Toward an Affordable Housing Strategy for the Tri-Valley

The Tri-Valley Anti-Poverty Collaborative held a virtual event on October 8th to discuss the importance of affordable housing and solutions specific to the Tri-Valley.  Speakers included John Sensiba of Sensiba San Filippo and Jeff Levin of East Bay Housing Organizations, as well as community members who have struggled with the lack of affordable housing.  The event was co-sponsored by Wells Fargo, Kaiser Permanente, Innovation Tri-Valley, and Genesis of the Tri-Valley.  Audio/Video services were provided by VIP.

The TVAPC Housing Committee updated its list of strategies to promote affordable housing and help the unsheltered for this event.

Strategies for Increasing Affordable Housing and Sheltering Residents

As the Housing Committee of the Tri-Valley Anti-Poverty Collaborative (TVAPC), we urge Tri-Valley city governments to adopt these methods of increasing affordable housing options and assisting the unsheltered.

INCREASING PRODUCTION OF AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS AND ADUs:

1. Adopt local ordinances encouraging construction of affordable apartment buildings and Accessory Dwelling Units/Junior Accessory Dwelling Units: change restrictive zoning; waive/reduce city and local agency fees (lock in at time of project approval); reduce parking requirements; streamline approval process.

2. Annually identify and set aside three properties owned by the city/public agencies that are large enough for 50 or more rental units in different neighborhoods, and notify local non-profit affordable housing developers about opportunities to develop them. Provide the land at little or no cost.

3. Assist with operating/maintenance costs of affordable apartments, or subsidize rents.

4. Use Measure A funds to leverage production of new affordable housing stock and repurpose underused facilities such as motels, office buildings and church properties. Offer low-interest financing for upgrades in exchange for permanently affordable units.

5. Review market-rate developers’ affordable-housing (“in-lieu”) fees bi-annually to ensure that they are in line with the actual cost of producing this housing. Provide low-interest pre-development and construction loans for affordable housing projects.

6. Increase options for renters of existing homes. Adopt an ordinance to prevent rent-spiking; limit increases to 10%.

HELPING THE UNSHELTERED

1. Employ social workers and medical personnel to visit individuals experiencing homelessness where they congregate to provide Covid-19 testing and referrals to health services or temporary shelter for quarantines during the pandemic — and beyond.

 2.  Develop one or more day centers in your city with centralized services such as safe places to warm-up/chill-out, bathrooms, showers, hot meals, storage lockers, mailboxes, phones and washing machines.

 3. Create a “Commons Concept”: Set aside land to provide temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness–a site that could be heavily regulated for safety and public health concerns (such as trash disposal).

 4.  Increase the number of public bathrooms in your city and hours of access to them.

 5. Institute a safe parking program for people who are currently sleeping in their cars.

 6. Identify existing structures within your city that can be repurposed to use as temporary and/or transitional housing.