Albany Thrives Together

…is the new name for our group that has been active in Albany for over ten years as the Diverse Housing Working Group. We are an all-volunteer community-based effort to engage, educate and involve local organizations and individuals in the effort to create additional diverse housing resources in Albany. We recognize that a strong community includes people from all walks of life and income levels.

Opportunity Lost. Your help is needed!

Albany is way behind schedule responding to the State about our inadequate housing element. They knew this was coming for 8 years but haven’t gotten it together, largely because they are letting the landlords control the dialogue. If we, citizens of Albany and those who aspire to live here, don’t speak out the city is likely to face large fines and the dread “Builder’s Remedy.” Developers could build any sort of housing anywhere in Albany and, if they are in compliance with State codes, the city would have no input.

Speak out at the February 21st City Council Meeting and send your emails to:

Renters in Albany

Renters are 53% of the Albany population.  Most renters make tremendous sacrifices just to live here.

Total number of Albany households—7,943

Total number of renters in Albany—3,948


52% of renters are cost burdened which means they spend more than 30% of their income on housing

25% of renters are severely cost burdened which means they spend more than 50% of their income on housing

82% of extremely low-income renters in Albany spend more than half their income on housing.  

45% of Asian households are cost burdened.

50% of Hispanic households are cost burdened.

70% of Black households are cost burdened.

18% of the population makes less than $25,000.00 a year

Two census tracts in Albany are considered “sensitive communities” which means they are at a relatively high risk of displacement due to rising rents and lack of tenant protection.

If a renter wants to appeal an eviction, the only option to appeal is to go to State Court which is virtually impossible for most tenants.    Renters who do not have a signed lease live in fear of being evicted at any time.  

On May 31 the Oakland City Council voted to limit rent increases at 3%.  The vote was 6 yes, 1 abstain and 1 no.  Allowable rent increase in San Francisco from March 1, 2022 through February 23, 2023 is 2.3%.  The allowable rent increase in Berkeley for 2022 is 2.1%.  Allowable rent increase in Albany is unlimited.

All figures and information about Albany come from the 2023-2031 Albany Housing Element Draft.                                                                                             September, 2022

February 8, 2023

TO: Albany Planning and Zoning Commission, Jeff Bond and Barry Miller

FROM: Albany Thrives Together 

RE: Just Cause for Eviction

The most basic of all renter protections is a Just Cause for Eviction clause. Without Just Clause a tenant can be given a 30-day notice to vacate at any time. It does not matter if the person is a model tenant who has always paid rent on time or has lived in the property for many years.

AB1482 has a Just Cause clause in it. Albany landlords point to that to justify why Albany does not need its own Just Clause for Eviction clause.

The problem with the clause in AB1482 is that there is no enforcement mechanism in the law and the only recouse tenants have is to go to state court after the eviction takes place.

If the city of Albany passed a Just Cause ordinance it would cost the landlords nothing. It would be no extra regulations on the landlords because they are already living under a Just Cause clause with the State law. This could be a huge benefit to renters in Albany. We believe this would be the least controversial action the city could do to protect tenants and have no effect on the landlords.

February 5, 2023

TO: Albany Planning and Zoning Commission, Jeff Bond and Barry Miller

FROM: Albany Thrives Together 

RE: January, 2023 Draft Housing Element/TOPA

The State of California has identified areas in the Housing Element that “promote stability in housing” which includes 5.E (Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act).  The State has identified this as one area the city needs to have more quantified objectives.  In response to the State, the City has done nothing.  

In the October 24, 2022 appeal that Albany Thrives Together sent to the State of California regarding the Housing Element we made the following statements about TOPA:

   We believe (TOPA would be) “a small, but necessary program for Albany.  In the Description the City states “TOPA programs contribute to home ownership and generational wealth while avoiding eviction and stabilizing communities”.   There are no   homeownership opportunities for low-income people in Albany.  This program could also be seen as fair housing in addition to non-displacement and protecting affordable housing indefinitely.  

The City needs to set a deadline within the next two years for implementing a TOPA/COPA Program.  Some steps with clear timelines are necessary.    For example, start a working relationship with The Northern California Land Trust and the Bay Area Community Land Trust.  Pursue grant opportunities (Example would be The Bay’s Future) to pay for developing the program.  

In September,2022 on Solano Avenue, the City of Berkeley announced the reopening of   13 forever affordable apartments.  This happened through a TOPA like program one block from Albany.  The City of Albany cannot afford to wait on this.  It could make a huge difference for what is probably a very small number of Albany residents, but it is worth it to them and the community they are able to stay in.  

We are living in a beautiful place with a tremendous affordable housing shortage.  TOPA/COPA programs are one small way to create much needed permanent affordable housing.”

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