We didn’t need to hear from the United Nations that our homeless encampments are a “global scandal.” We’ve known for too long that our unhoused neighbors need the city to take real, immediate actions to address this crisis. Measure W would provide part of the solution by creating a Vacant Property Tax to fund solutions to address homelessness and help remedy illegal dumping. Specifically, it would create a dedicated source of funding through a 1% tax on vacant properties (up to $6,000 per parcel, per year).
Oakland has over 5,000 vacant properties, which can become magnets for crime and other problems. It’s estimated that the tax could raise up to $10 million annually.
Money from the vacant property tax will allow the city to expand some of the best, but least funded, ways to solve these growing problems, including funding for:
- Emergency tenant assistance to prevent more displacement of our renters;
- First- and last-deposit assistance to help people get off the streets and into housing;
- Shelters and innovative use of community-based and faith-based providers to allow use of their properties to help house the homeless;
- The hiring of and job training for people within the community, including the homeless, to help with cleaning up the community;
- Incentives to turn unused property into affordable housing including funding for Re-Hab for this purpose, as well as for disability access upgrades; and
- Clean up of abandoned properties and prevention of illegal dumping.
Measure W includes the following protections:
- Exemption for low-income/hardship owners
- An independent community oversight committee to help ensure proper use – No less than half of the members must be from our hardest-hit neighborhoods
- Exemptions for non-profits/affordable housing developments
- Lower tax rates for designated neighborhoods to avoid over-taxing struggling areas
- Exemptions for properties in use at least 50 days per year
- $6k per parcel per year is a maximum rate
Many properties have been purchased by large investment firms buying up foreclosures and speculators waiting for future sale but not putting them into use in the meantime. Measure W will help us track problem properties, reduce blight, and help fund vital needs in our community.
Oakland, CA 94612
Oakland Rising and our collaborative partners are united in our vision for a city that embodies health, happiness, safety, and equal opportunities for all. Our goal is to create a model of progress and sustainability that showcases the possibilities for American cities in the 21st century. We are committed to dismantling the barriers of racial, economic, political, environmental, and educational inequities that have divided us, and instead, embracing the collective strength found in our city’s diversity. We firmly believe that Oakland can achieve its full potential when every resident, student, and bus rider has the ability to shape our city’s future. This vision is attainable and we are determined to realize it through our collective actions, whether it’s through voting, meetings, or call to actions.
Every year, we release a Vision, Issues, and Policy Platform (VIPP) which outlines the annual policies that we and our eight partner organizations prioritize in order to advance racial, economic, and environmental justice in the Town. Our collaborative’s agenda encompasses a range of critical initiatives, from expanding affordable housing to creating a more equitable democracy through campaign finance reforms. These priorities are designed to provide vital protections and innovative solutions for the most vulnerable members of our community. As we continue our efforts to promote these policies, we hold conversations with thousands of voters, lead and co-host impactful town hall meetings, educate and mobilize residents and voters, and undertake various other initiatives.
To gain a deeper understanding of our commitment to resist, protect, and advance in this political moment, we invite you to explore our 2023 Vision, Issues, and Policy Platform. Together, we are making strides towards a more equitable and just Oakland, and we remain steadfast in our pursuit of change, one vote, one meeting, one march at a time.
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