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City plans for more affordable housing

By John Geluardi Daily Planet staff
Monday April 30, 2001

The city plans to develop 100 affordable housing units in the coming year despite ongoing obstacles facing nonprofit developers such as the rising land and construction costs.  

According to the Draft 2001 Annual Action Strategy for Housing and Community Development, another 104 units are in the pipeline but are not expected to be completed until the following year. And there are another 50-100 projected units that have not yet begun the planning or approval processes.  

The annual strategy report outlines the city’s primary goals of maintaining the city’s ethnic, social and economic diversity through the creation of affordable housing, social services and jobs.  

Besides housing, the report also describes funding sources for housing and homeless programs as well as the development of programs such as the respite care for the homeless. 

Of the 100 units to be completed this year, half will be reserved for tenants who earn 80 percent of the area median income, which is $67,600 for Berkeley households. That means for example, that those units will be available to a family of three that earns about $50,000. The other 50 units will be reserved for family’s who earn 50 percent of the AMI or $30,000 for a family of three.  

The majority of the affordable housing projects are being built by the city’s four nonprofit developers; the Affordable Housing Associates, the Northern California Land Trust, Resources for Community Development and Jubilee Restoration. The four nonprofits are currently being considered for a total of $336, 665 in federal Community Development Block Grant money. The City Council is expected to approve the grants at its May 8 meeting.  

Some of the larger projects in the pipeline include a proposed 30 units at 1725 University Ave. and another 25-35 units proposed for 2517 Sacramento St. Both are Affordable Housing Associate projects. Resources for Community Development has obtained 3222 Adeline St. on which it plans to build 19 units.  

The reports says that the obstacles to creating new affordable housing have increased this year over last year.  

“Unfortunately the trends and conditions that made providing affordable housing so difficult last year have only gotten worse this year.” the report says. “That is, rental and sales costs for housing have increased, as have construction costs. There has also been an increase in commercial rents making it more difficult to nonprofits agencies to operate.”