Sonja Trauss is the founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Renters’ Federation – an unincorporated club of pro-building, pro-density renters. Born and raised by a labor and delivery nurse and legal aid attorney in Philadelphia, PA, Trauss learned at an early age the importance of representing the city’s most vulnerable populations.
As an undergraduate at Temple University, she worked for the local Neighborhood Advisory Committee, where she first learned about the mechanics of municipal government. During the financial crisis, she worked as a paralegal for Philadelphia Legal Assistance, helping to defend low income homeowners from foreclosure. She earned her master’s degree in economics in 2011 at Washington University in St. Louis where she then relocated to the Bay Area. As a renter – in El Cerrito and West Oakland, and now in Soma (South of Mission) – she has experienced the Bay Area’s housing and transit issues.
Trauss started the San Francisco Bay Area Renters’ Federation (SFBARF) in 2014 as a response to the anti-growth, anti-newcomer mindset driving housing prices higher in the Bay. Higher housing prices displace many of the most vulnerable long-term residents, making it harder for people to move there, and increase the cost of living for everyone. SFBARF has been nationally recognized as a pioneer in the YIMBY movement to densify our cities, and drive housing prices lower by increasing the number of available houses.
Trauss is currently running for supervisor and aims to raise her son in a neighborhood that’s greener, denser, more pedestrian-friendly, inclusive and more welcoming for everyone, regardless of their origins or present condition.