Meet influential and interesting people in Bay Area housing

In this updated series, we profile people who are making an impact on the Bay Area housing landscape. Whether they are policymakers, trailblazing entrepreneurs, or other notable people who are shaping the housing debate or shaking things up, we tell their stories here.

Debora Allen

Given the twin housing and congestion crises, there are many calls for denser housing near transit. Yet the Director of Bart seemingly wants to stick to the basics, since the transit system is in the business of running trains, not reshaping neighborhoods.

Allice Huffman

Odd bedfellows? You would expect landlord advocacy groups to oppose efforts to repeal the longstanding Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, but the President of the California NAACP has voiced her opposition to the ballot measure. Huffman sides with the argument that Proposition 10 would discourage housing construction and therefore hurt low-income tenants. Our takeaway is that the opponents of stricter rent control spans all groups and political persuasions, with a growing throng of progressives who view Costa Hawkins repeal as bad housing policy.

Dan Kalb

Oakland has become the latest bastion of tenant protections, and Dan Kalb can take the latest credit as the chief architect behind a measure to extend “just cause” eviction protections to tenants living in owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes throughout the city. To Kalb, it’s about fairness. “People should have the right to stay where they want to stay,” he was quoted as saying in this San Francisco article. “If they’re already living somewhere, they should have the right to continue to live there as long as they’re not breaking any of the rules. The protections and the rules that exist for some renters — most renters in the city — should also exist for renters who live in these smaller buildings," he goes on to say. We took issue and were quoted in the same piece. 

Hillary Ronen

Housing issues play a strong role in District 9 and for Supervisor Hillary Ronen, a concern has been displacement in the Mission, particularly among the Latino community, and she is intent on intervening. Another vexing problem in her district is the homeless crisis and after about 18 months on the job, the Supervisor says she’s transitioning from crisis management to trying to address the root cause. Read the full interview here.

Alexander Chatzieleftheriou

Blueground wants to make it easier to provide smart and hassle-free housing for business travelers and transient individuals. The housing startup landed in San Francisco with Alexander Chatzieleftheriou at the helm and he stands to disrupt corporate housing as we know it.

Michael Weinstein

After nearly a quarter of a century of trying, tenant activists in California could be on the cusp of repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, thanks to Michael Weinstein. The president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation led the charge for expanded rent control statewide and put millions of dollars behind it. His cause has now reached critical mass.

James and In Ja Yates

Wonderful story befitting a wonderful life of two landlords and Airbnb hosts who make a difference. There remain many untold stories, however, of studious rental property owners who make an impact and debunk the "greed fueled speculator" label. Why are they angels?