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Lack of affordable housing causing people to get sick in Oakland

August 31, 2016

By : bizjournals – excerpt

The lack of affordable housing in Oakland is causing a multitude of health issues for residents, the East Bay Express reports.

“While the causes and solutions to address the housing crisis are complex, inaction is a prescription for shorter, sicker lives for many of our Alameda County Residents,” wrote Dr. Muntu Davis, Alameda County Health Director, in a policy brief published Tuesday, according to the East Bay Express.

The Alameda County Health Department conducted a survey in conjunction with Bay Area nonprofit PolicyLink. The survey found that residents unable to find affordable housing were overcrowding, spending a disproportionate amount of income on rent, or became homeless, among other outcomes. The direct health effects this has had, according to Davis, are evidenced by the increase in the number of hospitalizations for hypertension, asthma, mental health and other illnesses, the East Bay Express reported.

Oakland has two measures on the 2016 ballot which would help address the affordable housing shortage. Measure KK would provide $600 million in bonds to pay for repairs to aging infrastructure, some of which would go toward improving current affordable housing. Measure A1 would provide $580 million in bonds “to create and retain affordable rental and homeowner housing units and assist existing low-income and vulnerable residents,” according to the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. At least 60 percent of Oakland residents would fall under the income eligibility requirements… (more)

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