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Alameda County Housing Program Eases Process For Building In-Law Units

OAKLAND (CBS SF/BCN) -- Alameda County housing officials announced a new program this week that simplifies the process of adding in-law units to single-family properties, in the hopes of adding 18 affordable housing units in unincorporated areas of the county.

The pilot -- called the Accessory Dwelling Unit (or ADU) program -- is expected to result in the development of 18 in-law units through a lottery system with a Nov. 27 application deadline, as demand is anticipated to be high.

The program follows a related move in San Francisco, where supervisors in March waived fees for building inspections, plan review, records retention and site surcharges for in-law units.

The Alameda County program will also offer free consulting and project management services to more than 100 homeowners who want to build an additional housing unit on their single-family property.

It will initially serve the unincorporated areas of the county, specifically Ashland, Cherryland, Castro Valley, Castlewood, Fairview, Happy Valley, Hillcrest Knolls, Sunol and San Lorenzo, as well as the unincorporated areas in the cities of Hayward, East Pleasanton and South Livermore.

Officials hope to eventually offer the program countywide.

"We need to continue to explore creative housing solutions to support the stability and vitality of households throughout the county," said Housing Director Michelle Starratt. "With ADUs, we can increase naturally affordable housing stock by creating new homes in existing neighborhoods. By offering customized guidance, we can make sure that homeowners have the support they need to successfully build a new unit that is safe and legally permitted."

Interested homeowners should submit an online application on by Nov. 27. Property owners who meet baseline eligibility criteria will be entered into a random lottery and undergo a remote screening process in order of lottery number starting in November.

The county will partner with the non-profit group Hello Housing to administer the program. More information is available on its website at

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