OAKLAND (KRON) — A 90-day moratorium on rent hikes has been approved by the Oakland City Council.
Those three months will be used trying to find ways to address the soaring cost of housing, which city leaders say is a growing crisis.
New housing is being developed, and one Oakland city councilmember shows KRON where it is and why low-income residents won’t be able to live there.
“You look at that property right there, Brooklyn Basin, 3,400-units,” Oakland city councilmember Noel Gallo said. “3,100 of those units are going to be market rate. So, you’re going to have to make $100,000 to $120,000 to be able to live there.”
That is a bit out of the price range for the income of the average Oakland resident, Gallo said.
He gave KRON a tour of current and new housing developments that he said are not going to address Oakland’s housing affordability crisis.
“They call it Jingle Town, but it’s really the Kennedy Track Area,” Gallo said. “You see what they call the Phoenix Commons, that’s the senior housing that just got built right on the water, brand new. It hasn’t opened yet. Beautiful development. These here are all condominiums. Affordable? I don’t think so.”
This tour went on for quite awhile. In fact, he said in his district alone, there are over 6,000 new units being developed.
But the rents will be high.
He said some of the existing residents living here are feeling the pinch from the new housing options going up all around them.
“I’ve gotten some complaint from some of the artists that have moved in here,” Gallo said. “They’re concerned because they’re being displaced because they are raising the rents.”
However over the next 90 days, there will be a freeze on rent hikes thanks to Gallo and his city council colleagues approving a temporary moratorium, giving city leaders a chance to try to find a solution.
“We do have a housing crisis,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said.
Schaaf explained the 90-day plan to KRON.
“We’ve got to do two things. We have got to protect the people who live here now and make sure that they are not displaced from Oakland,” she said. “Secondly, we have got to build more housing in this city.”
And that additional housing must be attainable for long-time Oakland residents, Gallo said.
SAN MATEO RENT FREEZE?
On the Peninsula, San Mateo earlier this week opted not to put a rent freeze in place. However, that doesn’t mean the issue is dead. It could be put to a vote.
A coalition is now working to gather enough signatures to place a rent control measure on the November ballot.
It would cap rent increases, prevent tenants from being evicted without just cause, and create an annual rental housing fee.
The group has just a few months to gather the signatures it needs to qualify for the November ballot.