Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (last updated on 11/30/2018)
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? (UPDATED 11/30/18)
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? (NEW)
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? (UPDATED 11/30/18)
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? (NEW)
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?(NEW)
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? (NEW)
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? (NEW)
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? (NEW)
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? (NEW)
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 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? (NEW)
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? (NEW)
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? (NEW)
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.
HAS THE CITY DONATED THE VACANT LAND, LOCATED AT MISSION BOULEVARD, D STREET, E STREET, AND 2ND STREET, TO MIDPEN HOUSING? (UPDATED 11/30/18)
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? (UPDATED 11/30/18)
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 11/30/18)
In an effort to support the local community, MidPen is proposing to implement a preference for households who live or work in Union City. MidPen’s ability to and the number of apartments to apply a City live or work 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. MidPen has hired a consultant to prepare a displacement study report, which is required, to evaluate the need for a preference while evaluating that a preference would follow all Fair Housing Laws. MidPen has extensive experience in implementing City live or work preferences and if a preference is approved by certain 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 or work in Union City would move to the top of the waitlist, while ensuring compliance to all Fair Housing Laws. This preference could also be expanded to those who had formerly lived in Union City.
WHEN WILL THE PROPOSED COMMUNITY START AND COMPLETE CONSTRUCTION?
Since we are still in the very early stages of this proposal and have not yet submitted a planning application or received approvals, the construction schedule has not been finalized. If the project were to move forward, construction is start in 2021 and end in 2022.
MidPen Property Management
DOES MIDPEN TYPICALLY HAVE ONE YEAR LEASES FOR THEIR APARTMENTS? (NEW)
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? (NEW)
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.
DOES MIDPEN PROTECT ITS RENTERS AT ITS OTHER PROPERTIES FROM RENT INCREASES? (NEW)
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? (NEW)
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?(NEW)
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? (NEW)
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.