Alameda County is struggling with homelessness, gentrification, and community displacement. It is estimated that the county has a shortfall of 60,000 affordable housing units for local residents and this is impacting all levels of county systems and residents. Alameda County, along with a collective of stakeholders including East Bay Housing Organizations and others, have come up with a strategic plan to address this shortfall. A $580 million Bond Measure the will be on the November ballot: Measure A1.
Already a contentious election cycle, this ballot will require a 2/3 voter approval in order to pass. The initiative adds an annual $12 per $100,000 valuation on all homes in Alameda County to be added to property taxes. It is estimated this will raise an estimated $580 million at current market value–an amount that will only increase as median home values continue to skyrocket.
What will this .012% increase in county property taxes target? According to the local CBS Affiliates $120 million will go toward home ownership programs such as efforts to keep lower-income owners in their homes as well as downpayment assistance for first-time buyers.The remaining $460 million will target programs to assist low-income renters. Also included will be a provision that all rental communities set aside at least 20% of units for “extremely low income” individuals and families, that is individuals and families at or below 20% Area Median Income levels.
Here are some of the reasons, according to a story published in The Pleasanton Weekly, cited by County Supervisors and Advocates as to why this ballot measure is so essential to Alameda County:
- Rents in Alameda County have risen 34% since 2011
- Median home prices have nearly doubled since 2010.
- A two-bedroom apartment rents for an average of $2,200.
- On an annual basis, there are over 8,000 homeless people in Alameda County. It is increasingly difficult to find an affordable place to live in our county.
- Seniors, veterans and disabled individuals are hardest hit. So, too, are working families and youths exiting foster care.
- Even working families are impacted, with many families spending half of their income on housing. Many funding options from state and federal government are no longer available.
The Alameda County Housing Bond initiative is a comprehensive plan to help out people and communities left behind in the tech and housing boom. BOSS is glad to be a supporter of the bond as well as a member of EBHO.
Here is more information from EBHO if you are interested in advocating for this initiative and getting out the vote this November!