We are greatly disappointed by Monday’s vote in the Arizona Senate. We had hoped that our legislators were ready to get to work on finally dealing with our housing crisis after years of neglect and inaction.

We thought that our senators might take heed of the example of other states who have dealt with the housing crisis for longer, as well as leaders in both national parties who have called for the same thing: legalizing housing. Instead, what we heard were excuses for inaction and confused statements that suggested senators failed to understand the legislation in front of them. 

We should be very clear that inaction on this issue imposes real costs on real people. It means rising housing rents for families, the young, and the elderly. It means increased sprawl that tramples on previously untouched desert. It is a policy failure, plain and simple. 

At a time when rent is astronomical and homeownership is a far-off dream for many, it should not be too much to ask that legislators might do their homework and read about how exclusionary zoning has driven up rents, been used to exclude marginalized communities, and exacerbated the climate crisis. 

There is no pathway to housing affordability without passing statewide zoning reform. There is a housing shortage. To bring down rents we need to construct more housing of all types, where people want to live. This requires reforming our zoning codes to allow for more housing—particularly smaller starter homes, housing near transit, and casitas. 

While disheartened, we look forward to working with legislators in the future to legalize housing statewide and make our cities affordable to all. 

Tempe YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) is a volunteer organization that fights for affordable and abundant housing in Tempe, Arizona. We can be reached at tempeyimby@gmail.com

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