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As residential units rise on the waterfront at Brooklyn Basin after years of construction, the fact that 15 percent of these units will be characterized as affordable is a hopeful sign for Oakland, given the city’s housing and homelessness crisis.
Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Adrianne Todman toured some of the completed units at Brooklyn Basin on Tuesday and spoke with Oakland officials, including Mayor Libby Schaaf, about Oakland’s housing supply, homelessness challenges and community development goals.
The deputy secretary’s visit to the Bay Area included a roundtable discussion Tuesday afternoon and culminated Wednesday with a visit to San Francisco.
“It’s hard work to build affordable housing,” Todman said. “This is a good example of how to increase housing supply equitably.”
When the 62-acre Brooklyn Basin is complete, 3,100 units of housing will be added to Oakland’s stock and 465 of those will be characterized as affordable.
Todman toured Vista Estero and Paseo Estero, two of the three completed affordable residential buildings at Brooklyn Basin. Foon Lok West, another building of affordable units, is also complete and people are moving in.
The fourth and final affordable housing component at Brooklyn Basin is Foon Lok East, which begins construction next week.
“Shelter is a basic human need,” said Mayor Schaaf, following the tour of the two buildings.
She noted that only 13 percent of California residents ever get a housing choice voucher.
The tour took Todman, Schaaf and other community leaders to the home of Brooklyn Basin resident Estrecia Warner in Paseo Estero, which was built for families.
Warner said she loves the light in her apartment, which has a sliding glass door to the living room.
“It’s nice,” she said of her new home. “It’s peaceful.”
Her son enjoys riding his bike outside and playing in his room, he said.
The building also has a learning center designed to look and feel like a classroom to enhance the learning of kindergarten through sixth graders.
“This looks so alive and friendly,” Todman said of the center.
Vista Estero is a 110-unit building designed for seniors. Paseo Estero has 101 apartments characterized as affordable. MidPen Housing is developing the affordable housing portion of Brooklyn Basin.