In its last special meeting of 2021, the City Council this week approved $67 million toward seven affordable housing projects that will add 406 units to the city and renovate 66 others in Berkeley’s housing stock.
The projects are Ashby Lofts, Ephesians Legacy Court, MLK House, St. Paul Terrace, housing at People’s Park, workforce housing for Berkeley Unified School District and a state-supported Homekey project at Golden Bear Inn.
The funds will be distributed as follows: $850,000 toward renovations at Ashby Lofts, a 54-unit property at 2909-19 Ninth Street; $1.2 million toward the renovation of 12 SRO units at 2942-2944 MLK Jr. Way; $24.5 million for BUSD housing; $2.5 million each for planned housing on the two church properties in South Berkeley in the Adeline Corridor; $14.4 million for a UC Regents project at People’s Park; and $8.4 million toward buying the Golden Bear Inn on 1620 San Pablo Ave. in Northwest Berkeley to create permanent supportive housing for homeless residents.
Many of these projects will be supplemented by state and other sources of funding, and the city has reserved another $13 million for whichever South Berkeley church project is ready to move into the development stage first. Full details about the projects are available in the City Council agenda.
According to the city’s latest progress report on its current state housing targets, Berkeley has far exceeded its requirements for above moderate-income housing while falling well behind goals for all other income levels. The funding for affordable housing projects approved on Tuesday will partially address this progress.
“This significant investment will help us provide much-needed housing for our unhoused, low-income, teachers and working-class residents who are being priced out of the region,” Mayor Jesse Arreguín said in a statement. “This continues our acceleration of the development of affordable housing which for too long has been severely underfunded.”