Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 9, 2015

Stuck in the middle income

Filed under: Alameda, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

In the comments section yesterday regarding the old Island High School site, someone mentioned that it would be better if Alameda concentrated on building housing for Middle Income families and individuals as opposed to Low and Very Low Income families and individuals.

Middle Income is one of those tricky terms like “Middle Class” which most people believe they belong to, but probably don’t. So I thought to myself: “self, what is considered ‘Middle Income’?”

Well according to this piece, “Middle Income” in San Francisco is defined as:

hose making between 80 percent and 120 percent of local area median income.

One resident making up to $81,550 per year or two people making $93,250 per year would qualify for apartments, based on 2014 data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This means that it is in the category of “Moderate” Income per Alameda’s standards, from the powerpoint detailing the potential rents for Site A at Alameda Point:

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 6.24.55 AM

Not only that, the below market rate for sale units are always made available for families making no more than 120% of AMI, which means that the last set of below market rate homes that became available at Alameda Landing was available for “Middle Income” residents to purchase.

While we can always do more, as another commenter suggested there is a huge housing gap in Alameda for families at all income levels, there really is no purpose in pitting one type of housing against the other, it’s all needed.

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28 Comments

  1. I am so sad and (why I don’t know it should be so) feel a shadow of shame to say my son, who has worked since he was 17; who is all heart and with a never-give-up attitude; the kindest of souls (I know I’m Mom and that’s an easy target for some); but my son, cannot make enough to qualify for even Very Low Income housing. It makes me weep for him and the so many like him – both young, youngish, and elderly.

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — June 9, 2015 @ 8:52 am

  2. Sounds to me that, quite possibly, the kid should try a different line of work or have him move in with you.

    Comment by jack — June 9, 2015 @ 9:44 am

  3. Gabriella, I fill for you son, but when I moved to the Bay Area, I had to have roommates for 15 years, even though I had a good job.

    Comment by Jake. — June 9, 2015 @ 9:57 am

  4. Careful, Jake. You went from one to four overnight.

    Comment by jack — June 9, 2015 @ 10:02 am

  5. I guess I’m pointing more to the economic process we’re witness to; the disappearance of “middle class” and careers/jobs that pay living wage if unable to afford expensive degrees. Even then…We’re all caught actually circling the drain, or watching as others begin the process. I’m looking at the idea that “low” and “very low” income isn’t what I may imagine it to be. Hi 2: he’s 29, I guess not a kid anymore. and Hi #3. He’s been living with roommates, but they come and go – no stability. We all want stability. He wants to marry, and have his own place. Nothing wrong with that. It’s the American Dream eh? I appreciate the thoughts all. Have a beautiful day.

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — June 9, 2015 @ 10:30 am

  6. Youth unemployment a ‘national tragedy’

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday called youth unemployment a “national tragedy.”

    It is beyond comprehension that we, as a nation, have not focused attention on the fact that millions of young people are unable to find work and begin their careers in a productive economy,” the senator, who’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said in a statement. “We cannot turn our backs on this national tragedy.”

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — June 9, 2015 @ 12:16 pm

  7. One of the best pieces of advice my dad ever gave me was : “If you don’t like your paycheck, that’s your fault.”

    Comment by dave — June 9, 2015 @ 1:18 pm

  8. That’s especially true if you have a dad, a mentor, a support group, an Alameda Point Collaborative you can talk to and learn from. Sadly, not everyone does.

    Comment by Li_ — June 9, 2015 @ 6:18 pm

  9. If we actually built the number of houses we needed then we wouldn’t need to federally subsidize moderate income housing. The amount of housing we build is so minute in comparison to the need that whatever housing becomes available remains accessible only to the very wealthy. While it’s great that we as a region have promoted the responsible use of open space, we have not balanced that desire with the real need for dense housing tied to workplaces and transit. These giant sprawling business parks in every bay area city should be revisited and have housing built on top of them so that folks live as close as possible to where.

    Unfortunately, no one is innovating housing in our area, or around the nation. It’s time to do something different because the status-quo is not working. Traffic grows, families of four end up living in one-bedroom units, and real estate sales go to those who make 100% cash offers. This has turned our region into a corporate meritocracy lacking economic stability, mobility and equality for most except the very wealthy. The American dream here is only for the most privileged, or those who spend their time working themselves thin.

    As the founder of the Alameda Renters Coalition. I’m seeing the most vulnerable families in our society suffering due to the lack of vision from our city governments and housing developers. It’s the elderly, disabled and single-parented families who are becoming displaced and therefore disconnected from their families and they have so few resources to react to these market forces. It is time to try something new and different to address these problems.

    Comment by Angela Hockabout — June 9, 2015 @ 6:52 pm

  10. Okay, Angela, it’s easy to define what you call a problem in your own terms, setting aside your obvious founding bias, what exactly would you do, if you were the emperor of good, would you decree?

    Comment by jack — June 9, 2015 @ 7:34 pm

  11. God forbid anyone should have a guiding principle that frames their point of view. My POV is that it’s immoral to continue building jobs in a region without also finding new ways to house workers at every income level. If you want to call that a bias, so be it. I think I made more than a few suggestions on how to approach that problem. Half of the problem is the bias of people who already have stable homes against those who do not. There’s a perception that people without stable housing somehow deserve that station in life. I’m sick of that myth and I’m tired of hearing from people that no development is the only answer. Yeah I’m biased. I’m biased for providing safe, clean, economically sustainable housing for everyone.

    Comment by Angela Hockabout — June 9, 2015 @ 8:10 pm

  12. 1) Redesign business parks to pair them with housing and amenities so that people don’t have to commute.
    2) Hold a development summit where tech interests, housing interests and government interests innovate on how to cope with our continual housing and traffic problems while promoting a green, transit-oriented agenda.
    3) Motivate tech companies with tax breaks to move companies into underemployed California cities, especially Central Valley college towns.
    4) At some point, people are going to get sick of the status quo and it will become easier for developers to reuse existing properties to build denser housing. Future generations are going to value staying in the cities where they were raised over quaint notions of suburbia. That may not happen in Alameda, but it’s already happening on the peninsula where some business parks are being redeveloped with dense housing. It’s only a matter of time before those developers start doing the same over here.

    Comment by Angela Hockabout — June 9, 2015 @ 8:29 pm

  13. #`12 Which business parks in which peninsula cities are being redeveloped with housing? This could be very informative.

    Comment by A Neighbor — June 9, 2015 @ 9:10 pm

  14. #13, I don’t know about business parks, but several years ago San Mateo converted the Bay Meadows racetrack to housing and some retail/medical (I think Kaiser). A certain number of units were set aside for personnel of the local school district, chosen by lottery. Would love to see that here– it’s a shame we have teachers commuting in from Vallejo, Crockett, & the like.

    Comment by Kristen — June 9, 2015 @ 9:26 pm

  15. 12)

    How much money is being used to subsidize housing by the Federal Government, State, Counties, and Cities in California ?

    How many families are they presently helping in California ?

    How many Families in California are in need of housing assistance in 2015 and not receiving?

    With Real inflation running about 12- 14% per year in the Bay Area the last 4 years how will that effect the challenge and solutions you are looking at ?

    http://www.chapwoodindex.com/

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — June 9, 2015 @ 10:51 pm

  16. 15)

    Why don’t you research that information yourself?

    What are you going to do with said information once you receive it?

    Are these simply rhetorical questions in order to further some argument you are trying to advance?

    Why don’t you just give your opinion like everyone else instead of masking them in questions that you will do nothing with the data that has been provided?

    https://laurendo.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/we-want-our-own-lane-for-cars/#comment-122476

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 10, 2015 @ 5:46 am

  17. But, here you go, if you’re really interested in learning about government housing subsidies and how federal housing spending is proportioned:

    Chart Book: Federal Housing Spending Is Poorly Matched to Need

    And

    New Housing Headwind Looms as Fewer Renters Can Afford to Own

    Given budget pressures, it may not be realistic to expect the government to spend more money on housing than it already does. Thus, the focus now should be on reallocating what already is committed, says Mr. Terwilliger, a Republican who this month formally will launch a foundation designed to start these conversations.

    His goal is legislation after the 2016 election that would realign housing policy with the shifting dynamics.

    The U.S. commits about $200 billion annually to housing, largely through tax breaks. Nearly three-quarters of that goes toward homeownership, and the biggest piece—almost $100 billion annually—is the mortgage-interest deduction.

    According to the Congressional Budget Office, the wealthiest 20% of households, those earning more than $160,000 annually, receive 75% of the total tax benefit. Many homeowners don’t directly benefit from the deduction because they don’t itemize their tax deductions.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 10, 2015 @ 6:17 am

  18. Advice on housing issues from a politician who also lives on island (sarcastically winking):

    http://mashable.com/2015/06/09/hockey-housing-australia/

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — June 10, 2015 @ 7:56 am

  19. Lauren I asked those questions because I was unable to find the answers to those questions and thought someone who was head of the Alameda Renters Coalition might have those answers.

    If your going to build a cause it seems like you would need this type of information with actual numbers.

    If you actually want to solve something you have to know how big the problem is and how and where the money is presently being allocated.

    Like I said I’m not very smart so I have to ask questions.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — June 10, 2015 @ 9:26 am

  20. The renters coalition does not focus on subsidized housing or any government level housing assistance. Your questions have nothing to with the focus of the renters coalition group. The people that they are trying to build a support base for are folks that are being displaced from market rate rental housing. They are not requesting more government subsidies, but rather a fair and equitable process to help renters keep their housing.

    The problem is massive and has been endlessly documented by story, after story, after story, after story, etc. Additionally you can see my two links in 17 to show where the bulk of federal housing spending is allocated.

    So again, what’s the end goal of your questions in this context?

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 10, 2015 @ 9:36 am

  21. Lauren stories are great but don’t really give you all the information you need to solve a problem.

    You need up to date actual numbers and not something 3-4 years old and old pie charts that give national numbers that might not even be relevant in today’ s housing situation in California or Alameda.

    My goal is very simple. Try and Come up with solutions or at least ideas that make sense to everyone. If you find out where all the monies are going thru every level and break it down by State, County and then City we can get a better understanding on where exactly it’s going and what we actually need to solve the problem.

    You might not like my questions but how can you really solve a problem if you can’t dissect and break it down. The stories are just dart throwing with no real complete breakdown of the total situation with any real solution.

    How much money is being used to subsidize housing by the Federal Government, State, Counties, and Cities in California ?

    How many families are they presently helping in California and Alameda?

    How many Families in California and Alameda are in need of housing assistance in 2015 and not receiving?

    With Real inflation running about 12- 14% per year in the Bay Area the last 4 years how will that effect the challenge and solutions you are looking at ?

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — June 10, 2015 @ 10:25 am

  22. From my post 20:

    The renters coalition does not focus on subsidized housing or any government level housing assistance. Your questions have nothing to with the focus of the renters coalition group. The people that they are trying to build a support base for are folks that are being displaced from market rate rental housing. They are not requesting more government subsidies, but rather a fair and equitable process to help renters keep their housing.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 10, 2015 @ 11:04 am

  23. Lauren my questions are very relevant….if you have 12 -14% real inflation year over year in cost of living in the Bay Area the last four years , how is that effecting their challenges and solutions I would assume would be relevant.

    The other questions also tie in if your trying to put coalition together. BWTFDIK

    Because I’m sure it’s relevant to any Landlord whose costs and taxes and fees has escalated in some cases tripled. Like Building permits and licenses that they need to make any improvements.

    I rent but try and see the big picture.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — June 10, 2015 @ 11:23 am

  24. #1. Thank you for sharing this. I am going through similar with my son, who is very discouraged at ever having stability in the Bay Area.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — June 10, 2015 @ 3:06 pm

  25. Thank you Kevin. Even if for the moment we can’t see the light in this case, we can keep looking towards it!

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — June 10, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

  26. The housing market could be improved by: remove the mortgage interest tax relief on first and second homes, and open up the real estate market to competition so it can be disrupted. The effect of both will ultimately drive down costs and make it less beneficial to the rich.

    Comment by Adrian Blakey — June 10, 2015 @ 4:55 pm

  27. 26
    Maybe on 2nd and 3rd’s but you’d play hell removing interest tax relief on the first.

    Comment by jack — June 10, 2015 @ 5:31 pm

  28. Mortgage interest deduction gives incentives to people to buy there homes, without it there would be more renters and there would be the opposite effect. Rent would drastically be subjected to the will of the owners of the property. Home ownership brings some sort of stabilization. Can you image one rich guy owning 90% of the properties in Alameda and he decided to raise rents across the board 25%. It would have the effect of that person getting richer and everyone else indebted to him.

    We will always have the poor and we will always have the rich or super rich, but there needs to be some support for the middle class…they support the economy and stabilize the country.

    Comment by Jake. — June 11, 2015 @ 7:31 am


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