Policy Director

Rafa Sonnenfeld

Rafa Sonnenfeld Headshot
Current Home
Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz, CA

Housing story

In college, I learned my share of the rent for my room would be higher than the mortgage for my father’s home. It took me a year of checking listings every day to find an apartment in my price range: a moldy converted basement with an illegal kitchen that had dozens of interested renters: I called it home for six years, always worrying I’d have to leave my hometown. Despite being eligible for 10 years, my local housing authority couldn’t even add me to the rental assistance waitlist.


Rafa Sonnenfeld has been working in the housing sector since 2019, when he began serving on the City of Santa Cruz’s Community Advisory Committee on Homelessness. Rafa has experience working with local government and non-profit organizations that provide support for vulnerable populations experiencing the consequences of the national housing crisis. As Policy Director, Rafa uses his depth of housing policy knowledge to lead the strategic deployment of the YIMBY Action network to advance pro-housing policy. He focuses on policy prioritization, staff and volunteer management, coalition building and thought leadership, and legal team support. Rafa received his Bachelor of Science in Informatics from the University of Washington. Rafa also serves on the board of Recovery Cafe Santa Cruz, a non-profit that serves people suffering from homelessness, addiction, and other mental health challenges, and has served as a member of Housing for Health Partnership, and Housing Santa Cruz County.