HomeChinese AmericanDesperate Time for Chinatown Residents Looking for Affordable Housing

Desperate Time for Chinatown Residents Looking for Affordable Housing

Oakland SRO 524 Eighth Street
Two news stories exemplify the desperate situation for Chinatown residents looking for affordable housing.

With the average rent in Oakland at $2400 a month, hundreds of Chinatown seniors waited as long as overnight for a chance to be put on a waiting list for subsidized housing, reports ABC7.

While in the local courts, Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Asian Law Caucus and the Oakland City Attorney’s office filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful eviction, elder abuse and fair housing violations against the owners and managers of a single-room occupancy building in Chinatown, according to CBS SF.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 14 tenants at 524 Eighth Street.

Minority wwner James Kirkpatrick argues he and his partners are doing what they can and said when he bought the building, it was already in disrepair.

“It was a death trap,” Kilpatrick said. He denied trying to evict the tenants to replace it with luxury housing and said the rent would likely go up $8-$15 per unit.

Attorneys for Asian Law Caucus say the tenants are being pressured to move without actually being evicted.

“We’re scared and mentally drained and it’s especially difficult for elderly tenants like myself” tenant Mark Wong said in a statement.

The need for more low income housing is unmistakable.

“In the last five to six years, there’s been over half a million jobs that have been created in the Bay Area and the region and only about 50,000 units of new housing,” Oakland Housing and Community Development Department’s Michele Byrd said to ABC7.

Tim Zhang was among the hundreds waiting in line to apply to be on the waiting list to receive subsidized housing at a maximum of 30 percent of their income for rent.

“It’s cold and it’s raining this morning and everybody is waiting,” said Tim Zhang who was there to help his parents apply.


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