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Economy

Richmond’s homeless community hangs on as Prop 2 promises limited new funding

At the corner of 22nd Street and Carlson Boulevard in Richmond sits a homeless encampment where the unofficial mayor, Oretha “Porkchop” Stevens, is calming down her next-door neighbor Tone. His phone is missing and Porkchop works to reassure him.  “You’re not crazy, you know where you put your stuff! Don’t play with your own mind,” she says with authority, perched on the bed inside her tent from where she presides all day over her dozen neighbors’ lives. She and her…

New Tenant Ordinances To Help Low Income Residents

The Richmond City Council decided last Tuesday to start drafting two new ordinances to help low income tenants find housing in Richmond. The council was responding to a proposal put forward by Vice Mayor Melvin Willis and several groups. It will make it cheaper for tenants to apply for rental housing and also outlaw discrimination against residents using housing choice vouchers, also known as Section 8, named after section 8 of a decades old federal law that assists very low-income…

Calling it a ‘sick pig,’ residents urge reopening of Point Molate settlement

Audible gasps spread through the Richmond City Council meeting on Tuesday when it was announced that nearly 50 people had signed up to speak during the public comment period, most about the city’s most valuable piece of shoreline that is once again the subject of tense debate. The gasps foreshadowed some colorful comments from the residents who blasted city officials about how they approved a settlement agreement for the prized shoreline, known as Point Molate. Richmond resident Juan Reardon denounced…

Mayor promises long-term homeless plan, but surprise evictions of Richmond’s homeless continue

As city workers continue to uproot the homeless from encampments around Richmond, at times without any warning or help, Mayor Tom Butt is pushing to raise $1.5 million from local companies to pay for a managed homeless encampment. He has asked several local companies, including Chevron Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Apron, Costco Wholesale and Sims Metal Management to donate $154,000 each—to build and run a camp serving 100 people for a year. As a group of homeless people were being…

Proposed housing developments promise to transform downtown Richmond

A series of recently proposed housing developments along Macdonald Avenue in downtown Richmond could spur a business renaissance in the struggling district if city and local business leaders’ predictions ring true. In a city desperate for affordable housing, the developments reserve only about one quarter of the total number of units for residents making below the median income. The rest of the apartments would be rented at market rates. Still, Richmond leaders are supporting the proposals on land that has…

Lawsuit challenging Point Molate settlement to proceed

In U.S. District Court on Tuesday, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers called the years of legal battles over the scenic stretch of shoreline called Point Molate, “a tragedy for a city like the city of Richmond.” But still, Rogers said, she was inclined to allow the court case challenging a recent settlement between the city and casino developers to proceed because, “the law requires that i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, and it’s not clear to me that that was done.”

The battle over rent control in the East Bay

As rents and home prices continue to skyrocket across California, a major ballot fight is brewing between tenants and the real estate industry over the state rent control law Costa Hawkins. The law prohibits cities from implementing rent control on single family homes as well as homes or apartments built after 1995 (or the year the city passed it’s rent control law, which, in Oakland, is 1983), resulting in 100% or more rent increases for tenants in these dwellings. The…

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