The cost of rent is on the rise in Berkeley. This is making it hard for low and middle income residents to afford to stay in the city.
Measure O on the Alameda County ballot would tackle this problem by greenlighting up to $135 million in city bonds to fund affordable housing. The money will be put toward increasing the number of affordable housing options in the city, while protecting ones that already exist.
The measure would also make it possible for Berkeley to access even more county, state, and federal funding for housing that’s only available to cities who are able to match it on their own.
To make sure that all of that money only goes toward housing, the bill also calls for an oversight committee and annual independent audits.
A vote to put Measure O on the November ballot was passed by the Berkeley City Council, and the bill has the backing of Mayor Jesse Arreguin.
Supporters say that Measure O would protect residents like teachers, artists, students, and first responders from being priced out of Berkeley. And it would help vulnerable populations, like seniors, people with disabilities, and the homeless, with finding and keeping a place to live.
But of course, there are expenses involved. To pay the bonds back plus interest, homeowners in Berkeley would be taxed at a rate of twenty-three dollars for every one-hundred thousand dollars in assessed property value.
So, for example, if you own a home in Berkeley that’s worth a million dollars, you’d pay two hundred and thirty dollars in additional property taxes each year.
If you think Berkeley should issue $135 million in city bonds to fund affordable housing, vote YES on Measure O. If not, vote NO.