Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 18, 2021

Further Fair Housing

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Remember when the rep for the Housing and Community Development department came to a City Council meeting and talked about the “potentially perilous” issues that A/26 could face up against in light of new legislation and a beefed up enforcement arm? Yeah good times. But I wanted to highlight one of the things that I hadn’t heard of previously but definitely would put a few Alameda County cities in some hot water:

AB 686 (affirmatively furthering fair housing) which says that General Plans will need to analyze and action plans to combat housing discrimination. He also mentioned earlier that as part of AB686, HCD will look at how Alameda’s demographics compare with its surroundings and broader region and what has led to that and what meaningful actions Alameda will take to bring it in line with regional demographics.

Let’s first see what HCD’s guidance on what AB 686 would ask of these upcoming Housing Elements:

Beginning January 1, 2019, all housing elements must now include a program that promotes and affirmatively furthers fair housing opportunities throughout the community for all persons regardless of race, religion, sex, marital status, ancestry, national origin, color, familial status, or disability, and other characteristics protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Government Code Section 65008, and any other state and federal fair housing and planning law.

Additionally, all housing elements due on or after January 1, 2021, must contain an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) consistent with the core elements of the analysis required by the federal Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Final Rule of July 16, 2015.

But it’s not just good enough for Alameda to write something up that says “yes, we agree to affirmatively further fair housing.” No, this is going to be work:

Under state law, affirmatively further fair housing means “taking meaningful actions, in addition to combatting discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics.”

“Meaningful actions” to combat discrimination and overcome patterns of segregation. That’s going to be tough for Alameda if we simply opt to maintain the status quo.

It also asks that the city identify under the needs assessment:

An analysis of available federal, state, and local data and local knowledge to identify:
a. Integration and segregation patterns and trends
b. Racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty
c. Disparities in access to opportunity
d. Disproportionate housing needs within the jurisdiction, including displacement risk. Analyze fair housing data, including standard publicly available data, as well as local data and knowledge. This analysis can be conducted in concert with other data collection and analysis that is conducted as part of the housing element needs assessment

As the HCD rep said this will ask Alameda to examine our demographics and, as I’ve pointed out before our demographics compared to the larger region and to our two closest neighbors are misaligned. Berkeley, which has been under scrutiny for its single family zoning as well, is probably in the same boat as Alameda but they are looking at upending that zoning city-wide by adopting four-plexes across the city.


  1. “throughout the community,” you say. So our neighbors across the island will need to get comfortable making space? It can’t all just go out at the former base? Oh

    Comment by Gaylon — February 18, 2021 @ 7:21 am

    • The Z people insisted that no single families would be demolished for multis, which was the whole reason we did A in the 70’s. A landslide majority saw through that lie.

      Comment by BS Detector — February 18, 2021 @ 8:15 am

      • What does Measure Z have to do with the State of California Housing and Community Development Dept stating that there are five issues that are “potentially perilous” to Alameda and A/26? Measure Z was an attempt to resolve the inconsistencies that exist in Alameda’s City Charter and State law. The majority of Alameda chose to shrug emoji that effort and now here we are.

        Comment by Lauren Do — February 18, 2021 @ 8:42 am

        • Gaylin indciates that 4 plexes will have to happen off the navy base.

          How doe sthat happen without knocking down single families?

          Comment by BS Detector — February 18, 2021 @ 10:13 am

        • Where did she say anything about four-plexes? This is about the HCD’s interpretation of AB 686.

          Comment by Lauren Do — February 18, 2021 @ 11:04 am

      • It’s true in politics as it is in life that survival is the first law.

        Comment by A Flavour Sub — February 18, 2021 @ 8:44 am

      • The Z people were correct, though. More robust protections have superseded Measure A since the 1970s, such as the historical preservation ordinances, HAB, planning board, etc. These things did not exist at the time of Measure A’s passage, so A has become obsolete.

        The “landslide majority” were largely led to believe the choice was between “more development” and “no more development.” That was a false choice. Z supporters knew that it’s really either city-controlled growth or state-controlled growth. Growth is going to happen – measure A absolutely did not stop any of the new developments we’ve seen around town.

        I helped campaign for Z even though I knew it was going to be an uphill battle. The last chapter on this has not been written yet – leading opponents of Z (Trish Spencer, Tony Daysog, Paul Foreman, Sylvia Gibson, Karen Lithgow, etc) have not provided any counter-proposal to meeting the state’s RHNA housing needs, and the longer we are out of compliance the more likely Article 26 will collapse by other means.

        Comment by Reality — February 18, 2021 @ 10:23 am

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