Re-Fund Good Housing, Good Jobs, Public Services & Culture in Oakland NOW

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We are living in a time of unprecedented growth in our city.  It’s time that long-term residents benefit from that growth and the city choose the side of our communities over big developers and wealthy interests. We are calling on the city to truly reinvest in our communities by redirecting money that criminalizes our residents back into public services. We are calling on the Council to stand up to Big Developers who are profiting off of displacement and instead reinvest in acquiring properties to house our homeless and invest in truly affordable housing for very low to moderate income families.

It is time for our city to have the audacity to redirect money away from large developers who are displacing our communities & redirect resources away from criminalizing our homeless and unhoused and the city’s young people and reinvest those dollars into stopping displacement, protecting workers & maintaining our city’s rich and diverse arts and cultural movement. As we all know, Oakland is at the height of gentrification and displacement.  Long term residents are being pushed out of our homes, jobs are not paying nearly enough to match the cost of living, and everyday we see more and more tents popping up as the number of homeless people grows.  But you all are proposing to fill budget gaps by selling public lands to build luxury housing, instead of pressing developers to create housing and jobs that will actually benefit long-time Oakland residents and address the homeless crisis.

Therefore, we the ReFund Oakland Community-Labor Coalition propose this Community-Labor Budget Priority for 2017-19:

1. Reinvest in Housing for ALL

  • Reinvest in  long-term residents in Oakland by directing resources, including Measure KK Bond Measure funds, to create a “Building Acquisition Fund,” to preserve long term, affordable housing throughout Oakland  including “Single Resident Occupancy” Hotels (SROs) and/or rehab of of underutilized or vacant properties to house homeless populations currently living  under increasingly  dangerous conditions and acquiring tenant-occupied buildings to prevent renter displacement 
  • ReInvest in housing for all by supporting the  development of Homeless “Navigation Centers” or one-stop shops that combine shelter with access to resources and assistance in targeted parts of the City, beginning with East Oakland, West Oakland & Downtown that can be funded using County dollars
  • Divest from criminalization of the homeless and unhoused and ReInvest in services by redirecting funds from the OPD that dehumanize citizens and destroy encampments to funding activities that  connect unhoused people to resources and housing including counselors, health care and general assistance  
  • ReInvest in keeping Renters in Oakland by ensuring enforcement of all tenant protection ordinances and Measure JJ including: 
  • 1) Funding multi-language, housing counseling, education, and outreach for tenants, including adequate funding to ensure access to all limited english-speaking communities ($270K);  2) legal eviction defense for tenants & enforcement of the Tenant Protection Ordinance ($1.45M); 3) emergency rental assistance for low-income renters ($500K); 4) housing counseling and legal services for at-risk low-income homeowners ($100K); and 5) emergency housing assistance for at-risk low-income homeowners ($500K).
  • Ensure public land for the public good.  If after a community process, any public land is sold or leased, all proceeds must go to affordable housing and community benefits.  
  • ReInvest money collected from the “Transient Occupancy Tax” of companies like AirBnB, that extract from our economy and increase displacement, towards production & preservation of affordable housing, enforcement of short-term rental regulations and tenant legal services. ($2.4M)

2. Reinvest in Oakland’s Workers

  • Protect low wage workers of color by fully enforcing the City’s Minimum Wage & Paid Sick Day law including the renewal of funding for community-based enforcement and education of workers throughout the City (renew $500K contract; $250K per year for worker education, outreach, and reporting support)
  • Increase workforce development funding to ensure local residents are prepared, placed and retained in family-sustaining careers by fully funding Workforce Development organizations in East & West Oakland including the West Oakland Jobs Resource Center ($900K). 
  • Provide adequate funding for the Day Laborer Program to protect our city’s most vulnerable, low wage workers  ($340K)

3. Reinvest in Public Services

  • ReInvest in infrastructure by  prioritizing repair of crumbling streets and infrastructure in flatland communities that have suffered from years of economic and civic divestment 
  • ReInvest in a livable City by adequately staffing the Public Works Department to pre-recession levels & prioritize addressing blight in flatland communities using a hybrid approach of both proactive and complaint based enforcement
  • ReInvest in accountability, fully and adequately staff the newly established Police Commission by adding $368K to the budget for Police Commission/ Civilian Police Review Agency budgets
  • ReInvest in our youth and young people by increasing funding of Summer Youth Programs. Say YES to more recreation/parks and jobs for youth & provide pathways to future employment! ($320K) 

4. Reinvest in Equity + Culture

  • Reinvest in racial and economic equity by prioritizing additional funding to adequately staff the Department of Race and Equity
  • ReInvest in preserving Oakland’s rich and diverse culture by increasing funding for arts and culture  ($3M over two years for the City’s Cultural Funding Program grantmaking budget)
  • Reinvest in preserving our City’s rich culture by re-establishing Oakland’s Arts and Culture Commission and budget for its operation ($165K)
  • Fund a feasibility and implementation study to establish a Public Bank in Oakland (100K)

The ReFund Coalition is a subcommittee of the The Oakland Citywide Anti-Displacement Network and includes: ACCE Action, APEN, SEIU 1021, IFPTE Local 21, Causa Justa :: Just Cause, CBE, EBASE, EBHO, Oakland Rising, Unite Here 2850, East 12th Coalition, Public Advocates, CURYJ, Street Level Health Project, APTP, Pueblo, Oakland Tenants Union, Our Beloved Community, Oakland Creative Neighborhoods Coalition, and many others