Measure O: Affordable Housing Bond
Measure O provides funding for affordable housing projects for low- and middle-income households.
About Measure O
Measure O provides $135 million of funding from bond revenue to pay for affordable housing projects. Berkeley voters passed Measure O in November 2018 with 77.5% approval. The original ballot question read:
Shall the measure to issue $135 million in bonds to create and preserve affordable housing for low-income households, working families, and individuals including teachers, seniors, veterans, the homeless, and persons with disabilities; subject to citizen oversight and independent audits, be adopted?
The City is funding an array of affordable housing projects with $111 million in Measure O funds. These projects will create at least 900 new units and a 44 shelter beds for low- and middle-income individuals, families, seniors, teachers, veterans, formerly unhoused people, and people with disabilities.
The City plans to fund additional projects by issuing a third round of bonds, up to $17 million. City Council has prioritized two projects for the next round of funding: Supportive Housing in People’s Park and St. Paul Terrace.
Progress on affordable housing projects
Affordable housing projects funded by Measure O are providing housing for low- and middle-income members of the Berkeley community. Four projects are complete or substantially complete, creating 177 new units of affordable housing and a 44-bed homeless shelter.
Jordan Court opened in North Berkeley in spring of 2022. This project created 34 affordable studio units for low-income seniors, with 12 set aside for formerly homeless seniors. (Measure O funding: $3.5 million)
Berkeley Way opened in Downtown Berkeley in 2022, and includes three sub-projects that received $13,820,423 in Measure O funding:
- The Hope Center homeless shelter has 32 beds for homeless individuals and 12 transition beds for homeless veterans. (Measure O funding: $6.9 million, including $5.3 million in loans already disbursed)
- The Hope Center permanent supportive housing has 53 apartments for people with disabilities or other special needs who would benefit from support services. (Measure O funding: $6.7 million, including $6.2 million disbursed)
- The Berkeley Way Apartments has 89 units of affordable housing, consisting of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments. (Measure O funding: $179,000)
Three additional projects are in progress (either under construction or in predevelopment with site acquisition completed) and will create 204 units of affordable housing:
- Maudelle Miller Shirek Community in South Berkeley will have 87 units of housing, consisting of studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. (Measure O funding: $12.9 million, including $2.3 million disbursed)
- Blake Apartments in West Berkeley will have 63 units of housing, consisting of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. (Measure O funding: $9.1 million, including $7 million disbursed)
- 1740 San Pablo Ave in West Berkeley will have 54 affordable homes for families. (Measure O funding $7.5 million)
Two projects have funding reserved but construction has not yet begun:
- Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) Workforce Housing Development in West Berkeley will have 110 apartments, with leasing preference for BUSD employees. (Measure O funding: $24.5 million)
- Plans are in development for 400-plus units at the Ashby and North Berkeley BART sites. (Measure O funding: $40 million)
Additionally, Council prioritized two proposals for $17 million from the next issuance of Measure O bonds:
- Supportive Housing in People’s Park
- St. Paul Terrace
Management and oversight
The Department of Health, Housing, and Community Services manages Measure O funding. Funds are distributed through the Housing Trust Fund, which pools funds for affordable housing construction from a variety of sources and makes them available to developers through one single application process.
The Housing Advisory Commission and City Council review and approve projects to receive Measure O funding. Oversight was previously provided by the Measure O Bond Oversight Commission, from April 2019- March 2021.