The number of students enrolled at University of California, Berkeley is increasing, which means there is less housing available in the city for low-income families and current residents. UC Berkeley has limited campus housing available, causing more students to move into houses and apartments in the city. This is leading to gentrification of lower-income families throughout Berkeley.
More students who can’t find housing on campus are finding places to live in areas of the city where rent is lower. It is difficult to find affordable housing in Berkeley as it is, and the influx of students is harming other people who live there. As students keep moving in, the cost of living increases as well. UC Berkeley students sometimes have parents cosigning leases for apartments and have their living expenses paid for. This makes it even easier for them to afford to live in the city, and pushes out the community already living there who do not have those opportunities.
Over the past few years, the city of Berkeley has made efforts to create more affordable housing. According to Igor Tregub, Chair of the Housing Advisory Commission, the city is doing their best with minimal federal and state funding.
Berkeley plans to create the Berkeley Blockchain Initiative, which will use blockchain technology to help increase housing options. The program is run by Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín and City Councilmember Ben Bartlett, and will use the BBI to digitally create bonds to fund affordable housing. Digital tokens, or “cryptocurrency,” backed by municipal bonds, can be purchased by the Berkeley community to help pay for the housing plan.
“Because it’s not a coin, it’s a bond, there will be no fluctuation in price,” Bartlett told The Daily Californian. “The blockchain platform is secure.”
If the city’s efforts work, the increasing gentrification problem in Berkeley will hopefully be solved.
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