caption: The Interfaith Affordable Housing Luncheon hosted by ‘Millennial’ Pastor Kenneth Anderson on June 15, was attended by over 150 pastors, developers, government officials and individuals interested in affordable housing in Oakland. Celebrating the Warriors started after the forum! Photo by Sue Taylor.
Underscoring the importance and the dire emergency of finding affordable housing while 1.5 million people gathered in Oakland to celebrate the Warriors, over 150 people kept their reservations and attended the Interfaith Affordable Housing Luncheon panel discussion and networking on development held at Williams Chapel Baptist Church, the brainchild of the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Anderson.
“We’re here to achieve the desired goal of faith-based leaders to partner with developers, attorneys, and architects to provide more affordable housing in Oakland,” said Dr. Anderson, Oakland’s “Millennial” pastor in his opening remarks.
Dr. Anderson, who leads Williams Chapel Baptist, is well under way on a development project on church land – 88 units of senior affordable housing, with parking, ground level retail and a medical clinic – currently the only senior affordable development in Oakland.
But he also wants to bring together other faith-based organizations to do the same and to share the necessary expertise.
Panel presentations included: “Financial Resources: What May Our Community Contribute?” by Michelle Myles-Chambers, of the SF Foundation, Oakland Housing Director Michele Byrd, and Linda Gardner, Director of Alameda County Community Development Agency were the presenters. These officials are key to accessing necessary funding for affordable housing projects.
In another panel, “Where the Rubber Meets the Road: The Developers,” developers with proven track records in affordable housing development made presentations.
Dr. Anderson unequivocally endorsed the panel for Oakland, which is experiencing a frenzy of development right now given the high cost of housing.
“These developers put people over profits,” he said,
Gloria Bruce, executive director of the East Bay Housing Organization (EBHO) moderated the panel, which included Don Stump, president and CEO of Christian Church Homes with 12 properties in Oakland; Ancel Romero, president of Beacon Communities, Inc., and the developer for the Williams Chapel Project; and, Joshua Simon, executive director of the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC).
The event emphasized that faith-based organizations own plenty of property in the SF Bay Area, but affordable housing development takes expertise and time, and shared efforts make sense.
Attendees wanted to know when Measure KK and Measure A1 funds would be available.
“We are developing policy and procedure as fast as we can,” said Alameda County’s Linda Gardner.
Oakland’s Director of Housing Michele Byrd, when pushed by Post publisher Paul Cobb, said individuals and groups can “call me directly.”
“We will be giving classes for first-time homebuyers, and I’m willing to talk with ministers on this. Let’s call it a constructive form of ‘speed-dating’,” she said.
This article is part of a continuing series on Bay Area faith-based affordable housing development.