Mayor’s Budget Proposals Make Big Investments in Anti-Homelessness and Displacement Efforts
BERKELEY, CALIF. – In response to the Bay Area’s housing crisis, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín is proposing big investments for both housing and homeless alleviation efforts over the next two years, including $1 million spent to fight displacement through eviction defense and emergency rental assistance, the largest amount Berkeley has ever spent on anti-displacement programs. The proposal is part of the biannual fiscal year 2018/19 budget.
Following up on his campaign promise, Mayor Arreguín is also pledging a $250,000 commitment toward the Pathways Project, which includes a navigation center for the homeless, modeled on a similar center in San Francisco which has shown promising results. People staying at the center would be able to come and go at will, bring personal belongings and partners, and use the common areas during the day instead of being pushed out onto the streets.
The Berkeley City Council is set to vote on the proposals on Tuesday, June 27.
“Our budget is a reflection of our values and priorities,” said Mayor Arreguín. “Since I took office last December, I have made addressing our city’s homeless and affordable housing crisis a top priority, reflecting the concerns I heard from thousands of residents. My budget recommendations will help make Berkeley a more equitable and sustainable city.”
In addition, Arreguín is pledging $100,000 for a new Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool in order to provide fast re-housing resources for the homeless. As the name suggests, the fund allows the city the ability to tap resources quickly instead of waiting for federal housing resources, which can take months.
Finally, the proposed budget includes increasing Berkeley’s reserve or “rainy day” fund from 8 percent to nearly 14 percent, considered prudent fiscal policy and something that will benefit the city during times of economic uncertainty. The new budget also increases funding for pedestrian safety using Measure T funds, allocates $140,000 more for the Civic Arts Program and up to $200,000 for legal and mental health support for people impacted by new immigration policies.
More information about Mayor Arreguín’s budget proposals, including a detailed breakdown of spending, can be seen at www.jessearreguin.com/budgetrecs.