In the ongoing battle against California’s housing crisis, housing advocates have found an unlikely source of inspiration – TikToker, Ryan O’Connell. A fervent educator and passionate advocate in the Accessory Dwelling Units space, Ryan is on a mission to transform lives by equipping homeowners with the knowledge and resources to create affordable housing solutions.
His journey commenced with a profound realization: he was inadvertently contributing to the problem by creating jobs that displaced people who couldn’t afford to reside in the very regions they worked in while working in the wine industry.
Unlike most housing policy think tanks and the hundreds of design/build firms that market themselves as experts, Ryan chooses to learn in public. “I’m not an expert – I’m just obsessed,” says Ryan. With unwavering dedication, he documents his progress for the world to witness.
Sharing genuine videos about the behind-the-scenes in California’s housing crisis on “How To ADU,” his influential reach extends across several platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok, where homeowners are eager to seek guidance in navigating the impenetrable world of ADUs.
Through his engaging and informative videos, Ryan effortlessly demystifies the process of planning and building an ADU. At the same time, he keeps his community informed regarding housing legislation and available grants. His content is more than simply a compilation of numbers and regulations; it fosters a community of empowered homeowners eager to share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs. This can be seen in the Facebook group Ryan curates, with over 40,000 active members, which has organically developed into a vendor-free community in which homeowners can find mutual support and promote mutual growth without being pestered by sales people.
As a passionate advocate for housing causes, Ryan’s influence extends beyond the virtual realm. Together with housing lobbying groups in California, he passionately advocates for progressive housing legislation. His steadfast commitment has yielded tangible outcomes, as evidenced by a remarkable grant agreement involving a staggering $25 million. While the grant initially faced challenges in reaching homeowners, Ryan’s viral video effectively showcased the opportunity, sparking a surge in applications and ultimately raising millions of dollars to facilitate the construction of ADUs.
In addition to his educational endeavors, Ryan is actively involved in community and local government affairs. Attending city council meetings and diligently tracking housing laws, he remains at the forefront of housing advocacy. With an expansive vision that transcends California’s borders, he envisions a decentralized approach, empowering citizens in major cities to become experts in accessible housing and supporting their peers in constructing affordable housing. Using this collective effort, he intends to integrate ADUs into mainstream housing and real estate practices seamlessly.
While Ryan’s advocacy for ADUs remains a focal point, his passion for the cause goes further than that, driving him to tackle head-on the challenges posed by political corruption and bureaucratic obstacles hindering affordable housing development. A firm believer in the power of collaboration and the power of many, he believes that collective action is crucial to developing more vigorous communities and attaining a brighter future for all. As a passionate educator and advocate for affordable housing, Ryan exemplifies the transformative power of knowledge and community in reshaping the housing landscape, one ADU at a time.