James Chang Is One Of Berkeley's Affordable Housing Experts

James Chang Is One Of Berkeley's Affordable Housing Experts

Berkeley, CA – James Chang, Berkeley Political Aide and Chief of Staff to Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett, may have lost the Berkeley City Council District 7 2024 Election, but he gained a platform to present his expertise and advocacy in the area of affordable housing.  

During the campaign,  James Chang said “We deserve better than predatory landlords taking advantage of our vulnerable student population forced to accept less than a California bare minimum. Everyone who spends time in Berkeley, even just 4 years, should be able to navigate this wonderful place without being used and abused.”  

Others have given light to and praised UC Berkeley grad James Chang's work in helping to get more affordable housing built.  Berkeley residents Michael Smith, Delores Nochi Cooper and Nikki Paetsch, all wrote: 

James Chang is a dedicated public servant who truly cares about the well-being of our communities. He has been a staunch advocate for affordable housing, working closely with Councilmember Bartlett to create affordable housing in South Berkeley. 

On the need for affordable housing, Chang said “The rent is too damn high, and that’s also affecting the price of goods around the neighborhood. We need to at least protect small business owners who have historically kept prices low and affordable to serve existing community members. The best thing to do is to make sure that we fight to continue to make rent as affordable as possible because that is most often a renter’s biggest expense.”

This community has been severely impacted by displacement and gentrification, and James played a crucial role in negotiating the development of the Stuart Street Co-op. This affordable housing co-op was formerly a dilapidated property owned by McGee Avenue Baptist Church. 

This project prevented South Berkeley residents from being displaced. James Chang was also instrumental in developing Step Up Housing, a supportive housing model for the unhoused. 

Michael Smith, Delores Nochi Cooper and Nikki Paetsch, also wrote that James Chang had “a proven track record of delivering affordable housing.”  And Chang called for the construction of affordable housing in People’s Park as a strategy to eradicate homelessness. For more see this Berkeley Haas interview:  https://zenniereport.com/2024/04/30/james-chang-on-his-campaign-for-berkeley-and-affordable-housing/

“The building project at People’s Park, to be clear, includes two-thirds green space,” Chang said. “There’ll be housing for 1,100 students, and there will be over 100 housing units for the unhoused. We can either have that as an option, or an open-air drug market as the alternative. I know students overwhelmingly want housing. I think a lot of students are too afraid to speak up because, anytime we do anything to solve a problem that requires some form of public safety measure, it’s often vilified as a right-wing tactic or supporting right-wing policies. And I just really reject those notions.” 

Mr. Chang has more successes the public should be aware of in the area of affordable housing and community development.  “I have spearheaded several successful projects and initiatives that have improved the quality of life and well-being of Berkeley residents,” Chang said. “For example, I directed a team to build a 3-year housing funding strategy that reduced homelessness, established a cross-functional leadership team among business and activist groups to prioritize public safety goals, and secured $27M of infrastructure funding through collaborative legislation.” 

James Chang is one of Berkeley's leading experts in the drive toward more affordable housing.  In a world where all too often, stories about great civic leaders are either never written, presented with a negative message, or rife with falsehoods, James Chang and his tireless focus on affordable housing for Berkeley, is a good and true story all should know.  

Video: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/2WAe4tOQhQw

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtjzueQaP2w

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