“I have a dream that Alameda County will end homelessness.” – Ramiro Montoya
“Keep our families, our friends and our neighbors in the County”
Yesterday, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to place an affordable housing bond on the November ballot. The housing bond will fund affordable rental housing programs and first-time, second chance and self-help ownership programs to address the crisis of homelessness, displacement, and housing affordability. A packed house at the Board of Supervisors meeting demonstrated the breadth and depth of support for a bold and concrete campaign to meet the housing needs of the lowest income and most vulnerable members of our community.
Dozens of speakers testified to express their support for this $580 million affordable housing bond measure, of which $460 million will go towards affordable rental housing programs and $120 million for ownership programs. As the supportive and affordable housing programs in the county see growing waitlists, one speaker said that “we need to supply the affordable housing market” – especially for low-income families, at-risk seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities.
Residents of affordable homes in Alameda County shared their stories describing the positive impact of living in a safe, clean and habitable environment. “I know I would be living in the streets if I didn’t have affordable housing…I’m afraid I would have to move far away in another county. All of my resources are here,” said Ramiro Montoya, a long-time resident of Alameda County and a resident leader for East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO).
Gloria Bruce, EBHO Executive Director, applauded the inclusive and transparent process. She emphasized that while this bond program is responsive to many needs, the priority is to “help those with the greatest needs and the fewest choices.”
Everyone Home Executive Director Elaine De Coligny urged that the Board take a step further to require that 20% of the rental housing funds go to those at or below 20% of “area median income.” The Board accepted this amendment as a strategy to focus on housing the homeless. They also pledged to use flexible “boomerang” funding to augment the impact of the bond with support services and anti-displacement programs.
NPH member representatives testified from EAH, Eden Housing, Everyone Home, Christian Church Homes, Housing Consortium of the East Bay, Mercy Housing, MidPen Housing, and Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley, joining NPH and EBHO in strong support of the bond.
Supervisor Wilma Chan reflected on the process and the goals, “I want to thank all of you. People coming together, learning together… We are committed to ending homelessness and preserving the diversity in our county…”
Looking ahead, Amie Fishman, Executive Director of NPH said, “Let’s move this campaign forward. The Board of Supervisors has set a tone and model for what is possible. It is time to make a critical impact together.”
For more information and to get involved, email political director Sharon Cornu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocates line up to testify at Alameda County Board of Supervisors in favor of the affordable housing bond.