is that San Diego has failed to build enough homes overall ... '[b]y one simple measure, San Diego’s lack of homebuilding since 2010 has resulted in 59,000 fewer units than what’s needed to match the population growth in that time.' In order to address the root cause of housing unaffordability and homelessness, we need to build more homes."

The status quo in California and across the country holds up single family homes as the solution. But this is a dangerous trend. In fact, single family homes are "rooted in exclusionary housing practices like redlining and racial steering" and are still widely inaccessible to non-white families today.

San Diego needs the most effective and economical option: high-density, multi-family, mixed-use housing.

Climate Crisis

This type of housing also helps us address and combat the climate crisis. Ms. Lillie explains,

"50% of local emissions in the City of San Diego come from transportation. When you build high-density housing near transit, it enables more people to take public transportation instead of personal vehicles. Mixed-use development is also key. This is when you put housing next to commercial buildings. On UC San Diego’s campus, you can study, work, and live — all within a walkable or bikeable distance."

In contrast to single family homes, which have higher per capita carbon emissions and reinforce car dependency, high-density and mixed-use are clearly a cleaner choice.

OTTA United is proud to be a leader in the housing organizing space in the City of San Diego. Last year, OTTA United helped pass city-wide Community Planning Group reform and pushed high-density housing in University City at a Planning Commission hearing. Housing Projects Director Lillie will continue to trailblaze youth involvement in housing policy and direction in 2023.

Read the full Op-Ed here:

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