Affordable Housing Advocates Encourage Support Of Measure A-1

FREMONT (CBS SF) — Some desperately needed affordable housing that just opened up in Fremont has backers of a county ballot measure hoping this is just the beginning.

It’s been a while since veteran Eugene Barnett has worn a suit. Barnett was homeless. Drug addiction cost him his house, his marriage and his son.

But now he’s a new man: sober, motivated and living in a new home at Laguna Commons in Fremont that is 100 percent affordable.

Having a home means Barnett could soon reunite with his 5-year-old son who is currently in foster care.

“Hopefully that will be my Christmas present; my son coming here and spending Christmas with me permanently,” said Barnett.

Fellow veteran Garry Ayraud also lived on the streets for four years.

“Just a relief. I don’t got to worry,” said Ayraud. “A lot less worry about safety and not having a place to go.”

Housing advocates say those stories are why they hope they’ll get to celebrate more affordable units in the future.

They’re urging Alameda County voters to pass measure A-1, which would tax homeowners to pay for affordable housing.

Measure A-1 will bring in $580 million and we think will create thousands of homes, said Gloria Bruce with East Bay Housing Organizations. Most of the $580 million would be used to build affordable apartments like the Laguna Commons.

The Fremont complex has 64 units. Many tenants were homeless. The 25 veterans living there will pay 30 percent of their income. The remaining families pay $1,000 to $1,300 a month.

There’s no formal opposition to A-1, but there are plenty of homeowners fed up with higher property taxes.

“I’m all for affordable housing. But I don’t think it should be funded through bond measures,” said Fremont voter Lisa Tucker.

Measure A-1 needs a two-thirds majority to to pass in Alameda County.

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