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Richmond council to consider far-reaching new housing policy

PRESS RELEASE:

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Contact: David Sharples (415) 377-9037

Richmond City Council to Adopt Housing Element, Community Groups Advocate for Rent Stabilization, Affordable Housing and Blight Mitigation

RICHMOND, CA – The Richmond City Council will vote to adopt the 2007-2014 Housing Element on December 4th. The Housing Element is a critically important state-mandated document to assess a city’s housing needs, production and site availability. As part of advancing its equitable development platform, the REDI (Richmond Equitable Development Initiative) coalition, a coalition of Richmond community based organizations, has been involved in education and engaging residents to provide policy recommendations that help Richmond’s historically under-served populations and neighborhoods. REDI’s policy priorities have since been approved and recommended for adoption by the Richmond Planning Commission on November 1st.

REDI’s policy priorities include:

Stronger renter protections via Just Cause and Rent Stabilization

More affordable housing production via amending the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance

Foreclosure and blight mitigation via adoption of a Vacant Property Registration Ordinance

As REDI and ACCE leader Melvin Willis said “It is crucial that the Richmond City Council adopt the Housing Element with REDI’s recommendations. We need more affordable housing, protections for tenants and to strengthen Richmond’s blight program. 50% of Richmond residents are tenants. We need to protect them from unfair evictions. Its also crucial that we adopt the Vacant Property Registration Ordinance so that the city can track who owns these vacant, foreclosed, blighted properties that are destabilizing our neighborhoods.”

 

When: 5:30 pm Tuesday December 4th Press Conference followed by 6:30 pm City Council Meeting

 

Where: Richmond City Hall, City Council Chambers, 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA

 

What: A press conference followed by a City Council Hearing. Dozens of community leaders will turnout to testify in support of adoption of the Housing Element

 

 

 

Policy Detail

 

KEEP HOMES AFFORDABLE AND SAFE

 

H-1 3.2 Amend Inclusionary Housing Ordinance Strengthen inclusionary housing provisions to limit circumstances under which developers can pay in-lieu fees instead of building affordable housing, and we support increasing the amount of in-lieu fees to fully cover the cost of constructing new units.

 

H-1 3.4 Community Land Trust

 

Expedite the development of a community land trust to stabilize neighborhoods and increase the supply of affordable housing.

 

 

 

KEEP NEIGHBORHOODS CLEAN AND SAFE

 

H-2 5.3 Vacant Foreclosed Residential Property Ordinance Adopt an ordinance that would require the registration of vacant foreclosed properties, which would collect fees and track maintenance and bank ownership in conjunction with code enforcement.

 

H-2 5.4 Code Enforcement for Residential Neighborhoods Use code enforcement to rehabilitate substandard rental housing without displacing existing residents or raising their rents. Reduce foreclosure blight by aggressively enforcing SB 1137 to make banks maintain foreclosed properties or pay the $1000 per day fine. The fines collected should be allocated toward foreclosure prevention or foreclosure buy-back efforts. The City should collect data on a bank-by-bank basis regarding foreclosures, loan modifications, substandard housing conditions and blight so that the City can track whether or not banks are in compliance with the State of California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights.

 

 

 

KEEP FAMILIES IN THEIR HOMES

 

H-4 2.2 Just Cause for Eviction

 

Establish rent control measures that include Just Cause and Fair Rent ordinances for all tenants, which protects against unjust or arbitrary evictions by defining fair reasons for evictions. Rent Control should also stabilize and regulate rents.

 

H-4 2.3 Rent Stabilization Ordinance

 

Adopt an ordinance to establish rent stabilization policies and a rent board that will register landlords and hear and resolve landlord-tenant disputes.

 

Robert Rogers