Oakland's New Housing & Community Development Director, Emily Weinstein, Steps Up to Tackle Homelessness and Affordable Housing Crisis

Oakland's New Housing & Community Development Director, Emily Weinstein, Steps Up to Tackle Homelessness and Affordable Housing CrisisSource: City of Oakland
Eileen Vargas
Published on November 18, 2023

Yesterday, the City of Oakland confirmed Emily Weinstein's appointment as the permanent director of the Housing & Community Development Department (HCD). According to the City of Oakland, Weinstein has an impressive 25-year career in affordable housing and community development. Prior to becoming the permanent director, Weinstein served as the interim director, where she focused on affordable housing and creating sustainable communities for Oakland residents.

Weinstein has made a significant impact during her term as the interim director. She initiated a comprehensive community engagement process that led to the Department's 2023-2027 Strategic Action Plan. Additionally, she developed an Equitable Investment Framework to prioritize permanent supportive housing. She also facilitated over $68 million in funding for affordable housing projects and secured more than $15.5 million from the State's Homekey Round 3 program. In total, an additional $40.7 million was granted to support 673 affordable housing units in Oakland.

"Our approach to the homelessness and affordable housing crisis aggressively invests in affordable housing and protections for renters to help prevent homelessness," stated Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao via the City of Oakland news report. Weinstein's appointment is a crucial step towards resolving the homelessness and affordable housing issues in Oakland and beyond. Known for her collaborative approach, she aims to forge stronger partnerships with government and private entities to tackle this multifaceted problem.

Prior to serving as interim director, Weinstein worked as HCD's Deputy Director of Community Development. In this role, she navigated the department through a strategic planning process to invest $350 million in Measure U bond funds, initiated the city's homelessness prevention pilot program, and guided the Community Development and Engagement and Rent Adjustment Program teams. Her previous work at BRIDGE Housing includes helming the Rebuild Potrero project and heading the Community Development and Evaluation Department.

Emily Weinstein also boasts an impressive academic record, having earned a dual degree in City Planning and Real Estate Development from MIT, and completing a fellowship through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. At BRIDGE Housing, she was instrumental in creating the Trauma-Informed Community Building model, an initiative replicated elsewhere to address issues faced by low-income and historically marginalized communities.

"Stable, affordable housing is foundational to the health and vibrancy of our neighborhoods," emphasizes Director Weinstein through the City of Oakland’s official announcement. With 768 housing units currently under construction and another 215 slated to start in the first quarter of 2024, the city endeavors to provide safe and stable homes for those in need, with over 400 being permanent supportive housing for people transitioning from homelessness.