Today I announced some promising news regarding Oakland's housing goals. The City is on track to exceed its goal of protecting 17,000 households from displacement and building 17,000 new homes by 2024, according to a new report by Enterprise Community Partners and the City of Oakland.
In the three years since the Housing Cabinet released the initial Oakland at Home report and 17k/17k Plan, over 90% of the housing cabinet's recommended actions are either complete or underway. Nearly 13,000 Oaklanders are enjoying new tenant protections and services and the city has produced more than 10,000 new homes.
I am proud of the progress we have made since the Housing Cabinet released its 17k/17k Plan. Oakland's experience demonstrates that our focused efforts to protect low-income tenants and produce more housing is working; but we have to remain focused and do more.
In 2015, I convened the Oakland Housing Cabinet to identify and prioritize an action plan for addressing the housing affordability crisis and improving housing security for all Oaklanders. The Cabinet consisted of City Councilmembers, housing experts and community stakeholders. The following year, the Cabinet released the report, Oakland at Home, and formally announced the "17k/17k" plan.
Indicators of housing security suggest that Oakland's protect & produce strategies are working:
- Oakland rents appear to be stabilizing. Citywide rents increased only 1% in 2018 - compared to a 22% increase in 2015 (the baseline year prior to launching the 17k/17k Plan).
- Oakland evictions are declining. This past year, eviction notices filed with the City of Oakland and Unlawful Detainer Actions filed in the courts were 30-33% fewer since our baseline year of 2015.
- The percentage of rent-burdened Oaklanders is declining; with the biggest decreases for Latino renters. Racial disparities still exist, but are improving slightly. Compared with our baseline year 2015, the percent of Oaklanders who spent more than 30% of their income on rent in 2017 decreased from 52% to 49%, and from 59% to 47% for Latino renters.
The Housing Cabinet identified an ambitious set of strategies to increase funding for affordable housing. Although nearly all of those strategies have been implemented, those actions haven't produced sufficient new protected affordable units to meet Oakland's needs.
We are producing more affordable housing, but not nearly enough. During the three years since Oakland launched the 17k/17k Plan, it has produced 34% more protected affordable housing units compared with the previous three-year period. However, this is still slightly less than half of Oakland's need over the past three years for additional protected affordable units.
The City Council has taken a number of actions to support tenant protections and housing production, including:
- Successfully placing and passing on the ballot updates to the City's Just Cause for Eviction ordinance (Measures JJ and Y).
- Successfully placing and passing on the ballot an infrastructure bond that included $100 million for affordable housing (Measure KK).
- Updating the Tenant Protection Ordinance.
- Passing an ordinance to provide preference for existing and displaced Oakland residents and workers in the City's affordable housing programs.
- Adopting new regulations to protect existing Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels.
- Establishing a new program to improve the seismic safety in vulnerable "soft-story" buildings.
- Increasing spending on anti-displacement services.
- Passing a new affordable housing impact fee.
- Easing regulations to encourage more Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).
- Updating the City's off-street parking requirements to facilitate new development.
Going forward, the housing cabinet is back at work with a renewed focus on developing:
- strategies to increase funding for affordable housing production.
- strategies to reduce racial disparities in housing affordability and displacement.
The City will continue to work with regional, state and federal government agencies, along with philanthropy and the private sector, to increase funding for affordable housing. In that spirit, I've been an active participant in CASA - The Committee to House the Bay Area, a diverse, multi-sector set of partners from across the Bay Area working to identify and act upon game-changing regional solutions to the Bay Area's chronic housing affordability challenges.
The success of the Oakland Housing Cabinet's recommendations serves as an indication of the potential regional benefits of the CASA Compact - what is working in Oakland can be expanded to the rest of the Bay Area.
The CASA Compact includes strategies for increasing regional funding for affordable housing. Oakland has made substantial local commitments to affordable housing, but can't do it alone. Additional funding from the region would better enable the City to fully meet its affordability goals.
Read the housing cabinet's full 3-year update report here.
Lastly, our city is committed to improving housing security for all Oaklanders and indeed all who choose to call the Bay Area home.
Libby Schaaf, Mayor