Heart of the Bay is under a housing crisis


Darin Moriki/Bay Area News Group

Tennyson Gardens, a 96-unit rental housing complex in South Hayward, is seen here in this Nov. 29 file photo. An Eden Housing plan to renovate Tennyson Gardens and the 62-unit Faith Manor apartment complex nearby is among a list of initiatives being eyed by the city council to sustain affordable housing efforts. (Darin Moriki/Bay Area News Group)

Erika Martinez,
Staff Writer

Being able to only speak Spanish, Hayward resident Maria Osegura walked to the podium with an English translator, and complained to Hayward City Council members.

“The manager said that I had to pay that entire amount which was over $2,000, and if I didn’t then they would bring a lawyer and would evict me within three days,” Osegura said.

Osegura was one of the many Hayward residents that brought up the housing crisis and tenant’s rights issues on the evening of Feb. 6 at a council meeting in Hayward City Hall.

According to Osegura, who lives in the Aloha Apartments, she was charged too much on her utilities bill. “I was gone for the entire month of December, the bill that arrived from November 30th to December 30th was $342, and I returned January fourth,” she stated. When she did not agree to pay that high amount during her absence, it was added to her monthly rent, which resulted in more than $2,000.

For fear of eviction, she ended up paying the amount. “They’re working on the apartments right now which takes water, takes electricity, and they’re charging us, the people that live there for those costs to cover,” she protested.

Matilde Lara, another tenant from Aloha Apartments, also complained about bills being excessively high. “I’ve received a bill for almost $400, some people have received trash bills for over $100,” she stated, with the help of a translator as well.

Lara helplessly asked council members for assistance, saying, “I can’t afford this much money for bills, my check isn’t that much.” For four hours, Mayor Barbara Halliday, along with council members, listened to the hardships that the Hayward community has been experiencing in regards to high rent and bill increases. Many of these people were working class who insist they cannot afford any more costly expenses.

City manager Kelly McAdoo and assistant city manager Maria Hurtado gave a presentation on what has been done to solve the housing crisis in Hayward, and what is planned to be done by the end of 2018.

According to them, they have updated the city’s Ordinance Regulating Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), a separated housing unit within a family home and updated and revised the Affordable Housing Ordinance.

They plan to review rent stabilization ordinance, which sets a maximum rate for annual rent increases, and look into housing affordability strategies on Feb. 6. On April 30, they plan to issue a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for affordable rental housing development projects.

Their achievements in the past year have been the creation of 151 affordable units for seniors and families in Alta Mira Apartments and creation of a housing division.

Yet these plans and achievements were soon inundated and dismissed with the plenty stories of dissatisfaction that Hayward residents had with their living expenses.

Since 2011, Hayward rent has been increasing uncontrollably; 57.3 percent of Hayward renters experience a housing cost burden, where more than 30 percent of their income is spent on housing, according to the new housing manager, Christina Morales.

Morales gave a brief presentation on what protections the City of Hayward offers. Hayward has eviction protection, adjustment banking, rent registration, pass through, rent control, mediation and mobile rent control. But it does not have relocation assistance or harassment protection.

According to a survey done by McAdoo and staff on Jan. 10, the most critical issues facing Hayward renters are high rents, rising rent cost and availability of affordable rental units. In this survey, tenants suggested stricter rent control, limit of rental increase and more affordable rental units.

From a landlord and property owner’s perspective, another survey was done on Jan. 17, where it was found that even landlords admitted that living in the Bay Area is too expensive.

“In 2017, the average monthly rent for one bedroom apartments required an annual income of $72,000 per year to be considered affordable,” Morales stated. That is unaffordable to over half of the Hayward renters.