Berkeley and entire Bay Area are facing a housing affordability crisis. In 2017, the City of Berkeley set aside $1 million investment specifically for anti-displacement protections, funding legal access for tenants facing eviction. These investments continued in 2019. Thanks to Measure O, approved by voters in November 2018, the city will be able to move ahead on a number of projects that will produce new housing, preserve existing affordable units and protect vulnerable residents.
One project that will break ground in 2020 is Berkeley Way, which will provide 89 affordable housing units in downtown Berkeley, 53 permanent supportive housing units for the homeless, and a new men’s and veterans’ shelter for 44 people. We are also working to construct 34 low-income units for seniors at 1601 Oxford Street in North Berkeley.
The city is rolling out the Small Sites Program that will work in partnership with nonprofits to purchase and rehab existing multi-unit properties for affordable housing. We also plan to complete a community based planning process for housing at North Berkeley and Ashby BART stations, with the goal of building hundreds of below market housing units right next to transit.
Another focus of the mayor’s office to make it easier to build new Accessory Dwelling Units so that seniors can age in place, and create below market housing for college students and others who don’t need a lot of space. Learn more about how the city is doing this.
Finally, the city is in ongoing talks with Berkeley Unified School District to create housing for teachers and classified staff so that they can afford to live in the community where they work.