County board places $580-million affordable housing bond on November ballot

If approved by 2/3rds of voters, measure will provide funds for investing in low-priced homes

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has voted to place a $580 million affordable housing bond on the Nov. 8 election ballot to provide funds for investment in homes for first-time home buyers and low-income renters.

A two-thirds majority vote by those casting ballots in the fall will be required to approve the countywide measure, which would result in an assessment of $12 per every $100,000 of valuation for Alameda County property owners.

"The Affordable Housing Bond will provide $580 million in investment in affordable homes for low-income renters, down payment assistance for first time home buyers and an innovation fund to seek new solutions," said Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, sponsor of the measure.

She said the language and priorities of the bond measure have been developed through a multi-step stakeholder process. It will create and protect affordable housing options for people who need it most, including seniors and the disabled, veterans, low-income families and the homeless, added Chan, whose district includes Alameda, San Leandro and parts of Oakland.

The board heard the following statistics before voting unanimously to support the bond measure:

* Rents in Alameda County have risen 34% since 2011.

* Median home prices have nearly doubled since 2010.

* A two-bedroom apartment rents for an average of $2,200.

* On an annual basis, there are over 8,000 homeless people in Alameda County.

* Seniors, veterans and disabled individuals are hardest hit. So, too, are working families and youths exiting foster care.

* Many families are spending half of their income on housing. Many funding options from state and federal government are no longer available.

* Estimates show the U.S. is 60,000 homes behind the need for low-income families in deep poverty.

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