The Eastlake neighborhood is a vibrant community that represents Oakland’s economic and racial diversity. It is home to long-time cultural institutions and local small businesses like Intertribal Friendship House, Suigetsukan Dojo, Champa Garden, Rockin’ Crawfish, and La Estrellita Restaurant and Bar. Additionally, it is one of the last affordable neighborhoods surrounding Lake Merritt.
Median incomes in the area are $38,363 for a family of four. More than 75 percent of Eastlake residents are renters, and more than 75 percent are low or very-low income. Oakland is experiencing an alarming rise in rent and home sale prices and as a result, long-time, working class residents and people of color are being pushed out of the city. Oakland is now ranked the nation’s fifth most expensive rental market. According to the Housing Equity Roadmap, published in 2015:
- From 2000 to 2010, Oakland’s African American population decreased by 24 percent;
- The number of children declined by 16.7 percent between 2000 and 2010, and Oakland Unified School District has lost more than 10,000 students in the last decade.
- The median income for African American, Latino, and Asian households in Oakland has declined since 2000. Citywide, White households had nearly double the median household income of any other racial or ethnic group, and Oakland was recently ranked as having the seventh-highest income inequality among cities in the nation
- The majority of current Oakland residents could not afford to rent or purchase homes at the current prices in their neighborhoods.
As the RoadMap says: “The housing affordability gap has impacted Oakland’s diversity, which is an explicit value in the city’s mission statement. When we lose our long-time residents who have been the heart and memory of our neighborhoods and city, part of the soul of Oakland is lost.”
The E 12th Wishlist Design Team / SAHA proposal has been crafted to blend seamlessly with and augment the Eastlake neighborhood’s incredible diversity, while showing what visionary, communityled leadership can look like in the face of a housing crisis. It is an invitation, rather than a rebuttal, to the community.
The E 12th Wishlist Design Team / SAHA proposal maximizes the public use of public land, and helps the City of Oakland meet the recommendations outlined by the Housing Equity Roadmap for prioritizing public lands for affordable housing.
The enclosed proposal is an effort to uplift the character and longtime residents of the Eastlake neighborhood, while promoting development that meets expressed community needs without exacerbating displacement. It was created through an authentic community engagement process and complies with state Surplus Lands Act.
The E 12th Wishlist Design Team / SAHA proposal can be a winwin partnership between the City and residents, establish the City’s leadership in creating innovative new affordable housing developments, and set the tone for future developments on public land throughout the City of Oakland.