Oakland Mayor boldly announces rental assistance pilot program

Given all its problems, the city of Oakland continues to fight for justice and equality for all its citizens and launched a new program on Tuesday that will be big news in other cities. This closely monitored and independently analyzed bold project could lead to other national programs.

“Housing is a human right,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who zoomed in on journalists to announce a major program: Shallow Subsidies.

200 families will each receive ongoing support, averaging $ 750 a month, for up to 18 months, to reduce their rent by 50%. The $ 3.4 million fund was created by donations from many nonprofits and the Benioff family of Salesforce.

This pilot program aims to retain low-income people in their homes when rents overwhelm them.

“Every night thousands of Oaklanders sleep: our elders, our children, on the streets or are an economic emergency away from losing the housing they have,” the mayor said.

“I do not know what I would have done. You know I can not pay the rent alone. I only receive income from social security,” said Shallow Subsidy recipient Laura Sloan.

The human impact in what is perhaps one of the country’s most diverse cities is appalling. Although Oakland’s African American population is only one in four Oaklanders, African Americans represent about three out of four of its homeless.

“Families are being displaced. They are being separated from their communities and we want to keep them here in Oakland. We are focused on neighborhoods whose rents have increased by up to 90%,” said Logan McDonnell of Bay Area Community Services.

The ultimate goal: learn from this experiment and take it from pilot to politics to permanent.

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“And then it’s our hope one day that this pilot will no longer be a pilot, but it’s a way thousands of other people across the state of California can be accommodated,” said Janasha Higgins of Tipping Point Community Services.

“Frankly, a system that allows families to go to bed every night without fear of losing the most basic human need: shelter,” Mayor Schaaf said.

America itself was made rich and powerful by its diversity of people, thoughts and contributions. Oakland is fighting to preserve this treasure chest of human capital.


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