It’s no secret that Oakland has seen massive rent hikes in the past several years. It’s also no mystery how it happened–when tenants were priced out of San Francisco, Berkeley, and other increasingly expensive Bay Area neighborhoods, rental occupancy grew feverishly in Oakland, and landlords and market-rate developers responded in kind.
However, to date, East Oakland has not been as heavily impacted. Construction has been limited and rents have largely remained untouched. This means tenants there are safe…for now. It also means that investors are beginning to circle.
Historically, most affordable housing efforts are focused on constructing or preserving homes in an area where options for low- to middle-income earners have already become limited or nonexistent. But what if efforts were made to maintain an area’s housing affordability before prices got out of hand? What if more developers worked to proactively get in front of imminent gentrification rather than try and stem the tide once it has already begun? Nikki Beasley, Executive Director of Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services (RNHS)–a non-profit organization founded in 1981 by local East Bay residents to address affordability, equity, and disparity related to housing–wants to find out.
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