The Oakland City Council calls for State Legislation to Give Affordable Housing Entities Priority to Purchase Residential Homes Up For Tax Auction
The Oakland City Council (unanimously) passed a resolution, introduced by Oakland Council member At-Large Rebecca Kaplan, that would support the California State Legislature enacting legislation that would support affordable housing by requiring that the affordable housing entities being given access to tax auction properties on the purchase of residential housing properties subject to tax auction.
Homelessness increased 47% in Oakland since 2017, in part because of the soaring housing prices and real estate speculation by large investment corporations. Wages for Black and brown populations remain stagnant as the city becomes more gentrified, increasing the risk of eviction and housing insecurity. California is home to 12% of the nation’s population, but a disproportionate 22% of the nation’s homeless populations. The majority of Californian renters pay more than 30% of their income toward rent, and nearly 1.5 million households are paying more than 50% of their income toward rent.
The California Surplus Lands Act is an important tool for getting lands deemed no longer necessary for an agency’s use and making these lands available for affordable housing development. The Act provides that the local agency disposing of surplus land to send, prior to disposing of that property or participating in negotiations to dispose of that property with a prospective transferee, a written notice of availability to affordable housing entities.
What the resolution asks is that residential properties, that would be disposed of at tax auction, should be treated in a similar manner as Surplus Lands, then the rules much like the Surplus Lands Act could be created and a written notice of availability should be sent to all interested parties, including the affordable housing entities. While the California Legislature’s 2019 expansion of the Surplus Lands Act was an important step forward to promoting affordable housing, it provides a significant model for how residential properties could be treated prior to tax auction.
Kaplan states, “ I am thankful to my colleagues on the city council for voting to support this resolution, let us continue to work towards preventing further displacement of our Oakland communities. My goal is to reclaim housing which has been purchased at auction price by speculators and profiteers, who profit off of the displacement of our Oakland community. We must preserve the historically rich culture and diversity in Oakland and ensure Oakland and California remains accessible to all socio-economic levels.”
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