Housing Action Team Goals for 2019
On February 23rd, at the RPA's Membership Meeting, the Housing Action Team announced its goals for 2019. Our members also had an update on what the HAT has been working on in the past few months.
Below is all the information you need to know:
Housing Action Team Goals for 2019:
1. Speculator’s Tax to support affordable housing
This policy works by establishing a tax to discourage speculative investors “house flippers”, from buying and rapidly reselling properties. In many communities like Richmond, large investors are buying up groups of homes and selling them for a quick profit. When these speculative investors do this, it artificially increases the demand for housing, forcing families to compete and pay higher prices and increasing rents and evictions. This makes it more difficult for moderate-income families to buy a home. A tax on speculators discourages this, which helps lower the high price of homes for sale. The tax also raises public money that can fund city services like youth programs and street repairs. (Haas Institute 2017)
2. Updating the Rental Inspection Ordinance
We are currently working on two angles: Inclusionary Housing & In-lieu fees.
Inclusionary Housing means housing, "which is intended for the sale or rental, with a purchase price or rent which is affordable to average or below average income households." (Inclusionary Housing Ordinance 15.04.810.060)
->We need those terms to be more clearly defined and reflect the reality.
In-lieu fees are fees "paid to the city by housing developers in lieu of including any affordable units in their projects. The in-lieu fees are deposited in a separate city account to be used solely for the provision of new or rehabilitated housing units in the city which are affordable to very low-, low- or moderate-income households." (Inclusionary Housing Ordinance 15.04.810.060)
->Is the city of Richmond using those fees in the best way possible? That’s what we are researching and working on.
3. Homelessness prevention and support
We are working on different projects with some of our close allies, including:
- Richmond Homeless Task Force;
- GRIP (Greater Richmond Interfaith Program);
- HAWG (Homeless Advocacy Working Group) based in Oakland;
- Daniel Barth from SOS! Richmond Safe Organized Spaces.
One of our projects in the works is sanctioning a safe and humane RV park in Richmond. It "would provide a place to safely park and establish a stable community for the most secure of the city's unsheltered population, which means people living in RVs with their amenities." (Daniel Barth 2019)
We are also working on addressing the GRIP stalled Warming Center. The idea was to create a "Warming Center for 24-hour respite from the outdoors, especially during the winter season. The center is being launched by the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP). It has since experienced incomplete financing, and the program's opening has been delayed for 4 months during this winter season." (Daniel Barth 2019)
Sophie Van Ronselé, the new chair of the HAT, will be working on a film or series with Daniel Barth to document homelessness in Richmond in a compelling way to stimulate action, and to show possible solutions.
4. Public Lands Policy
In general the HAT is looking into how the city of Richmond manages its public land in regards to affordable housing. So we’re looking at what public land it owns that the community could use for affordable housing. We are also working closely with Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services, and the HAAS Institute to prevent the loss of public housing. What is going to happen to the old public housing units when people move out?
Housing Action Team Update on January/February 2019:
- Our HAT member, Robert Ross, is monitoring the Rent Board every month, now that Nancy Combs is gone (she used to be a Rent Board Member).
- The resolution authorizing the transfer of Richmond Housing Authority's Housing Choice Voucher Section 8 Program to the Housing Authority of Contra Costa County has been passed unanimously. The city council should have a month to month update on the process. The goal is to make it happen by June 2019 at the latest. The HAT is closely monitoring the transfer.
- John Gioia came to talk to the HAT about the North Richmond Heritage Point Project. The County provided substantial funding for permanent housing for our homeless folks in Richmond. They are working on micropads (Prefab Affordable Dwelling units). It will be completed this summer and ready for occupancy for about 50 single individuals.
- The HAT is organizing a public event with Randy Shaw who is a local attorney, activist, and author of the book “Generation Priced Out”, (https://generationpricedout.com/) which covers the history of our local and nationwide housing crisis as well as solutions to address and prevent it. Randy Shaw is also the executive director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic in San Francisco as well as the editor of Beyond Chron (http://beyondchron.org).
Date of the event: May 4th, from 4-6pm at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center.
We will discuss affordability strategies to move forward in Richmond, which is facing new challenges to its economic and racial diversity.
Haas Institute 2017 "Speculator's Tax to Support Affordable Housing."
Inclusionary Housing Ordinance 15.04.810.060.
Daniel Bath 2019 "Richmond Homeless Task Force"