No matter who you are or where you come from, success in life starts at home. When we all have safe and secure places to live, parents earn more, kids learn better, health and well-being improve, our communities are strengthened, and our region has the building blocks to thrive. But right now, wealthy and powerful real estate developers and corporate landlords control the housing market in California and pour millions into each election to swing votes in their favor. They use predatory strategies to drive up their profits when ordinary working Californians can’t even afford our rent or our mortgages. This especially affects people of color, working families, seniors, and people with disabilities.
To address this, we need community-based development of affordable housing, among other things. But here’s another barrier: little known provision in the California Constitution requires any public body, including the City of Oakland, to get voter approval before it can fund housing for low-income residents. The City cannot even begin to consider funding sources, possible sites, or possible timelines without this authorization. After and if this authorization is approved, the City can begin to look into a wide variety of funding sources, possible existing or new sites, and can begin to allocate internal resources to this effort. Funding could come from a wide variety of sources, including federal or state grants, or through a local infrastructure bond.
Measure Q will authorize the City of Oakland to develop, construct, or acquire 13,000 low-rent residential units in social housing projects for low-income affordable housing. We need to join together to take this first step to creating social housing, an important tool for addressing our housing crisis. Vote yes on Measure Q.