Report: Schaaf’s Administration Builds Market-Rate Housing, Nothing for Low-Income Residents



Almost all the housing that is being built in Oakland is at high-end market rates, and nothing is under construction for those who are moderate-, low-income or extremely low income, according to a report the city annually submits to the state.

The report, called the Housing Element Annual Progress Report, summarizes actual building permits issued by the city.

Under Housing Element, the city’s goal is that 47 percent of the units built should be affordable to very low-, low- and moderate-income, including 28 percent for poorest families that are classified as very low- and low-income.

However, the city issued building permits for 771 units in 2015 and over 2,000 units in 2016, according to the report. Of these, 2,700 were unrestricted market-rate units. Only 168 units were classified as affordable, which is not a rate that most Oakland renters can afford.

No building permits were issued in 2015 or 2016 to build moderate-income housing.

Speaking at this week’s Community and Economic Development (CED) committee, Jeff Levin of East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO) pointed out these statistics to council members, who did not respond.

The numbers indicate that Oakland is in the midst of a market-rate building boom, said Levin. “This is a record breaking number, far higher than anything we saw in Jerry Brown’s  (administration),” when he proposed a “10K” program to bring new affluent residents to Oakland, he said.

Actual production of housing “has us at just 6 percent of total production being affordable and 4.3 percent for very-low and low-income,” he said.  “We are exceeding our goal for market rate (housing) and drastically falling behind on everything else.”

Levin said city staff told EBHO that in the first three months 2017, the city has already issued 1,000 building permits. “Not one of them was affordable,” he said.

“It is highly unlikely that this increase in the supply of high end housing will make even a dent in affordability for existing renters or cause existing apartments to become cheaper,” he said.

Pointing out that the council has repeatedly ignored the advice of the community, Brian Geiser told council members that building market-rate housing does not lead to more housing for those who are low income.

“This housing is being built for the wealthy,” he said. “That’s what we knew would happen. Once they have met their needs, it will stop.”


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