Families have a new affordable place to live in the San Francisco Bay Area’s high-cost housing market.
The Acts Cyrene Apartments has opened with 59 affordable apartments for low- and very low-income residents.
One of the first residents is a young single mother of four boys. Like many others, Alisha Chambers was struggling to afford housing in her hometown despite working full time at Old Navy. She was contemplating moving 70 miles away to Stockton and commuting an hour or more each day when she learned that she was approved for one of the new apartments.
“I told my boys this year our Christmas present will be us moving into a house of our own,” said Chambers at a Dec. 1 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the development.
Officials hope to build on the work done at Acts Cyrene and develop more housing across the street.
“We’re just getting started. This is just the beginning,” said developer Bill Witte, chairman and CEO of Related California. “… When I said that we’re just beginning, I can give you 6,300 reasons for that because that’s how many people applied for these units.”
The huge demand for the Acts Cyrene apartments shows the severe need for affordable housing. “I’ve never seen anything like that before,” said Witte, a real estate veteran.
In Oakland, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,930, according to a recent Zumper rent report. In comparison, rents for a one-bedroom unit at Acts Cyrene range from about $540 to $931 a month.
Related California teamed on the four-story development with Acts Community Development Corp. (Acts CDC), the city of Oakland, and the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA).
The project took roughly eight years to develop as supporters worked to assemble the land and raise the financing for the project. The bulk of the funding—$16.6 million—came from low-income housing tax credit equity from Union Bank. The city of Oakland contributed $7.7 million in funds from various sources. OHA provided $2.6 million, and Acts CDC supplied nearly $1.4 million.
Leaders of the Acts Full Gospel Church in Oakland were instrumental in guiding the project. They provided the inspiration and assembled the land.
“Lord, we thank you for our ability to put neighbor back in the ’hood,” said Bishop Bob Jackson, senior pastor of the church, at the grand opening. “It’s not a ’hood anymore. We thank you for the neighborhood.”