Alameda County supervisors place $580 million affordable housing measure on ballot

FILE PHOTO - This Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, photo shows a sign advertising a house for rent in Los Angeles. More than one-in-four renters must devote at least half of their family income to housing and utilities, according to a new analysis of Census data by Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that helps finance affordable housing. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

ALAMEDA COUNTY (BCN) — The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to place an affordable housing bond measure on the ballot in November.

“The Affordable Housing Bond will provide $580 million in investment in affordable homes for low-income renters, down payment assistance for first time home buyers and an innovation fund to seek new solutions,” Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan said in a statement.

Board members said the bond measure’s language and priorities were developed through a multi-step stakeholder process.

Supervisors said the measure will create and protect affordable housing options for the people who need it most, including seniors and the disabled, veterans, low-income families and the homeless.

If the county’s voters approve the measure in the Nov. 8 election, $120 million of the $580 million that will be raised will pay for homeowner programs such as down payment assistance loans and $460 million will go toward rental housing programs.

Supervisors said among the reasons that the bond measure is needed is that rents in Alameda County have risen 34 percent since 2011, median home prices have nearly doubled since 2010 and a two- bedroom apartment rents for an average of $2,200 a month.

Board members said there are more than 8,000 homeless people in Alameda County on an annual basis and it is increasingly difficult to find an affordable place to live in the county.

They said seniors, veterans and disabled individuals are among the hardest hit, as are working families and youths who leave foster care.

Supervisors said working families also are impacted because many families spend half of their income on housing.

Board members said it’s estimated that the county has 60,000 fewer homes than are needed for low-income families who need help now.

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