Urban Habitat has been working with Congregations Organizing for Renewal (COR) since 2013 to impact the redevelopment of the 800+ acre Warm Springs site, home to a new BART station scheduled to open in early 2016. If everything goes as planned, the site – already home to Tesla Motors Inc. – will become a major regional high tech manufacturing, retail, and residential center. Urban Habitat and COR are working together to ensure that the development also serves the city’s moderate and low-income residents.
Many Fremont-based jobs do not pay enough for workers to afford to live in the city. Recent work by the UC Davis Center for Regional Change found that there are almost nine low wage jobs in the city for every affordable housing unit, a higher-than-average ratio in a region where the jobs-housing fit is already out of balance. As a result, many moderate and low-wage workers cannot afford to live in Fremont, and must endure long, expensive commutes that increase traffic and decrease air quality. For current residents, the scarcity of decent affordable housing creates substantial displacement pressures, while housing scarcity prevents many from even considering a move to the city.
The redevelopment of Warm Springs provides an opportunity to make up for many lost years. Residents of Fremont achieved a significant victory in November 215 with the signing of a community benefits agreement between Congregations Organizing for Renewal (COR) and Lennar Homes of California. The agreement marks a major milestone in the long campaign waged by the Residents Insisting on Social Equity for Fremont coalition (RISE), which includes COR and Urban Habitat, to win community benefits as part of the development around the new BART station at Warm Springs. The site, located adjacent to Tesla Motors, is envisioned as a mixed use, commercial, residential, and light industrial development and will eventually include approximately 4,000 new homes.