February 19, 2016        

Bay Area Housing and Transportation Agencies Hold Regional Forum on Displacement Caused by
Growing Affordable Housing Crisis

Oakland – On Saturday, February 20th, regional housing and transportation agencies will hold a regional housing and displacement forum in Oakland to discuss the root causes of displacement and solutions to the Bay Area’s housing crisis.  The forum – “Calling the Bay Area Home: Tackling the Affordable Housing and Displacement Challenge” – will include locally elected officials who sit on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) residents, academics, advocates and other stakeholders.

Grassroots organizations that are members of a regional coalition of advocacy organizations, called the 6 Wins for Social Equity Network, have worked closely with MTC and ABAG to ensure that community voices are included in the forum.

“We need real, effective solutions,” said Kimberly Barbosa Soeiro, a tenant working with the North Bay Organizing Project to push for rent stabilization and just cause eviction in Santa Rosa, where rents have increased about 40 percent in the last four years.  “I hope the forum will show MTC and ABAG officials that there are local policies that work, and that the region has a crucial role to play,” said Ms. Soeiro.

A recent study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found that 60 percent of the Bay Area’s low-income households are at risk of displacement or living in areas that are currently undergoing gentrification and displacement.  Those living near transit are even more susceptible.

“We want to make sure that elected officials understand how the lack of deeply affordable housing and tenant protections is hurting families all over the Bay Area, and that they can do something about it now,” said Paula Beal, an Oakland resident and leader with Causa Justa :: Just Cause.  “Our decision-makers must be held accountable for taking urgent action to address this housing crisis,” she said.

MTC and ABAG are in the midst of updating their long-range transportation and housing strategy, called Plan Bay Area.  Nearly $300 billion in transportation funds are at stake in the plan, and the 6 Wins Network has advocated for an Equity, Environment and Jobs (EEJ) scenario that prioritizes this money to address the needs of low-income communities and communities of color.  Advocates have also pushed MTC to use its One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) program – another $300 million over four years – to reward local jurisdictions that take meaningful steps to produce affordable housing and protect tenants from rising rents and evictions.

Forum details:

Saturday, February 20, 2016, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Oakland Marriott City Center
1001 Broadway, Oakland (at 12th Street BART Station)