DUBLIN — The city council has given the green light to an affordable housing project in the transit-oriented section of downtown.
In a unanimous vote Sept. 21, the council adopted the community benefit program agreement and affordable housing assistance agreement with BRIDGE Dublin LLC for the development of 300 units of affordable housing on a 3.6-acre site located on Golden Gate Drive. A total of 41 of the units would be made available for homeless individuals and residents with special needs.
The community benefit program agreement is required in order for the city to allocate units from the downtown specific plan’s development pool.
While the council collectively agreed to move ahead with the project, there were some concerns.
“As we introduce different types of folks into the facilities, some of them will need more support and my understanding is that BRIDGE has done a lot of good work when they established these apartments,” said Councilmember Michael McCorriston. “What is BRIDGE going to do? What is their strategy for some of the homeless and services that will be necessary? I know it might be a county thing, but if they have done this in the past, how are they going to address it now?”
Brad Wiblem, BRIDGE Housing executive, said the company’s experience accompanied by the county’s support would help mitigate any potential problems.
“The county will be a partner in this with funds and probably some vouchers as well to support the 41 what I would call permanent supportive apartments,” said Wiblem. “You’re asking how do we find the people? The county has a coordinated system; they know who is out there … who is looking for permanent housing. Then BRIDGE will coordinate on-site services. The book hasn’t been completely written yet, but we do know the path.”
However, Councilmember Sherry Hu was not convinced and said many residents had reached out to her with concerns about safety in the community with the additional apartments available for homeless people.
“I do have sympathy for people who have lost homes,” said Hu. “But I also heard concerns from lots of community members that they thought it might bring some additional issues to our city. So I feel like as a city, we want to help out and prevent people from becoming homeless, but we don’t want to be a homeless center for people or actively supporting people who are not in our community already.”
Councilmember Jean Josey took issue with Hu’s comments.
“With respect to Councilmember Hu … how can adding 41 homes increase our homeless population?” asked Josey. “That makes no sense. We are increasing housing. Whether they are unhoused in Dublin … whether they live in their car. Those 41 units represent homes. I don’t understand how that can be a bad thing in any way. That kind of comment from residents speaks to fear of the unknown, and I find it personally offensive.”
Mayor Melissa Hernandez reminded Hu that the face of homelessness is varied.
“There are so many reasons that people become homeless,” said Hernandez. “It is a complicated situation, and it is something we have to be able to address, and our City of Dublin has done a pretty darn good job at it.”
The proposed project sits on 3.6 acres adjacent to the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station. The 300 affordable housing units will be developed in two separate buildings. The five-story buildings will be constructed in two phases, including 136 units and 164 units.
The first 136 units will be available to very low-, low-, and moderate-income households earning an average of no greater than 43% of the area median income. Of these 136 units, 41 units will be made available for homeless individuals, as well as residents with special needs. The 41 units will come with appliances, furniture and basic kitchenware necessities. The remaining 164 units will be 100% affordable and may include moderate-income units.
The first phase of the project will be paid for with $7.1 million from the city’s affordable housing fund and a $2.9 million commitment from Alameda County Measure A-1 funds. Completion of the project is estimated to be 18 months to two years.