According to a recent Housing and Community Development Department report on housing construction in Oakland, only two percent of the thousands of building permits approved last year were for affordable housing. In 2015, only 16 percent of the 771 building permits that were issued were affordable for low-income residents. Last year, the city changed rules which required developers to include some affordable housing in their projects or pay an impact fee to help build them somewhere else, and zoning regulations were relaxed to encourage more secondary housing units. However, as the housing construction report shows, not enough affordable housing units are being built in Oakland. Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney stated,
Oakland and California did not plan well for the recovery. There is space and room in this town for poor people not to be displaced and for wealthy people to and their welcome. I want Oakland to be the first city to have economic revival that is not removal. What you see in the report is we haven’t made it happen yet.
Several housing advocates have criticized the city for failing to help out low-income residents. Most of the projects that are currently being built were exempt from the impact fee because the council only applied the fee to newly proposed projects. Housing advocates argue that because of the council’s decision, the city has probably not collected any significant revenue from the impact fee. It is going to be interesting to see how Oakland fixes their affordable housing issue because it could get worse if it is not addressed.