Abundant Housing LA is excited to endorse Caroline Menjivar for State Senate District 20! Caroline is a daughter of immigrants born and raised in San Fernando Valley, as well as a queer woman of color veteran. She has a long history of service, enrolling in the Police Academy Magnet and the LA Fire Department Cadet Program while in high school, before serving in the Marine Corps from 2009 to 2016. Upon returning home from active duty, Caroline worked as an EMT while pursuing an education in Sociology and Social Welfare, which ultimately led her to work in the local government, including with Mayor Garcetti and Councilwoman Nury Martinez.
Caroline experienced housing instability firsthand when her family fell victim to the subprime mortgage crisis. At 18, she was evicted along with her mother, who is the sole provider of the family. This lived experience will inform Caroline’s work in the legislature: Caroline will work to make housing more affordable, accelerate home building, and increase her district’s capacity for housing via creative land use strategies, such as mixed-use developments in areas well-served by amenities and transit.
Caroline has demonstrated a nuanced understanding of gentrification, including that it is the result of wealthier, low-density neighborhoods refusing to build more homes. She is interested in pursuing penalties with teeth for communities that consistently resist home building. At the same time, Caroline supports renter protections that prevent displacement caused by real estate speculation – we share the same priority of more housing in all communities, without displacement.
Caroline’s identity has put her at odds with her family, as well as the institutions she has served. But that didn’t stop her from advocating for LGBTQ+ communities, which are disproportionately impacted by homelessness. By advocating for the most vulnerable, Caroline seeks to advocate for all. Caroline recognizes that ending the housing and homelessness crises requires an “all of the above” approach, and this includes investment in permanent supportive housing and wraparound services. As an elected legislator, she will propose policies that will increase access and affordability of mental health services and provide more effective treatment, housing, and services for the unhoused.