Empty Home Tax Campaign News

4/22/2022 – Signature Turn In Update

Yesterday we turned in over 6000 signatures to the Santa Cruz City Clerk crushing our 5000 signature goal. The community really showed up BIG; all neighborhoods, all ages, property owners and renters. THANK YOU to our over 149 signature gathers and all the other volunteers who made this phase of our community-driven campaign a success. The City Clerk completed the Prima Facie count on April 21st confirming the total number of signatures. The signatures have been transferred to the County Clerk’s Office as of yesterday to complete the signature verification which will include matching the signatures to the registered voter roll for the City of Santa Cruz.

The County Clerk has 30 working days (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays excluded) to certify results to the City Council which will be completed by June 3rd. If the County and City Clerk deems the petition pages to have a sufficient number of valid signatures to qualify to be placed on a ballot she determines a specified date and places an item on a City Council agenda for action, which will likely be for the June 14th Santa Cruz City Council meeting.

In addition to the 30 working day allowance, the calendar will also include no less than 10 days to prepare, submit to the City Manager for approval, and add as an agenda item to a specified City Council meeting, a staff report that will be posted publicly no less than 5 days in advance of the meeting for City Council to take action on certification of the results of the petition. The City Council has three options to exercise at its meeting where the City Clerk Administrator/Elections Official will present his/her findings that an initiative petition is sufficient:

  1. Adopt the ordinance, without alteration; OR
  2. Call an election for the ordinance; OR
  3. Order a report pursuant to §9212.

If City Council ordered a report that report must be presented publicly at a City Council meeting no later than 30 days after the report is ordered. Due to the summer break of City Council during July if they choose to order a report they would have to have the report presented at the June 28th meeting or call a special meeting in July to comply within the 30 day action requirement.  After the report is presented the City Council must call the election for the ordinance or adopt the ordinance without alteration (§9215). If they call the election, which is the result we expect, that would place the Empty Home Tax on the November 8th, 2022 General Election Ballot. 

1/30/2022 – January News Brief

We are in the thick of the community-driven effort to get Empty Home Tax on the ballot. Taxing empty homes that are not occupied for at least 120 days is a simple part of the solution to increase affordable housing in Santa Cruz.  If you believe people should be able to live where they work, and Santa Cruz should be a place for all of us we need you to take action now. We will not make it on the ballot without your help.

 We need to collect 5000 signatures by April 20th. We are pulling out all the stops in February a lot of amazing events planned as well as the opportunity to get set up with a clipboard and collect signatures from your friends and family that are registered at their current address in the city of Santa Cruz. You can see all the events planned on our calendar click this link to sign up for a shift here.

Be sure to check out these events and come out and support Empty Home Tax.

Transit Equity Day – Feb 4 from 2-6pm

The BIG Canvass – Feb 6 from 11-5pm

Petition Signing Dance Party – Feb 12 from 1-4pm

12/29/2021 – End of Year Newsletter

We hope the winter and holiday season has been happy and healthy for you and your loved ones. We are reaching out to update you on the Empty Home Tax Campaign and highlight opportunities for you to take action to ensure we get on the ballot and fund affordable housing in the City of Santa Cruz. 


As we have said before, this is a people powered campaign and it is going to take a BIG push over the next three months to make sure we are successful. Like you, we know and love this community and want to make sure Santa Cruz is a place for all of us!

  • We were approved by the City of Santa Cruz October 27th, 2021 to begin collecting signatures to get the Empty Home Tax on the November 2022 ballot.
  • Our incredible volunteers hit the streets on October 29th and began collecting signatures on petitions to advance our goal of at least 5000 signatures by the end of March 2022. We have been at the Farmers Markets, special events, and hitting up our friends and family wherever and whenever we can. 
  • We have collected over 1000 signatures to date and are currently verifying these signatures. Only signatures from those registered in the City of Santa Cruz count.
  • 102 individual donors have donated to the campaign  raising $10,692; with the largest donation being $700 and the smallest  being $5, average donation $104.82. This money has been used to pay for legal fees, web hosting, filing fees, tabling supplies and printing costs. All labor is being donated by volunteers and we have no paid staff. YOUR DONATIONS are what allowed us to launch this community drive campaign and without your generosity we would have not ever made it off the ground!
  • 58 of your neighbors have been out there collecting signatures either staffing tabling efforts or hitting up their friends and family. BIG THANKS to all who have been putting in the work by donating their time!

As you can see from the list above  there is a ground swell of momentum building for this straightforward effort to meet our communities call out for affordable housing. We definitely need to grow our efforts to ensure we have the valid signatures we need by the end of March 2022. Here is how you can help

  • We need money to keep the lights on…Ok not really the lights since we don’t have an office, but to pay for printing, supplies, web hosting, etc. If you can give please donate  and spread the link https://emptyhometax.org/support-yes-on-empty-home-tax-2022/ 
  • We need more people power! We need you to take on whatever you are up for. We need Location Captains which coordinate volunteers for a certain location or event and Signature Gatherers who do the good work of getting signatures from our community. Both are super easy and fun, no experience needed, all training and supplies provided. Visit here  to sign up for a shift or email volunteer@emptyhometax.org and we will get you plugged in. 
  • If you haven’t signed the petition and want to, email volunteer@emptyhometax.org and we will come to you!
  • If you have signed the petition please CHECK THAT YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION IS UP TO DATE https://registertovote.ca.gov/ 

We look forward to seeing in the New Year and building the Santa Cruz we want together!

Thanks and we hope to see you soon!

The Empty Home Tax Tea89

Yes on Empty Home Tax Santa Cruz**FPPC# 1438739**info@emptyhometax.org**831-200–3878