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Building Back Affordably: Meeting the Needs of CA's Housing Shortage

Dear Friends,

As we begin the New Year, my office is focused on combating the major housing shortage facing California. For perspective, Alameda County has issued permits for only 23% of the 16,516 new housing units needed in the coming years for families earning less than $100,000 a year. While the state has made sizable investments to grow affordable housing and respond to homelessness, investing $21 billion from 2018 to 2023, the number of unhoused residents has grown, largely due to the scarcity of affordable housing.

A state-wide comparison shows that cities with the largest unhoused populations often have higher median rental prices and lower vacancy rates, indicating that housing prices, more than any other factor, are driving homelessness. In 2023 alone, the CA Legislature passed 56 bills to rebuild the state's housing market by cutting red tape, lowering the cost of building, increasing tenant protections, and keeping older homes on the market.

One such law, SB 4, will allow churches and universities to build housing on their property by-right starting this year, enabling faster development timelines and lower prices. My office is currently working with community groups to see how this strategy can be applied to other institutions with surplus land, including school districts, to unlock the potential of affordable workforce housing.

Other laws taking effect include: SB 684, which streamlines approval of up to 10 multi-family housing units in appropriately zoned vacant lots; SB 567, which creates an accountable framework to enforce tenants protections and block miss-used no-fault just cause evictions; and ACA 1, a potential amendment to the California Constitution to make it easier for municipalities to enact affordable housing and infrastructure bonds.

For those struggling with housing insecurity, I know that assistance cannot come soon enough. Within this newsletter, I’ve included local housing resources and free legal aid to support you in this time of need. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at (510) 286-1670 if you need on the ground service referrals.

Yours in Service,

Assemblymember Bonta signature

Mia Bonta
Assemblymember, 18th District

In this newsletter, you'll find the following information:

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Section 1: Statewide Housing Grants and Opportunities

Section 1A: HCD Notice of Funding Calendar


Interested in partnering with the State of California to develop and invest in new housing opportunities?

Visit the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) Notice of Funding Calendar to view a timeline of California grants and funding opportunities.

View currently active HCD grants.

Section 1B: Encampment Resolution Funding (ERF) Program Round 3

Business Consumer Services and Housing Agency Logo

The lack of affordable housing continues to force individuals to live on the street or in encampments across California. As part of the state’s response, the California Interagency Council on Homelessness launched the Encampment Resolution Funding (ERF) Program – a $350 million competitive grant program available to assist local jurisdictions in ensuring the wellness and safety of people experiencing homelessness in encampments. It will provide services that address immediate physical and mental wellness and result in meaningful paths to safe and stable housing.

The ERF program will fund actionable, person-centered local proposals seeking to aid people residing in encampments. Eligible applicants include counties, Continuums of Care (CoCs), and cities of any size.

Funding is currently available for Round 3 of the ERF Program until June 30, 2024, or until program funds are exhausted.

Section 1C: Oakland’s Early Funding Request for Homekey Round 4 and Rapid Response Homeless Housing (R2H2) Program

City of Oakland Housing and Community Development Banner

In anticipation of the State's fourth Homekey application cycle in 2024, the City is seeking proposals for permanent and/or interim affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness through the City of Oakland Homekey & Rapid Response Homeless Housing (R2H2) RFP.

The City selects projects/sponsors to co-apply with to the State Homekey NOFA. The City will be the lead applicant on all Oakland Homekey projects. Teams must co-apply with the City and cannot apply to the State Homekey NOFA outside of the City's RFP process.

Proposals are due Thursday, February 29, 2024 at 4 p.m.

Section 1D: California Climate Action

California Climate Action logo

Interested in participating in one of California’s climate change mitigation programs like Zero-emission vehicle tax credits or home energy programs?

California has launched a new website – California Climate Action – to serve as a one-stop shop for statewide climate grants for California residents. Access home energy programs, including discounts, efficient appliance rebates, and solar panel assistance.

Section 2: Local Tenant Resources

Section 2A: Legal Services for Tenants

  • Centro Legal De La Raza

Since 1969, Centro Legal has provided eviction defense representation, legal clinics, consultations, and resources.

You can learn more at their website, by calling (510) 437-1554, or by emailing Spanish-speaking services are available.

  • Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach

Founded in 1975, API Legal Outreach seeks to keep vulnerable tenants and homeowners in their homes through holistic education and legal services, offering eviction defense and foreclosure prevention.

You can learn more at their website, or by calling (510) 251-2846.

  • East Bay Community Center

Provides assistance with defense of eviction/unlawful detainer cases, Section 8/Housing Authority termination hearings, general counseling on tenants’ rights assistance to individuals to represent themselves, public outreach/education trainings, rental assistance program consultations and referrals, rent board hearings, and COVID-19 Resources for Renters on Eviction & Eviction Moratorium.

You can learn more at their website, by calling (510) 548-4040 ext. 201, or by emailing

  • Eviction Defense Center

Provides legal consultation and assistance at free or reduced/low-cost to tenants in Alameda County facing eviction.

You can learn more at their website or by calling (510) 452-4541. Spanish-speaking services are available.

  • Bay Area Legal Aid

Supports low-income families against escalating eviction, displacement, and housing discrimination.

You can learn more at their website or by calling (510) 663-4744 or 1(888) 382-3405. Multiple language services are available.

Section 2B: Oakland Housing Rent Adjustment Program Housing Counselors

The city and Oakland’s Rent Adjustment Program (RAP) are working together to offer access to housing counselors to assist tenants with questions or issues regarding rent increases and city-wide housing law. Tenants may challenge a rent increase through the RAP program if they believe the increase is more than legally allowed.

The Rent Adjustment Program’s Housing Counselors are available by phone Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to answer any RAP or housing-related inquiries. Topics can be, but are not limited to, tenant and property owner issues and concerns, Oakland rental housing laws, or how to file petitions or responses with RAP. Calls are generally limited to 10 minutes per person.

To contact Oakland’s Housing Counselors, call (510) 238-3721 or email

Section 3: Unhoused Support Services

Section 3A: Alameda County 211

If you are seeking shelter and housing assistance, please call 211 to be referred to a Housing Resource Center. 211 acts as a county resource referral center, tracking available housing, shelter, food, health resources, and much more.

For assistance finding emergency shelter, you can call 888-886-9660 or text 898211 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Section 3B:  Homeless Action Center

Founded in 1990, the mission of the Homeless Action Center is to provide free high-quality public benefits advocacy to unhoused and disabled residents of Alameda County. HAC’s vision is a society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, everyone receives determined and rigorous pursuit of their legal rights, and basic needs such as housing and health care are recognized both as individual rights and community obligations.

Access benefits advocacy, drop-in services, or transitional housing support by calling (510) 695-2260.

Section 3C: East Oakland Community Project

East Oakland Community Project cares for individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Oakland and Alameda County through residential programs and intentional community-based initiatives that encourage rapid re-housing.

For more information on EOCP, you can call (510) 532-3211 for emergency supportive housing.

Section 3D: Bay Area Community Service

Bay Area Community Services (BACS) offers 24/7 residential programs across the Bay Area, addressing mental health and housing crises with expertise and compassion. BACS provides a short-term place for people in crisis to stay, from two weeks to six months, while our team works with them to meet individualized goals.

BACS Residential Services include recuperative care, supportive sheltering, rapid rehousing and mental health crisis treatment.

You can access BACS services by calling 510-613-0330 or emailing

Section 4:  Homeowner Resources

Section 4A: Earthquake Brace + Bolt Program

Registration is now OPEN for the Earthquake Brace + Bolt Program!

Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) is a grant program that provides eligible California homeowners up to $3,000 toward a residential seismic retrofit. The purpose is to help homeowners lessen the potential for damage to their houses during an earthquake by "bracing" the crawl space, when necessary, and "bolting" the foundation to the house's frame. EBB has helped thousands of California homeowners complete retrofits. EBB also offers an additional Supplemental Grant to help income-eligible homeowners pay for a seismic retrofit.

Section 4B: California Mortgage Relief

If you’ve struggled with missed mortgage payments, late property taxes, loan deferrals, partial claims, or other homeowner financial hardships, you may qualify for assistance from the California Mortgage Relief Program.

The California Mortgage Relief Program has already provided millions of dollars in critical assistance to thousands of California homeowners struggling with financial hardships. This government program is free and here to help.

For more information, please call 1-888-840-2594.

Section 4C: Low-income Landlord Assistance

Alameda County Law Library logo

The Alameda County Law Library is hosting a Low-income Landlord Assistance seminar to provide more information on how to conduct move-out agreements. 

This presentation will help landlords in Alameda County understand their rights and duties when they are trying to negotiate a move-out agreement with a tenant. The presenter will spend time talking about Oakland agreements, which have special rules that must be followed, as well as minimum relocation costs that must be offered.

Landlords can also receive assistance via the Legal Access Alameda Low-income Landlord Callback Clinic.

Where: Online Webinar

When: February 15, 2024 at 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

If you’d like to attend, please register for the event. For more information, please view this flyer.

Section 5: Alameda County Housing Survey

Section 5A: Alameda County Housing Survey

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Want to share your housing story in Alameda County?

As part of Alameda County Housing & Community Development (HCD)’s commitment to equity and community engagement, Alameda County is surveying how the community has been impacted by high housing costs. This information will help set county-wide priorities for tackling housing issues and determine what steps to take in order to build a better future for Alameda County.

Please let Alameda County know what your housing needs are.