A view of Oakland, where Adam Garcia and Greenbelt Alliance are using the Bay Area Greenprint to empower local communities
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Joel Devalcourt

Oakland Approves New Funding Source for Affordable Homes

Last night, the Oakland City Council officially adopted a housing impact fee—now the city’s largest source of funding for affordable homes since the loss of redevelopment agencies. The new funding will generate an estimated $60 million over the next 10 years for the construction and preservation of affordable homes.

Why Is This Important?

Housing impact fees help address the housing crisis and create a more sustainable, affordable region.

With the dissolution of redevelopment agencies and severe cuts to local, state, and federal funding sources for affordable homes, housing impact fees are one of our best tools to create new affordable places to live. Nearly 30 Bay Area cities already have a housing impact fee, producing millions of dollars for the creation of affordable homes each year. Among the cities that have recently adopted or updated housing impact fees are Redwood City, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View. Many more cities are planning to adopt these fees in the coming months.

We’ve been encouraging the City of Oakland to adopt a housing impact fee for many years. Yesterday’s decision marks a major milestone in our work to advance sustainable, equitable development in Oakland and it builds upon our past successes at shaping smart neighborhood-scale plans and securing approval of smart development projects.

It also comes at a critical moment in Oakland’s transformation. With rents rapidly escalating and the city poised for much needed investments, it’s essential that we redouble our commitment to make sure everyone in Oakland—and throughout the Bay Area—can live in a neighborhood they’re proud to call home.

We extend our thanks to the many organizations and stakeholders that played a role in securing the housing impact fee including East Bay Housing Organizations, TransForm, Public Advocates, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, and hundreds of Oakland residents. And thank you to the Oakland City Council for supporting this essential tool for affordable homes.

Now What?

While it’s a huge step forward, this one tool won’t be enough to solve our housing affordability woes by a long shot. We now turn our attention to building support for a proposed Alameda County housing bond and ensuring that the City of Oakland accelerates development of affordable homes by prioritizing building them on its underutilized public lands.

To get involved, please contact East Bay Regional Representative Joel Devalcourt.

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Photo: Daniel Parks via Flickr

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