It feels like we just had a City Council meeting, oh yeah, we did…
Tomorrow night there’s yet another meeting and then another one on Wednesday night too. Despite all these back to back meetings that go well into the wee hours of the night it doesn’t seem as though the City Council has the ability to actually complete a full agenda without bumping something to a future meeting.
There will be an agenda item specifically about the rising rents issue so if this is an issue that concerns you, plan to attend. This is the culmination of work by the stakeholder group, facilitate by Alamedan Jeff Cambra. One of the main items that there is not consensus on within the stakeholder group is whether or not a certain percentage raise will trigger a review from the Rent Review Advisory Committee. City Staff has created ordinances to cover both positions and, I guess, at this point it’s up to the deciders to decide.
Here’s the table that would shows the difference between the two:
There’s also a portion in the agenda item that discusses moving forward with the study on the impacts of rising rents on Alameda residents. Remember this is the section that Trish Spencer did not want to move forward on declaring that we don’t need to look backward but forward. Here is what staff is proposing:
If the Council is interested in a study to inform the City’s initiatives regarding mitigating the impacts of rising rents on Alameda residents, staff recommends retaining a consultant to assist with a report that would address three main points:
· Who is impacted-which specific demographic segments are most vulnerable to increasing rents over time;
· What are the market conditions and context of Alameda’s rising rents; and
· What can be done-what is the experience from other cities in response to the current housing market.
The following is an overview of this proposed scope of work.
Task 1: Project Initiation. City staff and the consultant team would meet for an in-person kick-off meeting and refine a schedule and process for executing the scope of work.
Task 2: Profile of Alameda’s rental housing population. Staff proposes a historical comparison of Alameda’s rental housing population to the City’s general population, starting in 1990 and using data in multi-year increments to the present. The analysis will show historical trends in Alameda’s rental population, rather than an isolated snapshot of the current population. In addition, the historical comparison will overlap with the last boom period of the real estate market during the height of the dot com era and may identify which demographic segments in the local rental population were most vulnerable during the last market cycle. The analysis will consider demographic segments such as:
· Very low- and low-income renters; and
The consultant team will summarize its findings in a technical memorandum.
Task 3: Profile of rental market conditions. Using publicly available and proprietary sources, the consultant will profile market conditions and recent trends in the residential market in Alameda and surrounding areas for comparison.
The consultant will summarize conditions and trends in structure type (e.g. duplex, apartment), number of rental units, and vacancy rates. As with Task 2, the consultant will examine trends from the early 1990s to the present. The consultant team will summarize its findings in a technical memorandum.
Task 4: Policy review and comparison. Staff and the consultant will evaluate the City’s current housing policies, programs, and codes and provide a comparison with the key policy and programs (i.e. best practices) in other Bay Area cities. This research may form the basis for recommendations of possible adjustments to current city policies, programs, and codes to facilitate other city initiatives. The consultant team will prepare a memorandum summarizing its key findings and recommendations for this policy review.
Task 5: Final report. The consultant will combine the written deliverables under the previous tasks into a report to be provided to the City and be available for presentations to the City Council and community members.
This process is really important to understand the scope of the problem specific to Alameda. After all we read a lot about the impacts on other cities and nationwide, and we read a lot of anecdotal tales, but it’s really important to understand the local issues and what can be done to help ease the pain for existing Alameda residents that are being pushed out.