Op Ed: Judy Hunt, Older Adult Advocate, Runs Re-Election to Rent Board

Housing is a critical issue across the Bay Area.It is an issue that impacts almost every city.


According to the Older Adults in Alameda County, the April 2016 report from the Alameda County Public Health Department, between 1980 and 2015 older adults ages 65+ grew by 48 percent. 


Support systems for older adults remain flat or have been cut. Older females are 56 percent of the elder population and males are 44 percent.


Over 20,000 elders live in poverty, struggling to make ends meet, given the high costs of living in the Bay Area.


A lifelong advocate for equity and public policies that respect ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, Judy Hunt is a consistent advocate for older adults, both tenants and property owners in Berkeley.


A Bay Area native, she is running for re-election as commissioner with the Rent Stabilization Board in Berkeley. She won her first race in 2012.


She brings the unique perspective as a health professional with executive management experience in national and international organizations.


She is a small property owner in West Berkeley, and she often raises issues at commission meetings that impact older adults living in Berkeley.


The Elder Economic Security Index, developed by UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, measures the minimum income older adults need to cover their basic living expenses.


Older adult renters need $27,500 to cover housing, health care, transportation and other basic living expenses.


Older adults with a mortgage need $38,390 to cover their basic living expenses in addition to 30% or more of their income to cover property maintenance costs.


In 2013, the median social security payment for a single elder was $10,100 and the maximum SSI payment was $10,397.


Commissioner Hunt addresses older adult issues by sharing concerns of elders in West and South Berkeley, areas that are rapidly changing with new residents from San Francisco, Silicon Valley and distant investors.


Many Berkeley elders are primarily women, who are widowed, divorced or never married. 70 percent live in owner occupied housing units and 30 percent live in renter occupied units.


Rental property owners saw their investments as supplementary income, as they did not have the jobs that provided secure retirement incomes.


Elderly property owners sacrificed to buy and maintain their properties, only to now fall prey to predatory schemes to transfer ownership, re-finance or do property repairs.


On Nov. 8, vote for Judy J. Hunt, the Berkeley Rent Board voice and vote for elders and their dignity.

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