Modern new affordable housing project opens in East Bay

This article is originally from KCBS Radio, written by Matt Bigler.

Truly affordable housing continues to be the holy grail in the Bay Area.

One new project on the Oakland-Emeryville border is filling some of that need. The Estrella Vista building is a striking high-rise that does not look like your average affordable housing project.

“I wish your radio viewers could see just how beautiful this space is. Not just the buildings but the outdoor spaces,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

The building has 87 units with rents that range from $600-2,000.

“Studio, more one bedrooms, a bunch of two bedrooms, a bunch of three bedrooms,” said Emeryville City Councilmember Scott Donahue of the project.

The project cost $64 million.

“The fact that four public agencies came together to fund this project should send an inspiring message to the whole world that when we come together we can tackle homelessness and housing insecurity,” said Schaaf. “And rents are kept at a level where families don’t have to spend more than 30% of their income. That’s the definition of affordable housing,”

Donohue says it was completed just in time, because the pandemic has exacerbated the issue of housing insecurity.

“The number of people who need affordable housing has never been higher, from my understanding,” he said.

But demand remains high and Donohue says it will continue to be the region’s main challenge.

“It’s the crisis of our time, really, if you look at our urban area. We want to function as an urban area. If we don’t provide affordable housing I don’t see how we’re going to do that.”

The city’s next project, housing for the homeless, is in the planning stages.

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