This past Sunday wrapped up the East Bay Housing Organizations’ 15th annual Affordable Housing Week.

The organization – EBHO – and its partners organized walking, bicycling, virtual tours, grand openings and symposiums to celebrate the people that make affordable housing possible in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

I spoke with EBHO’s Deputy Director, Gloria Bruce, about the state of affordable housing in the East Bay, Affordable Housing Week and the uncertain future of affordable housing in California. This is the second of two parts of that interview.

Q: What was special about this year’s Affordable Housing Week?

We decided on our theme “Investing Now in our Future” before the governor came up with this proposal to eliminate redevelopment. It’s our 15th year, and we want to look ahead. But because redevelopment is being threatened at the state and federal levels, it’s even more important to keep investing and not lose affordable housing in the future.

We need our decision makers to know where to stand and know that this is something to keep fighting for.

Q: Where does Affordable Housing and redevelopment stand right now?

The governor just issued his May budget revision on Monday. We were hoping that eliminating redevelopment would be off the table, but it’s still part of the revise, so what that means is little uncertain. There are various pieces of legislation pushing various pieces of reform. Our message is to reform and improve redevelopment, not eliminate it. We’ll learn more on the 24th when people go up and meet with legislators. While we think our work has made a difference, and residents have gone to speak and we think that’s made a big difference, we don’t know. And we won’t know for a couple weeks what will happen.

And at the same time, the battle continues at Capitol Hill with [Housing and Urban Development] HUD funding. Any cuts there would trickle down and affect affordable housing residents in the East Bay. The cuts won’t be as bad as we thought, but we continue to track that. While we continue to save some funding for the state this year, it’s a new world moving forward.

We have asked the folks in Sacramento to include some provision for Affordable Housing funding no matter what happens with redevelopment. We’ve had some support with our legislators, but the governor’s latest proposal does not include that and we’re still concerned.

Q: What would Affordable Housing look like without redevelopment?

It’s too soon to tell. I think there may be other strategies like bonds that we may return to, but in places like Oakland, honestly, it’s hard to see how some of these major projects will move forward without it. It will take a total regrouping to see. Some projects may still be able to move forward if funds are committed, but ones that aren’t at that point, we’ll have to see.

Q: Now that Affordable Housing Week is over, what is the next big thing for EBHO?

The next big thing is this lobby day on May 24. We have about 100 people going up from the East Bay. The majority of those people are Affordable Housing residents, not staff of organizations, which is great because they’ll be able to speak more passionately. If people want to get involved, we’ll be doing legislative visits from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Capitol. People can contact EBHO or me for more information.

Even if people can’t come to Sacramento, call or email your representative and just say that housing matters, please protect Affordable Housing funding. This is important for representatives from people like Oakland and Berkeley, but especially people who are further out in the county because those less urban jurisdictions don’t have that strong voice coming out as much. We need to uphold Affordable Housing funding.

Affordable Housing is our big splashy week, but it’s only a part of what we do. We’re doing advocacy and education year round. We just issued our annual guidebook with lots of articles on Affordable Housing, tying it to other issues like the environment, land use and youth education. We’re always happy to help spread the word.