Redistribution of wealth, property, and income has arrived in Orinda. Orinda officials, at a meeting on Mon., Jan. 13 in the auditorium of the Orinda Public Library, explained how subsidized housing would be made available, in Orinda, to low-income home buyers. About 100 people attended the meeting. Each subsidized home will have a selling price of $385,000.
The housing plan calls for the development of 73 new homes, eight of which are to be made available at “below market rates.” Preference for these subsidized homes will be given to people who work or live in Orinda.
Subsidized housing comes to Orinda
Orinda officials claimed that the lower-priced homes would be made available by the developer, Pulti Homes. These officials added that no government money will be used to subsidize the homes. However, two of the officials who worked on the Pulte project are full-time employees of the City of Orinda: Ms. Janet Keeter Orinda’s City Manager and Mr. Emmanuel Ursu, Orinda’s Director of Planning.
The 73 new homes will be built near the Orinda BART station. The housing will be on Altorinda Road. The development will be called Orinda Grove.
Applicants for the subsidized housing will have to have their income verified. It is not clear if all forms of income such as certificates of deposit, inheritance money, income from insurance policies, Social Security money, retirement plans, and disability money will be calculated as income.
In addition, there is no certainty that income from food stamps, school lunches, housing allowances (often called Section 8 income), and Medi-Cal (low-cost health care for low-income individuals) will be factored in.
Orinda officials want to evaluate a low-income applicant’s assets. According to a document issued by Orinda, “Assets include items such as checking and savings accounts, stocks and bonds, real property, boats, airplanes, expensive jewelry, art, and coin and stamp collections.”
Orinda officials were unable to answer how the value of an applicant’s entire assets could be ascertained. For example, these officials said that they could not determine if an applicant had a fortune in gold coins stored somewhere and periodically and covertly converted the coins into cash.
In an interview, one official was asked if an applicant for a subsidized housing might be concealing a Rembrandt painting. The official conceded that the ownership of a valuable painting could be concealed from authorities. When asked how the value of such a painting, if discovered, could be determined, she replied that the services of an art appraiser would be needed.
Applications for the subsidized housing are due by Feb. 18, 2014.