Even Jesus Christ Couldn’t Rent in Berkeley

by Steed Dropout
Oct. 13, 2016

Photo by Ted Friedman.

Despite well-meaning intentions of Berkeley’s Task Force on Homelessness, and the full-force of Berkeley City government, it is still harder than a camel through a needle to be housed in Berkeley.

In fact, “Those seeking new housing are no longer able to a afford to live in Berkeley and must move elsewhere,” according to a blunt assessment from Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board’s latest newsletter.

Even Jesus Christ couldn’t rent here. Christ may have been homeless, but he’d have to turn Berkeley’s fine wines into four walls and a cot to squat here.

The Rent Board is fighting to protect many rent-controlled units, whose rentals face rents hikes.

One bedroom Berkeley apartments have rented for more than $2,500 a month, if you can find one. Many of the new apartment houses, popping up like corn afire, are student-shared luxury pads.

Berkeley pundit Thomas Lord suggests Berkeleyans are hyped into believing it has a housing crisis, but is rather following pied-piper developers, who lure Silicon valley workers to Berkeley for cheap rent compared to Palo Alto, San Jose, or San Francisco.

The Albany Bulb (now a state park) was one of the Bay Area’s oldest homeless communities, before it was evicted in 2014. Continuing raids on the nearby-to Albany Bulb, Gilman Street encampment, threatens continuing dispersals for those evicted from The Bulb.

The squeeze has homeless communities being spurted around hither and yon like toothpaste.

Some campsites in the laws crosshairs are so big they have to fail. But a presently small—15 tents— campsite on the rise, re-located from outside a South Berkeley homeless resource center (in protest) to a median near Berkeley Bowl on Adeline—has what may be the right stuff for survival.

Organizer, Mike Zint tells me he is keeping a tight lid on such bad-camper behavior as, drunk and disorderly, outstanding warrants, and wing-nuts. He’s tried this before in another tent-community, next door to Berkeley Police Headquarters. That tent community was shut down last year by police.

It used to be you had to be homeless to afford to live in Berkeley, now even that is in question.

And Jesus need not seek a Berkeley rental. He resides, reportedly, in a better place…where there are no evictions.

Berkeley Reporter’s Photojournalism: featuring photos of Mike Zint’s camp

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