HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

Berkeley is in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis.

For students, seniors, teachers, nurses, and too many others, the rapid rise in rents has made finding affordable housing next to impossible. We've added jobs faster than we've added homes, and the resulting shortage enables landlords to rent or sell to only the very highest bidders.

There’s no silver bullet to this problem - we have to ensure we're creating more homes for people at all incomes, to preserve our values of diversity, inclusiveness, and opportunity.

As we look to the future, we should seek out opportunities to complement and expand upon Berkeley's incredible and unique architectural diversity. New homes in our commercial areas can help re-energize neighborhoods and bring in exciting new restaurants, while homes close to transit ensure people can choose car-free sustainable lifestyles. Small backyard cottages give homeowners flexibility, and supporting strong affordable housing requirements throughout our community ensures everyone can benefit.

Ben’s Solutions

Berkeley needs a representative with tangible solutions to the housing crisis.

I'm honored to have the endorsements of housing leaders like Professor Karen Chapple, Founder of the UC Berkeley Urban Displacement Project. She supports me because my policies are based in the world-class research done at UC Berkeley on the best ways to improve affordability and prevent displacement

Policy goals: Supporting the creation of green and affordable housing for all, and protecting current tenants.

How we get there:

  • Incentivize home-builders to choose green design & sustainable materials and to include additional on-site affordable units.
  • Make it easier for homeowners and small landlords to create backyard cottages (accessory dwelling units, or ADUs).
  • Allow homeowners to subdivide their single-family homes into duplexes or triplexes, so seniors can downsize without relocating and families can stay together.
  • Re-legalize the construction of small, neighborhood-scale apartment buildings in our neighborhoods
  • Support new mid-size apartment buildings along major thoroughfares, especially on underutilized sites and close to transit.
  • Evaluate new sources of revenue for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, to ensure steady funding for affordable housing even in the event of an economic downturn.
  • Explore public and cooperative ownership models for affordable housing.

Why this works: Supporting a diversity of housing types throughout our community ensures more options to choose from and makes it harder for landlords and developers to price-gouge. New construction either provides on-site affordable units or pays fees to help the City build its own affordable units, and research shows that it also is the most effective tool for preventing displacement and protecting current tenants.

Got additional suggestions? Let me know here, or email me at ben@bengould.org!