6 affordable housing units in Berkeley up for lottery applications

Photo of 6 new affordable housing units on 2119 University Ave
Modera Berkeley/Courtesy
Six affordable housing units in Modera Berkeley, a newly constructed apartment complex located in Downtown Berkeley, are currently available for lottery submissions. The lottery, which was made possible through the city’s Below Market Rate program, will close Friday, Oct. 30, at 5 p.m., with no exceptions.

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Residents can now submit lottery applications for six units of affordable housing in a new apartment complex in Downtown Berkeley, according to an Oct. 21 press release by the city of Berkeley.

The six Modera Berkeley units were created through the city’s Below Market Rate program, which designates some affordable units within market-rate apartments, according to the press release. The units offered through the lottery include one studio apartment that will be available in December, three studios available this coming spring and two one-bedroom units available fall 2021.

“Given the high cost of construction and land, inclusionary units are a critical way to increase the amount of affordable housing units in the City,” the press release states.

According to the press release, low-income households that make up to $45,700 to $52,200 each year will qualify for the units. The income level qualification varies, as it would depend on the unit type.

To receive an application, potential residents can email [email protected] or call 855-380-2235 for questions, according to the press release. The deadline to apply is Friday, Oct. 30, at 5 p.m., with no exceptions for late applications. Those selected from the lottery will be required to provide income documentation for approval.

According to Igor Tregub, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board commissioner, the upward pull of the city’s real estate market could push those who are Black, Indigenous or people of color, individuals on fixed incomes, working families and seniors out of Berkeley if there are no provisions for affordable housing and stabilization.

“Up until when the pandemic started, Berkeley residents have been the victims of an out-of-control real estate market, and it has exacerbated a divide between the haves and the have-nots,” Tregub said.

According to the press release, Modera Berkeley’s affordable units are the outcome of city policy, as market-rate building developments in Berkeley that replace existing housing can either pay the city a per-unit fee that goes toward the Berkeley Housing Trust Fund for affordable housing or reserve a certain amount of units for low-income households. 

City spokesperson Matthai Chakko said in an email that opportunities, such as the lottery, that would be run by the apartment manager or building operator for affordable units in new apartment buildings come a few times a year. These apartment units are mandated to stay permanently affordable, Chakko added.

“In most apartments, landlords can set any rent when a tenant vacates, even for rent-controlled units,” the press release states. “However, rents set by the City’s Below-Market-Rent program are permanently set below market rate, regardless of turnover.”

Contact Natalie Lu at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @natalie_c_lu.