Berkeley City Council to vote on resolution financing affordable housing

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Berkeley City Council members will vote on a resolution at their Tuesday meeting calling for the authorization of a bond to finance affordable housing.

Proposed by Berkeley City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley, the resolution follows the passage of Measure O in November 2018. This measure allows the city to authorize $135 million in bonds to create and maintain affordable housing for low-income households, working families, the homeless community, individuals with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups in the city.

“The fact that we’re able to get this going now shows that city staff have been working on these issues for years,” said city spokesperson Matthai Chakko. “These projects are all pretty complicated. The affordable project required funding from a lot different sources and required a lot of preparation.”

The resolution currently being discussed was introduced as Berkeley faces historically low interest rates. Additionally, the projected tax rate is lower than initially anticipated during the election.

If the resolution is passed by the City Council on Tuesday, $38 million from the bond would be allocated toward six city housing projects.

The six projects include a 51-unit housing project at 1740 San Pablo Ave., which will be developed by BRIDGE Housing Corporation. The housing development will include a mix of studios, one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom apartments. It will also provide live-work units for low-income artists.

The resolution will also help fund the Berkeley Way Project in addition to a 35-unit housing project at 1601 Oxford St., a 63-unit housing project at 2527 San Pablo Ave. and a housing renovation project at 2321 and 2323 10th St.

“Affordable housing is a top concern of our community and our city leaders and our city staff,” Chakko said. “This is a reflection of us moving forward on this important goal.”

Contact Blake Evans at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Blake_J_Evans.