Today, the entire Bay Area is in the midst of an affordability crisis that threatens the diversity and character of our communities. Berkeley has not been spared. At a time when disparities in housing, health, and income are expanding at an alarming rate, Mayor Arreguin is working to broaden opportunity, and to make this city more affordable and accessible for all.
The city's 2018-2019 budget makes our largest ever investment in anti-displacement measures, including for eviction defense and emergency rental assistance, to help people from being evicted.
But we can't stop there to truly create long-term affordability in Berkeley. In pursuit of that ideal, the Mayor recently announced a goal of constructing 600 units of permanently affordable housing by the year 2022.
Early in his term as mayor, the Mayor convened the Housing Task Force to develop a short-term Housing Action Plan, which was adopted by City Council and focuses on creating new housing, implementing anti-displacement measures, increasing funding for affordable housing, and streamlining the permit process.
Mayor Arreguin also proposed the new Small Sites Program, approved by the City Council in February 2017, which will allow existing tenants and nonprofit developers to acquire apartment buildings to establish permanently affordable housing.
We're actively working to build more housing for all income levels along major transit corridors. The Mayor supports a plan to increase fees developers pay in exchange for the privilege of building market-rate housing in our city, to build more below market rate housing.
The city is also working with Berkeley Unified School District to create employee housing for teachers and classified staff in order to improve affordability for middle-income earners.