Housing

Oakland Council caps rent increases for many tenants

Oakland tenants of rent-controlled buildings will no longer see their rent raised above 3% annually. City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday, ensuring that annual rent increases will be capped at either 60% of the Regional Consumer Price Index or 3%, whichever is lower. The landmark measure, which was introduced last week, won on a 6-1 vote, with Noel Gallo voting no and Loren Taylor abstaining.  “Thousands of Oakland residents will rest a little easier knowing their housing is secure,” Councilmember…

Oakland council delays decision on 222-unit West Oakland development near BART

Citing environmental concerns, Oakland City Council on Tuesday again pushed back its decision on Golden West, an eight-story complex that would provide 222 housing units with ground floor retail and work space across from the West Oakland BART Station, at 1396 Fifth St.  The project has already been delayed for over a year. After the Planning Commission unanimously approved it in March 2021, it was brought before City Council in September when East Bay Residents for Responsible Development, a coalition…

Is Alameda County’s unhoused population growing?

By summer, Alameda County hopes to have an estimate of the number of residents who are sheltering on streets, in parks and encampments, under highways, and in cars, vans, and recreational vehicles.  The counting started on a cold Wednesday last month when volunteers embarked on EveryoneCounts! 2022, a point-in-time tally of homeless residents in the county. The count is followed by a two-week survey, where guides interview homeless residents to get a deeper understanding of the services they need. The…

Oakland renters get choice of internet providers under new law

Renters in Oakland’s apartment buildings now have more control over their choice of internet service provider, a choice that San Francisco renters have had since 2016 and one that the Federal Communications Commission is currently addressing.  The Internet Choice Ordinance was unanimously approved by the Oakland City Council in October and went into effect for tenants in January. It broadens ISP options for renters in buildings with four or more residences by prohibiting landlords from restricting tenants to a single…

Five years after Ghost Ship: How local organizations are fighting artist displacement

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Oakland’s industrial zone bustled with canneries, metal works and warehouses. As the global economy changed, industries moved out and artists moved in. The low-rent buildings, with their vaulted interiors, were suitable for live-work studios.  Over the years, landlords looked the other way as tenants nested in spaces that were never coded for housing. On Dec. 2, 2016, the deadliest fire in Oakland history broke out in the Ghost Ship, a former warehouse in Fruitvale…

Decision looms on plan to build more than 200 housing units in West Oakland

The neighborhood surrounding the West Oakland BART station could be described as a microcosm of the city’s growing housing inequality: Unhoused residents live in camps alongside new apartments and condos that cater primarily to transplants and commuters. The area is set to undergo even more changes in the next few years. As part of a larger West Oakland Specific Plan launched by the city in 2014, hundreds of market-rate units, stores and workspaces are expected, which would change West Oakland’s skyline permanently. …

RV dwellers can park on private property in residential areas under new ordinance

Oakland City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday that allows people to park and occupy recreational vehicles, mobile homes, and manufactured homes on private property in residential areas, if the property owner permits. The Construction Innovation And Expanded Housing Options ordinance was crafted to create more housing options for Oakland residents. It also updates zoning and blight restrictions, which previously made it illegal to reside in permanently parked RVs in residentially zoned districts.  “As part of the multifaceted effort to…

Caltrans bulldozes tiny home without required notice, advocates say

Volunteers with Artists Building Communities spent 10 days last month building a fire-proof, 4-foot-by-8-foot cobbed tiny home in the Wood Street encampment under Interstate 880. The next morning, neighboring residents watched as California Highway Patrol officers and California Department of Transportation workers bulldozed the home. Residents of the encampment and advocates from Artists Building Communities say the tiny home was demolished on Oct. 11 without the legally required 48-hour notice. Tariq Ahmad Bhat was looking forward to moving into the…

Union Point on the Rise soon to be Oakland’s first co-governed cabin community

Every Tuesday members of Union Point on the Rise, a community of 16 unhoused folks, gather on the patio of their current residence, the Travel Inn on MacArthur Boulevard. In a circle of mismatched chairs, they discuss the design, management, and regulations of their future home at Lakeview Village — the first co-governed housing encampment in Oakland. Spanning the block of 12th Street between First and Second avenues, Lakeview Village is a project to move 65 unhoused neighbors into temporary…