Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What does
the Housing Authority do?
A. The Housing Authority mission is: “In partnership with the entire community, to advocate and provide quality, affordable safe housing; encourage self-sufficiency; and strengthen community inclusiveness and diversity in housing.” To that end, the Authority owns and manages 12 housing complexes and seven condominiums for very-low and low-income residents. Currently, the Authority provides more than 550 families with housing. The Housing Authority also assists approximately 1600 very-low income families through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.
The Housing Authority works with the City of Alameda to increase the supply of affordable housing. It is difficult to add affordable housing in Alameda. Housing prices in the Bay Area are extremely high and there is very little buildable land available. In the last 10 years, the Authority has added seven condominiums, a five-unit complex, a four-unit complex, and a 26-unit complex to its supply of rental housing. Lower-income residents have purchased another six units developed by the Housing Authority. The addition of condominiums, units owned by non-profit organizations, complexes with some market rate units, and homeownership units where the Authority continues to own the land, shows the creativity used to expand the supply of affordable housing in this community.
does the Housing Authority serve?
A. Most of the people served by the Housing Authority are Alameda residents. All age groups are represented in the family housing complexes. In addition, the Housing Authority owns three senior complexes and seven condominiums for seniors. All racial and a large number of ethnic categories are represented. Income ranges also vary considerably.
Will subsidized housing bring down the value of my
A. Those involved in affordable housing developments are aware of the NIMBY attitude that rises up to fight proposed low-income housing projects. This “Not In My Back Yard” opposition to low-income housing is often a major obstacle to the creation of affordable housing. Homeowners often espouse the NIMBY viewpoint that affordable housing is a threat to property values. This viewpoint is a reaction to the stereotype that low-income housing has acquired. According to the California Redevelopment Association (CRA) and contrary to NIMBY claims, no study in California has ever shown that affordable housing developments lower property values. Indeed, several studies have demonstrated that well-designed and well-managed projects actually increase surrounding property values. Affordable housing projects, if well managed, well designed, and well constructed can be assets and enhance their communities. The evidence indicates that NIMBY beliefs regarding affordable housing are not supported by facts — their fears are unfounded. Most researchers in the field of affordable housing agree that well-designed and appropriately managed projects dispel community concerns that any negative impact will occur; instead, such projects help to improve communities’ images. The Housing Authority of the City of Alameda agrees that housing design, appearance, and the needs and desires of community residents are key to the success of any affordable housing project in this community.
Q. How much rent is paid by families that the
Housing Authority assists?
A. It varies. In general, Section 8 and public housing families pay approximately 30 percent of their adjusted gross income. The Housing Authority makes up the difference between that amount and the contract rent on the unit the family is renting. Other programs have fixed rents that are set below market rate.
Q. How does the
Housing Authority pay for these programs?
A. Nearly all Housing Authority tenants pay rent. Of course, this rent does not pay the entire cost of these units; therefore, additional sources of funding are needed. This funding comes primarily from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), through federal housing program allocations, appropriated by Congress. Additional funding is obtained through tax increment funding from the Alameda Community Improvement Commission.