At Tuesday City Council meeting the topic of the North Housing parcel came up, apparently after a lot of back and forth with the Navy, the City wants to restate a legally binding agreement with the Alameda Point Collaborative and Building Futures with Women and Children for a “homeless accommodation” for the parcel. Remember, when the parcel was first surplused, there was a disposal process that had to be followed. The “homeless accommodation” in this case which will be run by APC and BFWC will be a 90 unit permanent supportive housing project, I wrote a whole post here on the different options that were considered. Just to note, the 90 units will only take up 13 acres of the surplused land, 42 acres was surplused.
Essentially this agenda was simply to restate the legally binding agreement, nothing surprising. Councilmember Beverly Johnson asked a good question about the City being on the hook for the environmental, Staff member Debbie Potter noted that if the City could not secure environmental insurance at a reasonable rate then there was no obligation for the City to take title.
On the other hand, Councilmember Doug deHaan asked this, almost rhetorical, question:
The question always has been, when we do get in to these kinds of agreements, of providing services back to financial, back to the City, this would not provide any financial stream coming back to the City for basic services, would it?
Just note I transcribed it exactly the way it was said, Debbie Potter answered:
This is a homeless accommodation.
And Doug deHaan then said:
So clarification to the people, and indeed this is an accommodation and therefore there would be no funding stream coming back for public services from it.
To which Debbie Potter answered:
The homeless accommodation is intended to be a 90 unit project that provides affordable housing, permanent affordable housing, to formerly homeless people.
Now, I don’t know if Debbie Potter simply didn’t understand what Doug deHaan was putting forward or if she was graciously ignoring it the implications, my guess is it was the latter because I got it right away, as did APC Executive Director Doug Biggs who responded during public comment:
Our role out here in working with the group that we do is to really build self-sufficiency and one way that we do that is through economic opportunities. That alone brings a lot of value to the City, both in decreasing the amount of emergency services needed and their ability to contribute to the economy.
Of course the practically rhetorical “question” of Doug deHaan’s was not about clarification, it was to drive home the fact that the residents of the project would not be paying property taxes (aka “no funding stream coming back for public services” and “not provide any financial stream coming back to the City for basic services”).
Who cares that the property right now doesn’t provide any financial stream for public and/or basic services for the City and hasn’t provided anything since it was surplused in 2007 and who knows how much longer before that. It’s important to clarify that this project — this “homeless accommodation” — won’t provide any financial stream for public and/or basic services.
And I suppose that even though sales taxes are a source of revenue for public and/or basic services, the fact that the residents of these projects, who will probably be more reliant on Alameda based businesses because of transportation issues, will be contributing to the sales tax base that doesn’t count either because they don’t pay property taxes.