The world’s eyes have been laser-focused on the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election this month, but we want to make sure that you didn’t miss a groundbreaking piece of local election news that we’re thankful for: Ann Arbor voters passed Proposal C, the city’s affordable housing millage proposal, with a resounding voter support rate of 73.49%. We want to extend a major thank you to supporters for showing up at the polls for environmental justice in races up and down the ballot!
The Ecology Center officially endorsed Prop C along with five other regional environmental and climate organizations because affordable housing is a matter of environmental health and justice. Many people who provide essential services like childcare, healthcare, food, and more for the Ann Arbor community are paid too little to afford to live here. Access to affordable housing within the city will not only help reduce the disproportionately high transportation costs these workers face, but also deliver substantial reductions in fossil fuel emissions, air pollution, and respiratory illness caused and worsened by pollution.
Prop C is a major win for our community and for the environment. It tackles homelessness, housing insecurity, and the climate crisis at the same time. Prop C will create a 20 year, 1 mill tax that is estimated to raise $130 million for affordable housing construction and services, including $6.5 million in its first year. These funds will create 1,500 new affordable housing units in Ann Arbor, the most significant expansion in the city’s affordable housing in 40 years. It will enable major progress in addressing our region’s problems with homelessness, housing insecurity, and housing segregation, and the health disparities that those inequities create for low-income households, disproportionately and especially those of color.
The best policy interventions advance multiple goals at the same time, and intersectional organizing consistently delivers the most effective and equitable results. We’re excited by the results that intersectional coalition-building delivered for climate action and economic justice at the ballot box in Michigan this year, including a substantial eight-year affordable housing millage for Kalamazoo County as well as Ann Arbor’s Prop C.
Much work remains to be done to fight the climate crisis and to advance racial, economic, and environmental justice. We are glad to be in the righteous fight alongside so many diverse allies committed to this work, including you, and we are energized by the potential for progress ahead.