Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (last updated on 11/4/2019)
Below are some frequently asked questions we have received to date from community members, and we have compiled these questions and our answers so that this information can be available to the community, especially those who are not able to attend the community meetings. These FAQs may be updated as we further develop the plans for the proposed development. Please check the website for additional questions and updated responses.
WHAT IS AFFORDABLE HOUSING?
A home is generally considered affordable if a household pays 30% or less of their gross income (before taxes are taken out) towards rent. The term usually refers to homes affordable to people with low, very low and extremely low incomes, including low-wage working individuals and families, seniors on fixed incomes, veterans, and people with disabilities. It is anticipated that, the rents at any future MidPen community will be regulated so that they are affordable compared to other unrestricted rental communities in the area. For example, in 2018, the rent for a two-bedroom apartment at the proposed community could be between $523-$2,092 per month, depending on household income.
HOW IS A "HOUSEHOLD" DEFINED?
The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) defines a household as, “All the people who occupy a housing unit. A household includes the related family members and all the unrelated people”.
HOW DO I QUALIFY FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING?
In order to qualify to live at the proposed MidPen community, a household must earn less than a certain percentage of the Area Median Income (AMI). The Area Median Income is published annually each year by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and varies depending on the number of people in the household and the County. During the community meetings held in August and October, we shared income and rent limits up to 60% Area Median Income (AMI), which for a family of four in Alameda County is $69,720, and we heard from some community members that they would like to see the income limit increased because they were above 60% AMI, but they also have challenges finding affordable housing. Given this feedback and some community members’ desire to see income limits increased, we are currently looking at increasing the Area Median Income (AMI) to 80% AMI so that households earning up to 80% AMI would qualify for an affordable apartment. In 2018, 80% AMI in Alameda County is $92,960 for a family of four. The rent for a three –bedroom apartment at 80% AMI would be $2,417 per month.
WHAT IS THE AGE LIMIT FOR SENIOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING?
Currently, the age limit for senior affordable housing is 62+ years old and would require the head of household to be 62+ years old. MidPen is not proposing senior affordable housing for this proposed development. MidPen is proposing that this development provide housing for families and individuals, which could include seniors as well.
Access to Affordable Housing
WHERE CAN I FIND AFFORDABLE HOUSING?
If you are looking for affordable housing at a MidPen property, please visit MidPen's website here at www.midpen-housing.org/find-housing/ to learn more about where our properties are located and which have open waitlists or interest lists.
HOW CAN I ADD MY NAME ON A WAITLIST OR INTEREST LIST?
MidPen properties fill vacancies from a property’s waitlist. Please visit MidPen’s website to see which properties have open waitlists. For MidPen properties currently under construction, each property has its own interest list. Please visit MidPen’s website here (www.midpenproperty.midpen-housing.org/LeasingNow) to see which properties are under construction and if you're interested in a particular property, please complete an Online Inquiry Form to be added to the interest list. Before the property is ready to accept leasing applications, MidPen will mail those on the interest list (to the mailing addresses provided) to inform you of where to pick up a leasing application.
DOES THIS PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT HAVE AN INTEREST LIST OPEN?
No, an interest list has not been opened yet since the proposed development is still in the very early planning stages and the City Council has not approved the proposed development yet. If you are interested in being notified when the interest list is open, please provide your email address by attending one of our community meetings or by completing the form on this page (www.mission2de-midpen.com/participate.html) of the website. Please note that the purpose of the interest list is to keep track of households that would like to be notified when applications for newly constructed apartments are available. Once a leasing application is available for a newly constructed property and the application is completed and submitted, then it is added to the property’s waitlist. The interest list is NOT a waitlist.
HOW LONG ARE HOUSEHOLDS TYPICALLY ON A WAITLIST BEFORE AN AFFORDABLE APARTMENT BECOMES AVAILABLE AT A PROPERTY?
The length of time a household may be on a waitlist can be different for each property. MidPen finds that apartments at its properties do not turnover often and so it could be a couple of years before an affordable apartment is available. When there is turnover and a new unit is available, the property will look to fill the vacancy from its waitlist and will contact households on that specific property’s waitlist.
IS THE PROPOSAL FOR APARTMENTS TO OWN OR RENT?
The proposal is for apartments to rent. The apartments would be available to a range of household sizes and household incomes. MidPen will be the long-term owner and property manager of the property.
HAS MIDPEN CONSIDERED DEVELOPING SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES INSTEAD?
No, MidPen has not. In order to provide more opportunities for affordable housing in Union City, MidPen is proposing an apartment community to maximize the scarcity of land and resources.
WILL THIS PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT DECREASE MY PROPERTY VALUES?
Multiple studies have shown that affordable housing properties, such as this proposed development, do not decrease property values. Instead, it can raise property values. To view one of these studies, please click here.
WHAT IS MIDPEN’S ROLE AND OBJECTIVE IN BEING INVOLVED IN THIS PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT?
As a non-profit organization, MidPen is guided by its mission is to provide safe, affordable housing of high quality to those in need and to establish stability and opportunity in the lives of our residents. If this proposed development moves forward, MidPen would be the developer, owner, property manager, and resident services provider. MidPen receives a one-time upfront development fee that covers MidPen’s staff time and overhead costs for managing the development process. The fee is paid once the financing is secured and construction is completed.
WHAT IS CENTRO DE SERVICIOS’ AND YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES’ INVOLVEMENT IN THIS PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT? WILL CENTRO DE SERVICIOS’ STORE MOVE AS WELL?
The proposal includes new office spaces on the first floor along Mission Boulevard for Centro de Servicios and Youth and Family Services’ offices. YFS and Centro de Servicios would continue to provide services at their new proposed office location, but Centro de Servicios’ store would not move to this new location
How long will Centro de Servicios be able to lease the new proposed office space? Will the length of their lease be guaranteed and what will happen to Centro’s current space?
MidPen’s and the City’s intent is to provide permanent office space for Centro de Servicios. The City currently provides a 2-year funding contract to Centro de Servicios, aligning with the City’s budget cycle.
There is a truck doing some drilling on the site. Is MidPen conducting that?
MidPen’s geotechnical engineer took soil samples in order to get a better understanding of the type of soil beneath the surface. The soil samples are being analyzed and compiled into a report, which will be used by our architect and structural engineer to design the proposed building’s foundation.
HOW MANY APARTMENTS IS MIDPEN PROPOSING TO BUILD ON THE CITY-OWNED VACANT PROPERTY?
In early 2018, the City issued a Request for Proposals, which invited non-profit affordable housing organizations to submit proposals to develop affordable housing on the vacant City-owned property. In MidPen’s proposal, an analysis was completed to include 81 apartments. MidPen is committed to seeking feedback from the community regarding its proposal. The City will also need to vet the proposal and complete its review before it is reviewed by Planning Commission and City Council.
WHAT IS THE PROPOSED NUMBER OF ONE, TWO, AND THREE-BEDROOM APARTMENTS?
MidPen is currently proposing a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, but the number of each apartment size has not yet been determined. There is no typical number of one, two, and three-bedroom apartments that MidPen offers at an affordable housing property. There are various funding programs that have certain requirements around the number of each apartment type to include in a proposed development. Depending on the financing of this proposed development, which has not yet been finalized, the development may be required to have a certain number of one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. MidPen expects to share a proposed breakdown of the number of apartments by size at its upcoming community meetings in December 2018.
Will the apartments be accessible for disabled residents?
Yes, at least 5% of the units will built out to be fully-accessible for disabled residents. The remainder of the apartments will be built out to be adaptable and can easily be made accessible if a household requires the modification in their apartment.
WHAT IS THE TYPICAL NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES THAT YOU HAVE AT YOUR PROPERTIES?
MidPen is assessing the proposed development’s location, proximity to public transit and amenities, and community being served in order to determine the appropriate number of parking spaces. For example, MidPen provides less parking for senior affordable housing because MidPen finds that seniors do not own as many vehicles. For family properties, MidPen typically provides a minimum of 1 parking space per apartment.
HOW WILL YOU MAKE SURE THERE IS ENOUGH PARKING SO THAT FUTURE RESIDENTS DON’T TAKE UP THE STREET PARKING AVAILABLE ON 2ND STREET AND OTHER NEARBY STREETS?
MidPen understands that parking is a concern and are studying this. If this proposal were to move forward, MidPen would be the long-term owner and property manager of the property and so we also would like to make sure there is adequate parking onsite.
Would it be possible to have one-way in and one-way out of the parking garages?
At this point in time, we have not yet finalized the parking garage design. We are, however, currently analyzing the different designs that would not only be efficient in terms of accessing the parking structure, but would also provide the maximum amount of parking spaces.
Will there be landscaping along Mission Blvd?
Yes, we are proposing landscaping along Mission Blvd.
How many visitor parking spaces are you proposing?
Currently, we are proposing 130 parking spaces for residents, visitors, onsite staff, Youth and Family Services, and Centro de Servicios. We’re currently proposing that each one and two bedroom apartment would be assigned one parking space and each three bedroom apartment would be assigned two parking spaces.The remaining parking spaces would be available for visitors, onsite staff, Youth and Family Services, and Centro de Servicios staff. The specific number of visitor parking spaces is currently being studied. We are, however, receiving feedback from the community on the need for visitor parking, and plan to incorporate that feedback into the design as it develops.
Will people who live in the proposed development be allowed to park on the street?
Street parking is available for the general public. MidPen is not allowed to enforce who parks on a public street.
Could you build an underground parking garage to build more apartments above ground?
As much as MidPen would like to build more apartments at this proposed development, building an underground parking garage would be cost prohibitive. While taking into consideration the community’s need for affordable housing, MidPen also wants to make sure that we provide enough parking onsite. If we were to build more apartments, then we would need to build more parking at the proposed development, and we believe that the current mix of total apartments and parking spaces is an appropriate balance.
Will there be parking along Mission Blvd for this proposed development?
All parking for the proposed apartments will be provided onsite. The City is exploring time restricted use of street parking along Mission Blvd. to help encourage turn over during business hours.
WILL THERE BE A TRAFFIC IMPACT TO MISSION BOULEVARD AND THE SURROUNDING NEIGHBORHOOD?
As a part of the City’s review process, the proposed development will be studied and evaluated to determine if and what impact it will have on the existing community. Per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a study will be completed during the City’s review of the proposed development after a formal application is submitted to the City.
Can the public access the ground level courtyard?
The current proposed design includes a sizable separation between the two buildings and this separation serves as a view corridor of the hills from 2nd Street. A portion of this area between the two buildings includes a ground floor courtyard, which will be gated along 2nd Street and Mission Boulevard and accessible to residents only. A rendering of this ground level courtyard was shared at the third series of community meetings held in March 2019 and can be viewed on the Proposal Updates webpage.
HAS THE CITY DONATED THE VACANT LAND, LOCATED AT MISSION BOULEVARD, D STREET, E STREET, AND 2ND STREET, TO MIDPEN HOUSING?
In the early 2000s, the City’s former Redevelopment Agency acquired and assembled the individual parcels that comprise the vacant property. The vacant property has been identified on the City’s Housing Element over the past few updates. The City has not donated the land to MidPen. If the proposal moves forward and is approved, the City will donate the land to MidPen before construction starts.
WILL THE CITY BE CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROJECT FINANCIALLY?
Like many other affordable housing communities, local municipalities, such as the City, would contribute to this proposed community if it were to move forward. If this proposed development moves forward, it will receive funding restricted for affordable housing development from a number of different entities, including the City and Alameda County, as well as federal and state programs. Alameda County has funding available for affordable rental housing development from its Measure A1 Housing Bond Program, which is funding that this proposed development will be applying for.
WILL UNION CITY AND DECOTO RESIDENTS BE GUARANTEED TO LIVE IN THIS PROPOSED AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMMUNITY? (UPDATED 11/4/2019)
In an effort to support the local community, MidPen is proposing to implement a preference to serve individuals and families who live, work, or formerly lived in Union City. MidPen is also proposing a homeless preference in conjunction with the local preference, which will apply to the 20% of Area Median Income (AMI) units and targeted to extremely-low income households. The intent of the local and homeless preference is to serve as many Union City households as possible, including working and homeless families. MidPen’s ability to apply a live, work, or formerly lived preference will need to be reviewed and approved by certain public agencies, such as Alameda County, that will be providing financial support to the proposed development. After hearing the community's concerns about displacement, MidPen hired a consultant to prepare a displacement study report, which is required, to evaluate the need for a preference and to evaluate if the preference would follow all Fair Housing Laws. The displacement study has been submitted to Alameda County for review, and we are waiting to hear from the County about their decision to allow MidPen to implement the preference at Lazuli Landing. MidPen has extensive experience in implementing a live, work, or formerly lived preference, while ensuring compliance to all Fair Housing Laws. If a preference is approved by the applicable public agencies for this proposed development, MidPen would accept applications from all interested households, run a lottery to determine placement on a property waitlist, and then apply the preference so that community members who live, work, or formerly lived in Union City would move to the top of the waitlist.
For the City live or work preference, does one have a higher priority, or get you in easier?
The live or work preference gives equal priority whether the applicant lives or works in Union City. During the lottery process, the preference prioritizes an applicant who lives or works in Union City. Even if an applicant meets both preferences, they do not have higher priority than another applicant who only has one of the two preferences.
Will there be Project-Based Section 8 Vouchers? If someone has a voucher, will they need to qualify?
We are not planning to have apartments with Project-Based Section 8 vouchers at this property because we understand the importance of having a City live or work preference, and the Project-Based Section 8 Voucher program will not allow a preference on the apartments with vouchers. MidPen is happy to accept applications for tenancy from households that hold a tenant section 8 voucher.
WHEN WILL THE PROPOSED COMMUNITY START AND COMPLETE CONSTRUCTION?
Since MidPen is still in the very early stages of this proposal and has not yet submitted a formal planning application or received approvals from the City, the construction schedule has not been finalized. At the earliest, we are currently anticipating to start construction in 2022 and complete construction in 2023.
MidPen Property Management
DOES MIDPEN TYPICALLY HAVE ONE YEAR LEASES FOR THEIR APARTMENTS?
Yes, MidPen typically has one year leases for the first year and then depending on the property’s regulatory requirements, the leases can transition to month to month leases or can be renewed annually.
HOW IS THE OCCUPANCY DETERMINED FOR ONE, TWO, AND THREE-BEDROOM APARTMENTS?
There are maximum occupancy limits that are regulated by the property’s financing programs. We expect that the maximum occupancy for a one-bedroom apartment is no more than 3 individuals, for a two-bedroom apartment it would be no more than 5 individuals, and for a three-bedroom apartment it would be no more than 7 individuals. Across multiple family properties that MidPen owns and manages in Alameda County, the average household size for a one-bedroom apartment is 1.5 individuals, for a two-bedroom apartment is 2.5 individuals, and for a three-bedroom apartment is 4 individuals.
What is the average occupancy of one, two, and three-bedroom apartments at MidPen properties?
At our Union City properties, the data collected showed that on average, there is 1 adult and 1 child in a one bedroom apartment, 2 adults and 1 child in a two bedroom apartment, and 2 adults and 2 children in a three bedroom apartment.
Does rent get based on family size and income?
The rent for each apartment is primarily determined by a household’s size and income. The Federal Government that takes the average household size and the Area Median Income (AMI), as determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),to determine rents for different household income ranges and household sizes.
Is there a maximum amount of time a tenant can stay and live at the property? What happens if a household’s income goes up after initially moving in to the apartment?
A tenant can live in their apartment indefinitely as long as they abide by the terms of their lease, which includes a number of house rules for the property. If a household’s income increases after moving in, the household is not required to move out. In this situation, MidPen would increase the household’s rent, however, the increase would be restricted by funding requirements and would not be above the maximum rent amount for their income range.
Can someone sublease their apartment?
No, subleasing would be considered a violation of the lease terms.
If someone is moving to another apartment within the property, do they have to requalify?
Yes, they would need to requalify in order to ensure that the household does not exceed the income limit or household size.
How does MidPen ensure that properties are maintained? Who is responsible for maintenance and who pays for it?
MidPen’s professional Property Management team, including an onsite property manager and maintenance technician take pride in maintaining the properties and being good neighbors. Each property has an operating budget that includes payroll for property management staff and other maintenance expenses.
How is MidPen going to address crime at its Union City properties? How do you ensure that tenants are safe?
During normal business hours, MidPen’s onsite property manager will be meeting with residents and carrying out their responsibilities and the maintenance staff will be maintaining the property. There will be an onsite manager, who works for MidPen and lives at the property, and they can address any issues after-hours. MidPen properties also have surveillance cameras, which provide the ability to monitor activity at the property at key locations.
Would tenants need to let Property Management know about guests?
Under the terms of MidPen’s lease, a tenant may have a guest stay at their apartment for no more than 7 consecutive days and no more than 21 days in a calendar year.
There are some homeless individuals in Union City. There’s one person who is sleeping at the church steps. What about the homeless population?
We are currently proposing to dedicate 20% (16) of the proposed apartments to serving extremely low-income households who may only have access to social security or other general government assistance. MidPen’s Resident Services team would also work to connect MidPen residents to other resources and services.
Will there be housing or a preference for veterans?
Currently, we are not proposing a preference for veterans, but that does not exclude a veteran from applying to a property.
Does MidPen protect its renters at its other properties from rent increases?
MidPen’s mission is to provide affordable housing in safe and well-maintained buildings. Our organization’s rent increase policy was developed with these goals in mind. Our regulatory requirements mandate us to keep rents at or below maximum rent limits, which are updated every year by those regulatory agencies and are well below market rate rents. Rent increases, if any, can be between 3% to 10% annually and before any increases are implemented, they are evaluated by looking at the household’s rent compared to their income for that year.
MidPen Resident Services
What services are offered at your properties
MidPen has extensive experience with our Family Services Program. We empower individuals and families to build brighter futures. This includes equipping working-age adults to build resources, better manage their assets, and advance in their educational and career goals. Our academically-based After School Program channels significant resources and expertise to meet the challenges our youngest residents may face to stay in school and perform at grade level. Check out a video available on our website at www.mission2de-midpen.com/faqs.html to see our youth in action. For more information on all MidPen Resident Services programs, please visit MidPen’s website here at www.midpen-housing.org/what-we-do/services/.
IN ADDITION TO THESE COMMUNITY MEETINGS, WHAT IS THE EXTENT OF MIDPEN’S COMMUNITY OUTREACH FOR THIS PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT?
MidPen is also meeting one on one with various local stakeholders to learn more about the Decoto neighborhood and what we should know and understand as the proposal is developed. The meetings we’ve had to date have been informative and are helping to shape our proposal. To date, MidPen has met with some of the churches, schools, long-time residents, and community-based organizations in the Decoto neighborhood. If anyone or any organization is interested in meeting with MidPen in an individual meeting, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would welcome the opportunity to introduce ourselves and meet with you.
CAN THE COMMENTS PROVIDED AT THE LEGACY COMMUNITY MEETINGS FOR THE PREVIOUS MARKET-RATE DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL BE MADE AVAILABLE?
If anyone is interested in reviewing the comments collected, City staff can provide the comments directly. Please contact Avalon Schultz at AvalonS@UnionCity.Org for more information.
WHAT KIND OF EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES DOES MIDPEN CURRENTLY HAVE?
MidPen’s current employment opportunities are listed here at www.midpen-housing.org/careers/ on MidPen’s website. We welcome your interest in our organization and its mission.
How diverse is MidPen’s staff?
MidPen actively works to advance a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Our staff of over 400 employees who come from many different racial and socio-economic backgrounds are committed to building communities through affordable housing. As a company, we have internships focusing on first-generation college students and we are working to implement hiring strategies to further encourage applicants of various backgrounds to apply.