Great Ideas on Improving Berkeley Housing Situation from Participants at the Teach-In

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Development attendees like

  • 6 stories
  • Infill, Affordable housing that blends with neighborhoods architecturally
  • In lieu versus inclusionary: some say no in-lieu of units in new developments, one asks for atleast 30% low and middle income units in new development; one likes integrating low and moderate income housing; one recommends city consider a range of income levels cumulatively equivalent to 50% of AMI
  • Preserve and protect historic buildings in downtown
  • Limited equity housing, coops; coops of large buildings, not just homes; community land trusts

Ways to raise money to build affordable housing

  • Tax on excess rents, windfall profits
  • City funds
  • Tax/limit short term rentals
  • Fines/fees for university for student impact
  • fines/fees for megacorps for regional impact
  • Tax landlords for public use, use for the homeless
  • Sue state for redevelopment money to recover portion of taxes
  • Seek grants for disabled housing near Ed Roberts
  • 5% transfer tax
  • Tax for pied-a-terre, 2ndary homes
  • Huge foreign purchase tax
  • Google bus tax

Recommendations for help for low income tenants

  • Set aside revenue streams for affordable housing
  • Increased subsidies for low income tenants, local Section 8 program
  • Matching savings plans for housing ownership, Loans to tenants to buy buildings–acquisition program, city office to centralize subidy/loan info; Local Stake system that gives local residents including homeless housing benefits for long residence/participation in the community
  • Increase awareness of issues for renters/voters, and 1:1 with council members to fully understand 360 degree perspective on housing issues instead of profits /bottom line
  • Build youth hostels
  • Build fellowship housing for staff of non-profits, arts, education
  • Tax relief for landlords with long term tenants in rent controlled units
  • Tiny house/Camping area for temp housing of homeless

Legislation needed to protect/ increase affordable housing

  • Pass highest rate for inclusionary housing and highest in-lieu fee
  • See if rent control can be extended to buildings built since 1982
    Require payment of in-lieu fees during permitting process, rather than when the occupancy permit is issued
  • Revoke Ellis act
  • Eliminate Costa-Hawkins, create stronger rent control, end vacancy decontrol. penalize landlords for housing discrimination (preferring students with their rapid turnover), by resetting rent back to original level)
  • Pass robust demolition ordinance, No demolitions of existing rent controlled housing. One for One replacement of demolished rent controlled units
  • Tax on foreign buyers to reduce housing speculation
  • Vacancy Penalty (fee for vacant properties to cover costs incurred by city for policing, clean up, degradation of community)
  • Make housing a civil right, so people can sue if they are homeless
  • Rent control for local businesses in return for minimum wage
  • Pressure university to reduce dorm fees so they are preferred to private housing
  • Prevent Plan Bay Area/ABAG from removing anti-displacement language. Raise awareness of this threat
  • End racist housing policies

Outreach needed

  • Elect New Council and new commission members who are champions of affordable housing
  • Disrupt developer “Welcome to our project” meetings.
  • End racist housing policies

Other recommendations

  • Encourage collective eating halls to enable kitchen free housing, or subscription service to local residents
  • Better transit: Provide shuttles to reduce need for parking; improve public transit to dilute gentrified areas; Provide car-share in any building with limited parking
  • Buy city-owned properties in North Berkeley to increase density in luxury area
  • Moratorium on other buildings
  • lower “rent taking” on items of mass use to free income for housing, such as public phone, internet, water, electricity, gasd, cable tv, mail, bulk food
  • Encourage shared office workspaces to favor housing over office space; encourage mixed housing in commercial buildings
  • @BTU: clarify who is “good for housing” so people will stop falling for fake housing promises from developers and Silicon Valley libertarians. The current council is bamboozling tenants by promising market drive housing
  • Stop letting regional interests dictate housing policy
  • Build affordable housing that blends with neighborhoods
  • Focus on local employment, get high paying employers to look for local talent

One thought on “Great Ideas on Improving Berkeley Housing Situation from Participants at the Teach-In

  1. Thomas Lord

    Instead of using regressive taxes to help finance acquisition of social housing, why not just rent parts of the social housing at market rates?

    Reply

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