Berkeley is a beacon of hope for many people. I grew up enamored by Berkeley and its reputation for inclusivity, progressive politics, and tolerance. When I moved to Berkeley over 20 years ago, I knew I would raise my family here. Berkeley’s uniqueness, neighborhoods, and spirit amaze me. I want to continue Berkeley’s legacy and make sure that our community can retain its quirkiness, diversity, and incredible residents while welcoming those seeking refuge and sanctuary. These ideas drive my work on the Council every day. Over time, I’ve seen my friends and colleagues priced out of Berkeley. These are Berkeley’s teachers, first responders, artists, and children. We have a moral obligation to address housing costs which are directly related to homelessness, income inequality, and displacement.
As a policy maker and professor in public policy, I rely on data-driven, evidence-based strategies to guide my vision for a more affordable and equitable Berkeley. I’ve proposed and passed several pieces of legislation to improve housing affordability and ensure that people can remain in Berkeley, including:
- Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) are a way to increase Berkeley’s housing stock and encourage aging in place. Also known as backyard cottages, ADUs provide residents an opportunity to house family members, caretakers, or downsize while remaining in our neighborhoods. I’ve championed policies to streamline regulations around ADUs so they can built quickly and efficiently. I’ve also held community workshops to educate neighbors about how an ADU could benefit them.
- Workforce and Affordable Housing Streamlining: People who work in Berkeley should be able to afford Berkeley. We also need affordable housing today not five years from now. I passed legislation to both help house teachers and others who may not qualify for subsidized affordable units in new buildings and speed up the process to create affordable housing in Berkeley. I’m currently working with the Mayor and experts in the field to further streamline housing for our city workers, teachers, and first responders.
- Affordable Housing Streamlining Berkeley’s Significant Community Benefits Package I brokered a compromise agreement to ensure that as tall buildings are developed in our downtown, their developers provide community benefits including investments in affordable housing, the arts, environment, and well-paying jobs.
- Neighborhood Preference Program I wrote legislation to allow evicted tenants and residents of Berkeley to have first dibs in accessing affordable units in new projects across Berkeley so they won’t be displaced from our City.
Resolution to Eliminate Single Family Zoning (linked here) Single family residential zoning has its roots in racist exclusionary zoning policy and leads to racial and economic segregation and was born in Berkeley in the Elmwood neighborhood in 1916 and reinforced through historic redlining. Prior to the 1970s and the passage of Berkeley’s Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance, a variety of missing middle housing –duplexes, triplexes, and other smaller multi-unit building typologies–was still being produced and made available to families throughout the Bay Area, particularly in Berkeley. In 1973, the residents of Berkeley passed the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance which severely restricted multi-unit housing in certain parts of Berkeley. Today, many families are fleeing the Bay Area due to the high cost of living. According to a study by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, the income and racial patterns of out-migration and in-migration indicate that “the region risks backsliding on inclusion and diversity and displacing its economically vulnerable and minority residents to areas of more limited opportunity.” By allowing duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes to be built in Berkeley’s residential zones, we can meet greater demand for a diversity of housing types at a range of costs that are more affordable than zingle family homes.
Read a 101 guide on how affordable housing is built in Berkeley here.
Read an analysis of Bay Area municipalities Affordable housing Impact Fees here.
Learn about my Green Affordable Housing Package here.
Learn about my plan to build workforce housing here.