Category Archives: Housing

Council Endorses Alameda County Affordable Housing Bond (7/19)

On a 4-1 vote the Fremont City Council endorsed the Alameda County bond measure that will be on this November’s ballot. I was very much in favor of this.

Since I’ve been on the Council I’ve come to believe that affordable housing is one of the most important issues facing many local municipalities including the City of Fremont. Working people are having more and more trouble renting in Fremont let alone buying a home here. When affordable housing becomes available, the number of applicants is enormous.

In my position paper on affordable housing (, I note that Fremont has a ratio of 8.30 lower wage jobs to places that people with these jobs can afford to live. That means that for every lower wage job in Fremont, 7.30 people have to commute here in order to work. It’s estimated that this translates to 6,000 people who work in Fremont and have to commute from somewhere else. (The corresponding figure for the City of San Jose alone is over 21,000.) If you wonder why traffic is so bad in the Bay Area, this imbalance is a good part of the reason.

Given the current situation, one could easily argue that Fremont, and many other local cities, should have asked for more affordable housing fees on past development. Obviously there was a need for it. But the past is the past and we can’t go back and change it. We can’t go back and ask those developers to pay increased fees. We are stuck with the current situation. Even if we substantially increased fees on future development, that wouldn’t resolve the problem.

I don’t see any other immediate options available that will help resolve the huge affordability problem that we have in the Bay Area. This bond measure will be local money used to resolve a critical local issue.

Master Plan for the Last Parcel By Warm Springs BART Approved

On 4/5 the City Council approved the Master Plan for the Old Warm Springs parcel by Warm Springs BART. I was the lone dissenting vote.

We were told that the development around the new Warm Springs BART station would be an ’employment-oriented BART station’. We were shown pictures of large office buildings and well-designed plazas lining ‘Innovation Way’. This was indeed a chance to build a mixed-use transit-oriented development (TOD) that could have been a model of how to do TOD. Instead, we got a 4,000 unit housing development that will be a boon to the developers that bought the land, and will provide little benefits to the existing residents of Fremont.

I see many examples of mixed-use, transit-oriented development near BART stations and CalTrain stations throughout the Bay Area. With ample employment and retail, these areas become destinations for the host city bringing in many employees and shoppers from outside of their city. These locations also become destinations for the local residents providing places to work and shop near home. This development claims to be mixed-use but I would disagree.

The parcel on the agenda was the last of the three big ones near the Warm Springs BART station. It is a 28.7 acre parcel to the north of Grimmer and to the east of Fremont Blvd. Of the buildable area, 73% will be dedicated for residential development with 42% of the total being townhomes. I don’t know how you call that “employment-oriented” transit development.


City Behind on Affordable Housing Needs / Approves New General Plan Amendment Policy

On the consent calendar last Tuesday (3/15) there was an item noting how the City is doing on meeting the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) numbers. These are prepared by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and show how many new housing developments Fremont is projected to have. I had to comment on how poorly we are doing to date in meeting the affordable housing numbers. Below are the RHNA numbers, our current progress (2 years into the 8 year cycle), and the percentage we’ve completed for each group:

Very Low – 64 out of 1,714 units – 3.7 %
Low – 0 out of 926 units – 0.0 %
Moderate – 0 out of 978 units – 0.0 %
Above Moderate – 520 out of 1,837 units – 28.3 %

If it weren’t for the Laguna Commons project in Irvington, the first number would also be zero. The projects that have been approved but not yet issued building permits (i.e. Warm Springs) only continues this trend.


Inside Bay Area Article Highlights Bay Area Housing Crisis

Construction continues at the Eden Housing project a 5-story affordable housing complex along Mission Boulevard south of Tennyson Road in Hayward, Calif.,

Good article about the affordable housing crisis in the Bay Area.

Fremont has fallen way behind on the amount of affordable units that have been proscribed by the Association of Bay Area Governments in their Regional Housing Needs Allocation. We need to do more.

I feel the need to note that by ‘affordable’ I simply mean units that are smaller than the three story townhome developments (typically selling in the $600-800,000 range) that have become the norm in Fremont. People like our children returning from college, and our teachers, are the ones that are having trouble affording a place here.

Read the full article from Inside Bay Area here.

Fremont to Investigate Home Sharing

One of the ways to deal with the affordable housing crisis is to do home sharing. Fremont has been investigating how to increase this. The press release from the City is below.

In an effort to create more affordable housing options for its residents, the City of Fremont reached out to HIP Housing, the San Mateo based nonprofit that runs one of the nation’s largest Home Sharing programs and has been around for more than 40 years. As of August 1, 2015, the organization now serves those who are seeking housing who live or work in the City of Fremont and persons with a room to rent who live in Fremont, Newark and Union City. In San Mateo County, HIP provides affordable housing for more than 1,400 people each year.

The Home Sharing Program creates affordable housing from the existing housing stock by matching people who have spare bedrooms with those looking for a place to live. It is a mutually beneficial solution – those renting out a room in their home (Home Providers) can supplement their income, while those who need a place to live (Home Seekers) can find stability and security at an affordable rate.

Since sharing a home can come with occasional conflicts, HIP Housing has developed a system to help prevent and mitigate any problems. When matches are made, both parties sit down with one of the organization’s experienced counselors to perform a “Living Together Agreement”, wherein they outline the rules, details, musts, and deal-breakers for cohabitating. From there, every participant has long-term counseling available to them for as long as they remain in the program, with the staff serving as an unbiased, professional support system for the clients.
HIP Housing’s solutions are especially useful in the current housing climate as the average cost of rent continues to rise. New affordable housing units are built, but not fast enough to account for the rapidly growing numbers of people who cannot afford to live here. The organization has seen a sizeable increase in calls about Home Sharing from those hoping to boost their income, those trying to recover from homelessness, and everyone in between. And, after 41 years, HIP Housing’s Home Sharing Program has become a strong network of staff, board members, and clients truly invested in this community.

For more information about HIP Housing’s Home Sharing Program, please contact HIP Housing Coordinator Laura Moya at 510-574-2173 or visit Fremont’s Human Services Department at 3300 Capitol Ave., Building B in Fremont.