While the City of Oakland already provides a general preference for those who live or work in the city to qualify for affordable housing which was built in conjunction with the City’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) program, a proposed ordinance would greatly expand the scope of projects for which the preference would apply, add a higher-level preference for Oaklanders displaced by no-fault evictions, establish a neighborhood specific preference for Oaklanders who live in the same District as the affordable housing being built, and restrict the City’s mortgage assistance programs to those who already live or work in the city.
From Oakland City Council President, Lynette Gibson McElhaney, in her overview of the proposed legislation:
“This Local Preference legislation improves the City’s anti-displacement efforts by refining the preference policy for allocating City-funded affordable housing and establishes an Oakland residency/worker requirement for first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance program. The Local
Preference legislation helps combat displacement and preserves Oakland’s diversity by creating a priority for Oakland’s long tenured residents who are at risk to remain and for those who have been displaced to return. The policy helps support neighborhood stability, economic diversity and pathways from poverty by providing a pathway to homeownership for Oaklanders.”
The proposed preferences would apply to all rental and ownership affordable housing projects of five or more units that receive any City funding once the ordinance was effective. But due to legal and administrative constraints, the second level District preference would only apply to 30 percent of the affordable housing units produced, and only for initial sales or rentals.
The City’s existing mortgage assistance programs, which are designed to assist low and moderate-income first time homebuyers to purchase a home in the City of Oakland, are currently offered on a first-come, first-served basis and without a preference or requirement for Oakland residency or employment.