Housing

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, local news review. Here are your Alameda headlines for the week.

City Council members have asked Assistant City Manager Liz Warmerdam to serve as Alameda’s interim city manager when the city’s current manager, John Russo, leaves on May 1. The City Council voted unanimously last week to offer Warmerdam, who started her municipal career in Alameda and came back as assistant city manager in 2013, the interim city manager’s job.

Over the past several months I’ve posted pieces on the phenomenon of rising rents to this blog, in an effort to explain what’s happening with the local rental market, why, and what is (or isn’t) being done to address those issues. (I’ve posted additional stories on rising rents and declining availability outside of the blog; more on those in the paragraphs that follow.)

The story is a big one for Alameda, with potentially broad implications for the face of our community: More than half of the Island’s residents are renters, according to 2010 Census data.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence news review. Here are your headlines for the week.

Arthur Weil knows the face of hate. Weil, a former history teacher and Holocaust survivor, spoke before an audience Saturday on the U.S.S. Hornet Museum.

City leaders are set to develop an Island-wide plan to address what one city staffer identified as “the single most debated issue” generated by new development – traffic.

When Angela Hockabout was priced out of her rental home in 2013 after being handed a $450 per month rent increase, she felt like she had nowhere to turn. But thanks to Hockabout, that’s no longer the case for others in her situation.

In September she founded the Alameda Renters Coalition, which provides information and moral support for renters experiencing crisis and also, advocacy for renters’ needs.

“My main thrust is just providing support to renters and helping them find resources to fight rent increases,” Hockabout said.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence news review. Here are your Alameda headlines for the week.

Property owners who The Alamedan has interviewed and others who have commented on prior stories in The Alamedan’s running series on rents have said the recent rise in rents is only part of the story of rental housing in the Bay Area. They said the free market cuts both ways, impacting both tenants and landlords.

 
Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your Alameda week in review. Here’s your Island news for this week.

The San Leandro Bay Bridge – better known to locals as the Bay Farm Island bridge – will be getting a bit of a facelift. The car bridge will be closed nights starting in October. The bike bridge, meanwhile, will be shuttered for some daytime and some evening hours.

Last fall, the City Council passed on a proposal to create a city-sponsored rents task force whose charge would have included collecting data on the Island’s rental market. So City Councilman Tony Daysog, who had favored the task force proposal, decided to collect some of that information on his own.

Daysog offered a brief presentation on U.S. Census data he culled at the council’s January 20 meeting, where council members considered some options for strengthening rights for renters. The upshot: While the median rent in Alameda falls below what the federal government considers unaffordable, it’s rising – as is the proportion of local renters who are paying unaffordable rents.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened this week.

Alameda’s housing authority is preparing to open the wait list for its Section 8 rent voucher program next week, the first time in a dozen years new spots have been available.

People who apply will face stiff competition for a spot on the list, while the lucky few who succeed in winning one will face a tough rental market.

“We would love to talk more with (property owners) who would like to know more about the program,” said Vanessa M. Cooper, executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Alameda. “But we realize the market is really tight at the moment.”