Oakland, CA — Today, Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland City Council President Lynette
Gibson McElhaney, City Councilmembers Abel Guillén, Dan Kalb and Annie Campbell
Washington outlined the details of the Oakland Housing Cabinet’s City-wide effort to
protect 17,000 units of already existing affordable housing for current residents, and
create 17,000 new units of housing at all income-levels, over the next eight years.
“Oakland is the fourth most expensive housing market in the country, just behind San
Francisco, New York and Boston,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “With the rise in
rents in our City outpacing the increase in incomes faster than any other place in the
country, protecting our residents from displacement is my top priority.”
They were joined by co-chairs of the Housing Cabinet Assistant City Administrator
Claudia Cappio and Heather Hood of Enterprise Community Partners who represented
over 100 housing experts, advocates and business leaders who served as volunteer
members of the Housing Cabinet. Together, they worked for over six months to develop
concrete solutions to stop displacement, improve living conditions, and add to the City’s
stock of both affordable and market-rate housing.
“We have set a vision and a course of action for making sure everyone is welcome, secure and at home here,” said Heather Hood, Deputy Director of Enterprise Community
Partners. “I’m excited to continue doing what it takes to keep Oakland real. We are
fortunate that there are so many people with good will, practical expertise and resources
who are committed to Oakland remaining a diverse and vibrant city.”
Enterprise Community Partners provided pro bono staff support and led the team in
compiling the comprehensive report, entitled, Oakland At Home, and the action plan that
the City Council and the City Administration will begin putting into effect through
legislative and administrative action over the next year.
The report outlines seven areas where City and external resources could be used to do the following: 1) improve renter services, 2) strengthen renter protections, 3) enforce renter protections, 4) acquire naturally occurring affordable housing, 5) secure single family homes in financial distress, 6) build and expand the pipeline of affordable homes and, 7) build and expand the pipeline of market rate homes.
Examples of the 24 specific proposals to better protect existing affordability and current
renters include: an audit of the Rent Adjustment Program; modernization of the housing
services system; revision of the existing condo conversion ordinance for renters currently
living in the 29,000 units in 2-4 unit buildings not covered under the law; and an increase
in the Rent Assistance Program (RAP) fee which landlords pay to support a system for
tenants who raise challenges regarding rent increases; as well as the establishment of a
Scattered Site Homeownership Trust.
To support the creation of 17,000 new units of housing at all income levels, the Housing
Cabinet identified 14 different strategies including: establishment of an Impact Fee which
is currently being reviewed by the City Council; creation of a Public Lands Policy to
provide clarity for builders and the public about how Public Lands can be used for
development; relaxation of secondary unit regulations near good transit; exploration of
Infrastructure Finance Districts; and aggressive competition for State and Federal
affordable housing and sustainable communities funds.
The housing efforts outlined in the report are part of a two-fold strategy to tackle
Oakland’s affordability crisis by addressing both housing and jobs in Oakland – which
currently has the fastest growing gap in the nation between rising housing costs and
The Housing Cabinet was convened by Mayor Schaaf in the in the summer of 2015, with
the maximum participation allowed under the Brown Act from four of the eight Oakland
City Council members. Using the equity framework outlined by the Housing Equity
Roadmap, the Housing Cabinet began exploring concrete and feasible solutions to address the current housing challenges in Oakland.
Nine subgroups were created focused on: impact fees and developer options; public land
use; design and process oriented efficiencies; financial resources; renter protection and
services; foreclosure prevention; acquisition and rehabbing naturally occurring affordable
housing; determination of the number of homes to protect and create; and artist
workspaces and housing. Many of the working group volunteers will be active
participants as the City of Oakland works to implement these recommendations.
On March 12, 2016 from 1pm to 3pm the City of Oakland will hold a Housing Workshop
for residents at 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.
Erica Terry Derryck