Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 25, 2013

Don’t lean on me man, cause you can’t afford the housing

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, City Council, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting there was an agenda item to commit pooled unused affordable housing funds to the second phase of Shinsei Gardens.  Shinsei Gardens is an affordable housing development on the West End.   To make a long story short the City Council voted to go ahead and have those funds committed.   There was some discussion during the public comment about making units available to combat veterans, but as was later clarified by the Housing Authority director that both veterans and Alameda residents get first preferences on the waiting lists.   Not only that but Shinsei Gardens eventually will be turned over to Operation Dignity which is a non profit organization that specifically aids homeless veterans and their families.

But what I wanted to highlight was this comment from a speaker about the importance of affordable housing in Alameda.   I found it to be probably one of the most powerful testaments to all the good that affordable housing can do for families, here’s the video, but I’ve transcribed it below:

I’m a proud lifetime resident of Alameda.  I worked my first job at Harbor Bay Athletic Club.  I graduated from St. Joseph Notre Dame, attended College of Alameda before I transferred to UC Davis.   I also grew up here in the City of Alameda in affordable housing.  I spent the first eight years of my life living at the former BVs now known as Summer House apartments and I spent the remaining years of my childhood and my teenage years living in Alameda rental housing with a Section 8 voucher.

Today I’m raising my family here, I have two beautiful children and I’m an Alameda homeowner.

Having a stable home meant that my brother and I had a safe place to go every evening, where we could do our homework every night.  Children can’t do well in school if they don’t have a stable, safe home.   Having a stable home meant that my mom could juggle raising two children on her own, working two jobs.  It’s hard to — not only — secure a stable job and maintain that stable job unless you have a stable home.

Alameda needs more high quality affordable homes for the barista who serves you coffee every morning at Peet’s and Starbucks, for the teachers that help to shape our children, for the gardener who maintains your yard, for the checker who bags your groceries at the grocery store, and the nanny that you trust with your precious young baby so that you can go to work every day.

People who work in Alameda shouldn’t have to commute from neighboring cities.  People who work in Alameda deserve to live in Alameda.  It’s good for their quality of life, it’s good for the social fabric of our diverse community and it’s good for Alameda businesses and it’s good for the environment.

While lots of people want to focus on creating jobs for the people who already live here, you rarely hear about making housing available for the people who already work here in more humble occupations.



  1. Well said!

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — July 25, 2013 @ 6:36 am

  2. Keep the Bowie allusions coming! Ziggy!

    Comment by John Russo — July 25, 2013 @ 7:45 am

  3. 2. They got a message from the Action Man, “I’m happy, hope you’re happy too. I’ve loved all I’ve needed to love.” Sordid details following.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — July 25, 2013 @ 9:51 am

  4. 4. What an eloquent story.(Her employer is lucky to have someone so articulate.) This WASP, who grew up in diverse Redwood City, deeply appreciates the economic. social, ethnic, and cultural diversity that makes Alameda so rich. And we can make it even better.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — July 25, 2013 @ 10:07 am

  5. What a great story, and a great testatment for the benefits of affordable housing!

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 25, 2013 @ 10:23 am

  6. “the former BVs now known as Summer House apartments” – Just curious, what are BVs? I haven’t heard that term, and Google is of no help. (Trust me, you don’t want to see what the top results are when you Google “BV”)

    Comment by trow125 — July 25, 2013 @ 10:35 am

  7. Buena Vista Apartments, Reginald James has a good resource here on what happened with the complex. Some additional background in the comments section here.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 25, 2013 @ 10:45 am

  8. This is one of the reasons I read this blog faithfully–I see stuff here I don’t see anywhere else. What a good read. Thanks, Lauren!

    Comment by Catherine — July 25, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

  9. 3. Very cool reference. Thanks.

    And thanks to Lauren for this excellent post.

    Comment by John Russo — July 26, 2013 @ 8:05 am

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