Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 9, 2018

Preferential treatment

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

City staff is recommending that the City Council revise the preference requirements for inclusionary housing units in Alameda.  Because it’s easier to fiddle around with these requirements of who gets these — essentially — lottery units, then actually do things that will add to the supply of housing and therefore help folks who work in Alameda, live in Alameda.  Speaking of which, did anyone catch the piece in the Chronicle about, again, the rise in super commuters?  More on that another day.

This is how the preference points currently are structured:

  1. Living/Working in Alameda. Applications from qualified households with a household member who lives or works in Alameda receive one preference point per household.
  2. First-Time Homebuyers. Applications from first-time homebuyers receive one preference point per household (a first-time homebuyer is someone who has not owned a house in the last three years).
  3. Large Housholds. Applications from large households, defined by a family size that is one person more than the number of bedrooms in the unit, receive one preference point (e.g., a four-person household would receive a preference point for a three-bedroom unit).

(Note: Maximum of three preference points per household.)

And this is the proposed change, adding a preference point for AUSD employees:

  1.  Living/Working in Alameda. Retain the existing preference point for households with a member who lives or works in Alameda (including qualified City and AUSD employees).
  2. AUSD Employee. As discussed in greater detail below, add a new preference point for qualified AUSD employees who compete for moderate-income units.  There is a cap on the number of moderate-income units for which this preference point could be used.
  3. First-Time Homebuyer. Eliminate the preference point for first-time homebuyers and establish a threshold program requirement that all members of the household be first-time homebuyers.
  4. Large Households. Eliminate the third preference point for larger households as it was confusing to the public and in some instances made it more difficult for single heads-of-households to qualify for an inclusionary unit.

(Note: Maximum of two preference points per household.)


The reason for this change in the preference point process is to free up development funds that are specifically tied to the school district:

The City is neither a third-party beneficiary nor a party to the MOU, but the MOU will enable approximately $30 million in Housing Funds to be made available to produce affordable housing within the City of Alameda. Availability of the Housing Funds are tied to the expiration of the Business and Waterfront Improvement Project (BWIP) Redevelopment Project Area which ends in 2041. Earlier termination of the AUSD preference point could occur if City Council in its discretion chooses to delete the provision allowing for preferences points for AUSD employees; however, if such action is taken, AUSD will have no further obligation to pass through the Housing Funds.

Given the complexity of building affordable housing, every single funding source is precious so this some odd $30 million will not build a ton of units in and of itself, but it might be helpful when matching funds are needed or there is a requirement for gap funding.

However, given how deep the lists go for every single lottery process for an affordable unit, we’re not necessarily going to see a huge increase in AUSD employees (specifically teachers) being suddenly able to move into Alameda.  It’s a start but it’s not a panacea.


  1. Yes, the additional $30,000,000 in development funds is a notable contribution towards the hundreds of millions of dollars of philanthropic, business and public funding needed to support the demand for affordable housing created by the hundreds of new market rate units planned and permitted by the City. Still more funding will be needed to actually reduce the current shortage of affordable housing.

    Comment by 2wheelsmith — July 9, 2018 @ 6:25 am

  2. $30M over 28 years, if I read that right.

    As to your final point, an AUSD teacher, by definition, gets the maximum (proposed) two preference points (live/work and AUSD). What increased chance would that provide in a typical lottery in which, presumably, a lot of other, non-AUSD applicants will qualify for a maximum two points (live/work, first time, or 1 over # of bedrooms)? Does AHA publish stats on past lotteries?

    Comment by MP — July 9, 2018 @ 7:06 am

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