GREAT NEWS: Golden Gate Village Resident Council has a website! Please go here for all further updates and information: https://www.ggvrc.org/
And please support the Golden Gate Resident Council’s GoFundMe campaign to cover legal costs HERE
MARIN HOUSING AUTHORITY MEETING!! On Tuesday, October 18th at 2:30pm the Marin County Board of Commissioners is meeting to hear plans from both the Golden Gate Village Resident Council and the Marin Housing Authority. In November the MHA Board of Commissioners will vote to pursue one plan or the other. Showing up at this October meeting is critically important since we have reason to believe the MHA Commissioners aren't likely to support a Limited Equity Housing Cooperative (LEHC), which is what the residents want. The only way to turn it around is to apply massive public pressure. So please show up and speak even if all you say is that you support the LEHC for GGV residents because it allows them to control their own lives. October 18th MHA Meeting Zoom Link: www.zoom.us/ Meeting ID: 94742518384 Password: 352533. Start time: 2:30- 3rd agenda item. Time to speak follows Plan presentations by MHA and the Residents. Preparation: 1. Read this IJ Op-ed piece "Golden Gate Village needs to become a Limited Equity Housing Co-op" submitted by Nolan Zail, strategy team member; 2. For those of you who were not able to come to the Thursday October 13th informational/planning meeting, the recording and password are below, Barbara Bogard and Nolan Zail answered questions about the critical importance of the next 2 MHA meetings. Recording of the Meeting of Oct 13th : Click here Passcode: wf=Ln3=9 3. Key Talking Points are below. These are extensive notes to inform and guide your comments, Letters to the Editor (through Nov.15), emails to Supervisor/s and importantly to speak up either in person (preferable) or on zoom on the 18th. Good background is included. KEY TALKING POINTS • While the Commissioners voted in favor of the Resident Plan this past March, they seem to be ignoring a key element of the Plan: the formation of a limited equity housing cooperative (LEHC) at Golden Gate Village. • An LEHC gives residents control of their own community for the first time ever. Under MHA’s proposal GGV would be owned by a new, private entity that would control the property. • MHA’s proposal could make residents even more vulnerable to the Housing Authority’s whims than they already are. For example, whether GGV residents could continue to have a Resident Council would be up to MHA to decide. • An LEHC gives all members of the cooperative an equity share in the whole project. This includes not only a small financial increase over time, but more importantly, equity that comes from being treated fairly, and with dignity and respect. MHA’s proposal does not offer this assurance because the power dynamic will not change. • We have heard the GGV residents define equity and wealth in far broader terms than simply financial gain. For the residents of Golden Gate Village, who have never had a say in their future, real equity means something more basic, more valuable, and much more important. Yes, they build a little bit of financial equity, but that’s not what really matters. What really matters is that: • They get to live in one of the most beautiful parts of Marin County. • They get to live in safe, comfortable units upgraded using state-of-the-art deep green technology. • They get to pass their share of the cooperative on to their heirs. • Most importantly - they get to decide and control their own future. They are no longer treated as children, who can’t be trusted to make decisions that affect their own lives. They aren’t at the mercy of any outside entity or group that decides their future for them. They are in charge of their own destiny. • What is fair, just and morally right is only achievable with an LEHC. • HUD is very familiar with the LEHC model. There are LEHCs throughout the country, including some that were public housing. What the Resident Plan proposes is nothing new or unusual. • With an LEHC, each member owns a share of the whole. LEHC members do not need to come up with a down-payment or qualify for a mortgage. In MHA’s proposal, residents remain renters and own nothing. • An LEHC allows a member to leave their share to their heirs. In a limited equity housing coop, an apartment is not just a “unit.” It is truly a home. (Please note, however, that for an heir to move into a unit, they must qualify for Section 8 housing.) • Democratic control, self-autonomy and independence are inherent aspects of all housing coops. Every Marin homeowner takes these rights for granted. An LEHC at Golden Gate Village gives resident members these same rights. Under MHA’s proposal, however, GGV residents won’t have any of these rights now - or ever. • An LEHC is the only model that looks at the revitalization of Golden Gate Village through the lens of transformational justice: an opportunity for residents to take charge of their own destiny. Under MHA’s proposal they will never have this opportunity. • MHA has consistently received failing physical scores from HUD for its mismanagement of Golden Gate Village. By contrast, the Resident Council has assembled a team of industry experts in the building and financial sectors with proven track records of success both in historic renovation of major properties and in structuring financing for LEHCs. Who do you think has the better plan? • The choice of ownership models before the Board of Commissioners could not be simpler or more clear. They can cleave to a structure that is demoralizing, dismissive, patronizing and puts profits above people. Or they can nurture and promote initiative, autonomy, pride in the community and self-worth that values people and what they have to contribute to make Marin a better place to live for everyone. They have one chance to get this right. • Fundamentally, the choice between MHA’s model and the residents’ model is a moral choice. We don’t claim that tax credits wouldn’t provide the funds necessary for renovation. But tax credits do NOT allow for the formation of an LEHC and an LEHC is what the residents want. The alternative funding model proposed by the residents’ outside financial experts does allow for an LEHC - and it has worked in many other places. The choice is not between financing models. The choice is between an LEHC and no LEHC and residents’ right to determine their own future and not continue to be treated as children. It’s time for the Commissioners to look to their own sense of right and wrong and choose the path that is morally just and fair.
Golden Gate Village in Marin City is one of the last remaining African American communities in the county. Over the years residents have demanded adequate maintenance and renovation of their homes. These calls have gone unheeded to the point where the most recent Physical Needs Assessment (PNA) states that “…the renovation costs do qualify the property for a demolition/disposition application.” Essentially, years of deferred maintenance mean that it is so bad that it’s better to tear it all down and start over. According to the PNA, it will now cost $90 million to renovate, and it will cost $98 million to demolish and rebuild. Five years ago when the last Physical Needs Assessment was completed, costs to renovate were only $16 million.
The county has long been involved in a process to determine next steps for the property. The Marin Housing Authority Commission (all five Supervisors plus two community members) have agreed on a vision for the property which includes demolition of 16 units, construction of 156 new units, private corporate ownership (not the residents) and vaguely supported guarantees that there will be no displacement of current residents. There is concern that the infrastructure in Marin City is not adequate to support any additional housing. The Golden Gate Village Resident Council has proposed its own plan, one that includes deep green retrofitting and renovation of the existing buildings and transforming the property into a community land trust, where permanent access to housing and the possibility of home ownership are a reality.
It is clear that the MHA’s plan for the renovation and rehabilitation of Golden Gate Village does not provide for the self-determination of this community. It is clear that the county’s plan does not provide for any reparations for a community that has been redlined and is facing extermination. Years ago the population of Golden Gate Village was almost all African-American. Years of systemic racism (gentrification, lack of investment in community, a county which is the most racially disparate in the state) led to where we are now which is a community that is only about 30% African American. And Black people do not feel safe in white Marin. Black people do not feel welcome in white Marin.
It is essential at this moment in time, when the Movement for Black lives is accelerating social change, that we hold ourselves accountable. We have to move past performative allyship, past holding Black Lives Matter signs and marching, and also become accomplices who use their privilege to crumble systems of oppression. We have two asks, both are urgent.
Attend any MHA Commission meeting on Zoom: go to www.zoom.us/ with a Meeting ID 947 4251 8384, password 352 533. Use the “Raise Hand” button to inform the moderator that you would like to comment.
- To join by telephone, call (415) 473-7331. Press *9 to inform the moderator that you would like to comment.