Low-income housing units lost in Oakland, study shows

Anti-eviction Mapping Project shows how housing for poor people is being replaced with housing for tech workers

Hundreds of low-cost residential hotel rooms have been lost in Oakland in just the past year, likely driving many people into homelessness, a new report by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project shows.

This is an ad for what was once an SRO for low-icnome people

The report, based on public records, demonstrates the impact that the tech boom, based in San Francisco and the Peninsula, has had on the city across the Bay, which has historically been home to working-class people of color:

Single Room Occupancy hotels, traditionally available to those on fixed or very low incomes are being marketed to new arrivals and tech industry workers, exacerbating the housing crisis and exploding homeless population in Oakland.  

Hundreds of rooms have been lost in the last year at the Sutter, Travelers, and other single room occupancy (SRO) hotels.  The extractive model of financial speculation has reached into every form of housing in the San Francisco Bay Area, and homelessness has risen exponentially.  Real estate speculators such as Danny Haber, James Kilpatrick and Los Angeles based Hawkins Capital have gained control of the buildings and are currently converting their use in spite of a temporary moratorium.  

The report goes through several of the places that used to house low-income people, starting with the Traveler’s Hotel, bought by “housing disruptors” Danny Haber and Alon Gutman. After the purchase, the owners did substantial renovations; in the end, rent-controlled tenants were forced out (or bought out for small sums); the place is now advertised as “gorgeous apartments” with software-engineer housemates.

The 38-unit Fremont Hotel, the report notes, has been upgraded since its purchase by James Kilpatrick – and the new owner wants to rent to a more upscale clientele than the current low-income Chinese residents.

Then there’s the Sutter Hotel, which is being converted from an SRO into a boutique tourist establishment – possibly, the East Bay Express reports, in direct violation of the city’s moratorium on such conversions.

The list goes on and on.

San Francisco has pretty strict rules on SRO hotel conversions – and still, prices are going up and low-income units are getting lost. And for all the talk of building new housing units, nobody is going to build new SROs. There’s not enough return for the speculative vultures who really control housing policy in the United States.

Happy new year.

80 COMMENTS

  1. And so wages will go up, and people will bid up the price of what used to be middle income housing.

    If someone with more money than you have can’t find a place to live that he likes, he will be perfectly willing to settle for second-best, which happens to be your home, which he can outbid you for.

  2. Yes, that’s me. I have so much power that, single-handedly, I squandered the legacy of one generation and ruined the lives of those in subsequent generations.

  3. Anti-LBTBQ, eh? Are we taking off the gloves? 🙂

    Your link shows how the plural pronoun can be used in a sentence certain times once the singular pronoun has been introduced. Your proposal doesn’t pan out.

    Like I said before, Tim Leary created a whole system of gender neutral language and pronouns — you can read it in his book from the 60’s called “Info-Psychology.”

    I live in D5. Wouldn’t that be ‘nativism’ your espousing there?

    1750 McAllister is in my back yard here in northern panhandle. That’s where I vote. 10 stories of pure subsidized housing. Check it out.

  4. “They” meaning the they that move to Oakland. I agree, the young professionals moving to Oakland probably will not be able to afford my neighborhood until their careers advance and they have an employed spouse. Most who brought recently are dual income households. Most were in their late 30’s or early 40’s with school-age children. They outgrew their condos or apartments.

  5. “They are welcome to move into my neighborhood. I am happy to have them.”

    But since, you don’t want to allow them to have affordable housing in your neighborhood, I suppose you’d be “happy” to have them live on the streets.

  6. “Do Something Nice”,

    So says the self-entitled NIMBY Baby Boomer who squandered the legacy of the Greatest Generation.

    That’s rich.

  7. People require housing.
    Who do you propose to choke and how exactly do you propose to implement your program of violence?

  8. “You told me this same shit, and the pronouns are not grammatically correct as you’ve proposed them.”

    So says the cis-gendered anti-LGTBQ “Rosh HoshHosh”.

    Do you even live in San Francisco?
    Ever heard of “gender-neutral”?

  9. Yes, Kraus needs to fess up. Kraus is that mad YIMBY woman who is running for supe in District 6. Either that, or it’s Chris Daly trolling again. The People will decide.

  10. Poor people pay a lot of sales tax. But little income tax, given that income taxes don’t kick in until you earn $19,000 per annum.

  11. I’m so sorry. You are right. I was upset because Raggazu wrote above that I was a troll after I had disagreed with him/her. I will be more civilized in the future. And one would hope that he/she will stop screaming “troll” every time an opposing view is expressed. Can we agree on that, Rosh?

  12. Tech companies congregate because this is where the workers are. Why are you against the Bay Area being a real place instead of endless suburbia? We’re talking about 4 story apartment buildings instead of 1 story single family homes.

  13. As long as we can keep our ideologies and policies divided and partisan — that is what is really important. Your work is crucial, Porfirio. One question — why do you call Raggazu Raggy?

  14. Don’t forget SF just erected the largest office building west of the Sears Tower. Maybe we’ve put the cart before the horse?

  15. Are you insinuating poor people in CA don’t pay income taxes?

    And when was this that the bay area saved CA from bankruptcy?

    Back it up or pack it up Watson Ladd.

  16. You told me this same shit, and the pronouns are not grammatically correct as you’ve proposed them. How long do you really think you can hang out in the comments before people figure out who you are? Maybe it’s time to come clean?

    Bust down the door and come out swinging. Let’s see what you got.

  17. The kids who grow up here can stay. Kids who grow up elsewhere cannot. I think your average NIMBY would with that.
    ….

  18. I agree that we should facilitate housing over office construction. How is that going to reduce housing demand in San Francisco, again?

  19. What a shamefully fickle statement. Ignorant nonsense.

    Dictionary.com is here. Wikimedia is here. Anyone can literally look up the answer to basically any thing you want via Google. It’s not all Uber for dogs.

  20. Oh, I see. It is the responsibility of the Bay Area to save the California economy. And there is no other place in California to build office space and housing except the Bay Area.

    Why should people in Fresno have opportunities? We need to have all tech companies move to the Bay Area.

  21. Choke demand by freezing all current office building development and not approving any new projects. Suing other cities that support office building development but don’t allow housing to be built. s

    Choke demand by forcing companies to move to where economic development is needed.

  22. No, because the bay area has a booming economy that saved CA from bankruptcy. Who do you think pays income tax in CA, poor people?

  23. Imagine for a moment if we had lots of 1 BR apartments. Would tech workers want to live in these SROs instead?

  24. “Choke the demand.” And how do you propose doing that? Closing the border a la Trump? Buying property with public funds and building housing for Tim Redmond and other people who are already here a la Tim R.?
    -It is impossible to depress housing demand. The only solution is to build, build, build. Gov. Brown understands that.

  25. Local govmint just hasn’t come up with a way to make private parties pay for public accommodations – to the extent that they’d like. Sure, rent control proves useful, if a blunt tool (plenty of hi-income individuals sheltered in RC units).

    But some situations require an actual pay-out. To the extent gov. can’t get private parties to do this, they’d rather ignore that problem.

    I guess asking the tax-payers to cover anywhere near the real costs would be so overwhelmingly negative to the taxpayers, or such an admission of inadequacy of the gate-keepers, as to completely thwart their desires and intentions.

  26. I would hope government social workers and community organizations funded by tax money would help former residents of these SRO’s find other housing or help them relocate to a lower cost area.

  27. Yeah, finally we can start discussing population control. Two children limit, vasectomies provided for free from Medicare. Let’s discuss this.

  28. Yes, but you ‘free market’ types always focus on the supply. Choke the demand and the supply is no longer an issue.

  29. They can come but they won’t find a place to live unless they can afford it. If not, they will leave.

  30. Zoning could prevent retail from becoming office use. Those controls are already in place in neighborhood commercial streets. Or at least they require conditional use.

  31. People were moving to SF and the rest of the bay area long before there was an office space boom. You belabor under this illusion that the answer is “don’t build it, and they won’t come.”

    If there was no office space boom, then you’d see small businesses getting displaced and retail space repurposed into offices.

  32. Supply/Demand. Ever heard of that? It population growth is higher than housing-supply growth, the resulting supply shortage drives up prices. Economics 101, dude. Happy New Year!

  33. There is no alt for people on SSI banking $861/mth. Even a room in an SRO will cost more than that, and then there’s food, etc.

    But SRO-type accommodations are the way to go for this group. If you want a private bath or a kitchen or anything other than a bed (private optional?), the cost does (and should) climb precipitously. When it costs $200 to fix a broken glass window, expecting housing for $300/mth is ludicrous.

    Is the problem really housing? or is it the money/income to be able to afford that housing? (of course, it doesn’t help if housing units don’t parallel population growth.)

  34. Raggy just judged the housing crises based on air quality. The air quality would be great throughout California if everybody except Native Americans went back to where they came from. Right, Rags?
    -Also, there are lots of ethnic neighborhoods in the L.A. basin, and the % of residence who are non-white is higher in L.A. than here in S.F, where the NIMBYs run the show.

  35. OK, OK. I just think it’s really funny when someone gets information from a blog that couldn’t have existed a few years ago and expresses their own thoughts to others on Disqus and then they say that “the tech industry is meaningless”, as if they could do these things without the tech industry.

    Yeah, you could read a limited weekly print version of the SFBG and then write a letter to the editor.

    I just think it’s funny. Have a happy New Year!

  36. “Do Something Nice”,

    A mini-tutorial in basic economics:

    Consistently restricting the supply of housing through NIMBYism causes upward pressure on the price of housing (i.e., both land and improvements).

    The increased cost of housing — being the single greatest household expense — therefore increases the cost of labor.
    The increased cost of labor (e.g. construction labor), therefore increases the cost of producing housing.

    Rinse and repeat this exercise over 4 decades, due to NIMBY political hegemony, and one has “created” the current housing crisis.

    Fortunately YIMBY political power is ascendent and we are putting an end to your nonsense.

  37. The tech industry is meaningless. The monetize content created by others. They contribute nothing, and your example would be similar to congratulating the paper industry for print journalism.

  38. Yes, it is NIMBYism and not the price of land or the cost of building that has slowed development. Or something.

  39. By reversal, are you implying that the office buildings should be converted to affordable housing? That is a very good idea.

  40. California in 1954 had a population of 12.75 million and produced 207,903 units of housing that year.

    California in 2016 had a population of 39.25 million and only produced 100,961 units of housing.

    California , due to the NIMBYism that you espouse, isn’t anywhere near producing enough new housing — even for the children of current residents; much less migrants.

  41. Yeah, unlike the refrigerator, antibiotics, and Macy’s liberal return policy, Disqus has changed society for the better.

  42. Contributes absolutely. nothing.

    I mean…it’s not as if you are using Disqus to comment on a blog that uses Google to generate advertising revenue. A blog that uses Twitter and Facebook also…

    Oh…wait…never mind.

  43. Only because SF allowed hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space to be built.

    That nonsense needs to stop now and possibly should be reversed.

  44. Yes, Los Angeles, that edenic paradise of fresh air and neighborhood character. Boy, those NIMBYs really did a number down there.

  45. Raggy thinks anyone who disagree with her must be a troll. The Economist on Los Angeles housing:
    “In 1960 Los Angeles had a population of 2.5m and a capacity for 10m residents. By 2010 the city’s population had swelled to nearly 4m, but zoning and legislation had reduced its capacity to 4.3m.”

    “A good place to start is for politicians never again to utter the words ‘preserve neighbourhood character’,” says Jan Breidenbach of the University of Southern California. “In reality what they’re saying is, ‘Keep out’.”

    In short: NIMBYs created the statewide housing shortage. And YIMBYs will solve it. Viva el YIMBYismo! Viva la revolucion!

    https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21717976-after-50-years-campaigns-against-growth-nearly-half-city-zoned-single-family

  46. Well, in the absence of new construction in SF, people move into existing units in SF that are currently lived in by low income people. When those fill up, they move to Oakland. And with little construction in Oakland, they will go on to move into the units currently lived in by low-income people.

    You don’t have to build more housing if you don’t want to. But if you rent, keep in mind that people are perfectly happy to move into your or your neighbor’s home in the absence of other options.

  47. San Francisco needs to be bulldozed to allow the construction of hundreds of Hong Kong-style highrises so 20-somethings who have been ridiculously coddled by well-intentioned but clueless parents for their entire lives should not have to suffer not getting what they want for the first time in their lives. Or something.

  48. “This is what happens when there is no new construction.”

    If that were true, L.A. would have cheap rents and nobody would be displaced.

  49. This is how housing works. Do you think tech workers WANT to live in residential hotels? No, of course not. They wanted to move into new apartments. However, in the absence of other options, they will move into what used to be homes of low-income people. Heck, they probably don’t even want to live in Oakland in the first place, but they couldn’t find anyplace to live in SF.

    This is what happens when there is no new construction.