Housing Happenings

 

SV@Home Deep Dive Explores Affordable Housing Finance

SV@Home’s Deep Dive on Affordable Housing series was created to empower you with the knowledge you need to be an effective advocate in your community. Join us on Tuesday, September 27th, from 12 – 1:30 PM to learn more about Affordable Housing Finance. Understand the challenges and opportunities and how to push projects to completion. How is affordable housing financed? What factors shape financing and project decisions, and ultimately what gets built? 

Explore these vital questions in the second episode of our Deep Dive on Affordable Housing. Join our team of experts to explore the complex pieces of the financing puzzle and how they must fit together for a project to be viable.

Hear from members of the SV@Home Team:

  • Regina Celestin Williams, Executive Director
  • Mathew Reed, Director of Policy
  • Alison Cingolani, Policy and Research Senior Associate

 

The debut event in the Deep Dive series, part of Affordable Housing Month 2022 in May, was Deep Dive on Affordable Housing: A How-To Guide for Advocates. Click here to view slides and a recording of this session.

Just Announced! Save the Date! More Details to Come!

 

SV@Home Action Fund Presents Forum on Housing Thursday for Palo Alto City Council Candidates

Free, online, and open to the general public, this forum will be hosted by the SV@Home Action Fund, Palo Alto Forward, and the Palo Alto Renters Association.

 

During this forum, candidates will answer questions about their plans to tackle the housing crisis before the Nov. 8 general election. Please register today and join us for this educational event. All candidates have been invited: Alex Comsa, Brian Hamachek, Lisa Forssell, Ed Lauing, Julie Lythcott-Haims, Doria Summa, and Vicki Veenker.

 

Our regional and statewide housing crisis is multi-layered. Join us and hear candidates present their approaches to housing production, renter protections, homelessness, affordable housing preservation, and the intersections with transportation, climate change, and equity. Many policies responsible for the crisis began at the city level, and that’s where many solutions also begin. Please join us to learn more about each candidate’s ideas, experiences, and plans for the future of housing in Palo Alto.

 

Live Mandarin and Spanish interpretation will be provided for this event. The SV@Home Action Fund strives to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. To request accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, please email us at events@svh-actionfund.org.

 

Greenbelt Alliance Presents: Update on San José’s Parking and Transportation Demand Management Standards Thursday

Join Greenbelt Alliance and the City of San José Thursday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. to learn about the parking and TDM policy updates and provide feedback. In June, San Jose council members voted to create a policy to eliminate the city’s minimum mandatory parking requirements for new developments. This policy will incentivize alternative modes of transportation like biking and public transit. As part of the process, the City of San José and its partners are engaging with residents, the development community, and other stakeholders through Fall 2022. The final ordinance is scheduled to go before City Council by the end of the year.

 

Join Greenbelt Alliance and the City of San José to learn more about the parking and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) policy updates, ask questions and provide feedback. At this event, the City of San Jose will review the proposed ordinance, explain its ramifications, and discuss how the development review process will work. The event is co-sponsored by Catalyze SV, Friends of Caltrain, Seamless Bay Area, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, SPUR, SV@Home, and TransForm.

 

The City of San José is committed to ensuring adequate parking facilities while reducing the amount of land devoted to parking as our community grows. Doing so requires the city to modernize its parking standards, which have not been updated since 1965. The citywide parking and TDM standards update evaluates requirements for off-street parking supply and demand management strategies in new development. As part of this process, city staff and the project’s technical and engagement partners will evaluate existing parking, equity, and development issues, review parking and TDM policies implemented in other cities, and engage with residents and community stakeholders on this topic.

 

Big Win for Affordable Housing: AB 2011 Heads to Governor

A critical piece of legislation to spur affordable housing production passed out of California’s Legislature last week, and housers are cautiously optimistic Governor Gavin Newsome will sign it into law. AB 2011 “The Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act,” introduced by Assembly Housing Committee Chair Buffy Wicks, makes building housing on underused urban land like vacant strip malls and parking lots easier.

 

Across Silicon Valley and throughout California, new housing proposals regularly face a gauntlet of local zoning laws, restrictions, and approval processes. These obstacles delay, discourage, and block home construction, driving up the costs of building new homes. In too many cases, this obstruction is deliberate on the part of local cities.

 

To overcome this, AB 2011 would require cities to approve certain new homes on urban, commercial land if the proposal meets affordability requirements, fair labor standards, and environmental protections. The bill provides special streamlining for housing developments with 100 percent affordable homes. Because the goal of AB 2011 is to spur new construction without displacing current residents, the bill cannot be used to demolish existing affordable housing, rent-controlled homes, or homes that tenants previously rented over the past ten years. Nor would it would risk residential or business displacement.

 

Getting AB 2011 through the legislature was not easy. However, an impressively broad coalition, including affordable housing organizations, environmentalists, YIMBYs, business groups, labor unions, and even BART, joined forces to support the bill. While AB 2011 started in the Assembly, the Senate had its alternative: SB 6, “The Middle-Class Housing Act.” The competing bills pursued the same goals through different mechanisms and priorities. Leadership in the Assembly and Senate each wanted a win for their respective houses, and some of California’s most influential labor unions supported each bill.

 

Through amendments and intense negotiations in the State Capitol, the fates of the AB 2011 and SB 6 became tied — the Senate agreed to support the Assembly’s proposal, and the Assembly agreed to support the Senate’s option. In the end, not a single Senator voted “no” on AB 2011, though seven abstained. Both bills were sent to the governor on Tuesday and await his signature.

 

ICYMI – August Policy in Action: Anti-displacement Policies

Last month, we hosted a lively discussion featuring Lauren Bigelow, Board Chair of the Palo Alto Renter’s Association, and Huascar Castro, Director of Housing and Transportation for Working Partnerships USA. Together, we explored various policies that can prevent the displacement of low-income communities in our cities. SV@Home submitted a letter to several cities based on our work in Palo Alto on adopting impactful tenant protections.

We also submitted a letter to the City of San Jose with a coalition of community organizations on anti-displacement policy priorities. We believe this event inspired residents, advocates, and city staff to explore the anti-displacement policies that are right for their community. We invite you to get inspired as well. To view a replay of the event, click here.

 

#MembershipMatters – Become a Member Today!

 

 

 

Housing Elements: Los Gatos, Milpitas Open Comment Periods

Most local jurisdictions in Santa Clara County have released their initial Draft Housing Elements for public comment. Last week, Los Gatos and Milpitas joined this majority, releasing their initial drafts for a 30-day public comment period.  Checkout each city’s Draft Housing Element and learn how to provide your feedback at SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit! 

 

SV@Home continues to monitor and engage with the four remaining jurisdictions that have not yet released a draft: Cupertino, Gilroy, Palo Alto, and Santa Clara County for unincorporated county land. Following the closure of the 30-day public comment period, cities revise their Draft Housing Elements and send them to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for review and feedback. For cities that have already submitted drafts to the state, advocates should contact the assigned housing element reviewer with concerns and comments if issues of concern were not addressed adequately in the draft. Find your city’s assigned reviewer in SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit.

 

After 90 days of review, HCD will send each city a letter with necessary changes or steps to bring the Housing Element into compliance with state law. We will begin to see this feedback near the end of September, when Mountain View will become the first jurisdiction in the county to receive a Housing Element review letter. We will keep you up-to-date here at SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit so you may keep tabs on what is happening in your city.

 

Palo Alto Explores Rent Registry Tuesday to Address Tenant Displacement Concerns 

The City of Palo Alto Policy and Services Committee will explore various aspects of a rent registry beginning this Tuesday as part of its effort to address rising concerns about tenant displacement.

 

SV@Home has been partnering with the City of Palo Alto since 2019 in a city-initiated grant from the Partnership for the Bay’s Future (PBF). This partnership included a Challenge Grant Fellow, also funded by PBF, to provide additional staff capacity to the city to explore and develop anti-displacement and tenant protection policies. Palo Alto city staff were directed to undertake this work in 2017 by the City Council and then again through a colleagues’ memo in 2018 in response to rising concerns about tenant displacement in the city. 

 

We have been honored to protect renters by working closely with the city and the community over these past few years. In 2021, the Palo Alto City Council moved forward with implementing a package of renter protections, prioritizing a rent registry. As Palo Alto undertakes the implementation of the package of tenant protections, the data, tracking, and metrics provided from this registry will be important to determine the impact and efficacy of these programs. The Palo Alto Policy and Services Committee will explore various aspects of a rent registry. You can view the staff report here.

 

As part of the staff report, SV@Home submitted a policy memorandum from The Renne Public Law Group to support the development of the forthcoming rental survey ordinance. We used technical assistance funds provided by the Partnership for the Bay’s Future as a component of the Challenge Grant program, which has supported a partnership between the City of Palo Alto and SV@Home over the last two years.

Join the Policy and Services meeting on September 13th at 7 PM and share your thoughts.

The committee will be exploring the following questions:

{Bullet the following items} What rental units will the registry cover?

How frequently should reporting occur?

What information must be reported?

How much will the registry cost?

How will the city recoup the cost?

How will the city conduct outreach?

Zoom link here.

Meeting ID: 946 1874 4621 Phone:1(669)900-6833

 The Policy and Services Committee will not make final decisions at their meeting. However, it will provide an excellent opportunity to investigate and unearth possible issues before the city council deliberates on the program. 

 

Sunnyvale Announces Tenant Protection Meetings For Sept. 21 

The City of Sunnyvale is exploring two tenant protection policies and will hold three public meetings starting on Sept. 21st.

 

Tenant relocation assistance and right-to-lease are two of the policies scheduled for these meetings. Relocation assistance would be given when a tenant receives a no-fault eviction, such as unit renovation, an owner moving into the unit, or removal of the unit from the market. Tenant relocation assistance is essential to helping residents remain in their communities when evicted through no fault of their own.

 

A right-to-lease ordinance requires landlords to offer tenants a minimum one-year lease, creating greater stability and predictability for both parties. SV@Home examined Palo Alto’s Right-to-Lease policy and determined that the reach was limited and impacts were difficult to assess. However, several individual policies addressing small pieces of the need can act complementary to one another to create conditions with real impact. When you connect these policies to the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB 1482), which provides anti-gouging and eviction protections, that impact dramatically increases.

Read the proposed ordinance here.

 

The City of Sunnyvale will be providing three opportunities for input on the ordinance:

Housing and Human Services Commission

When: Wednesday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m.

Join on Zoom

Call-in: 833-548-0276 | Meeting ID: 928 6794 9471

Planning Commission

When: Monday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.

Join on Zoom

Call-in: 833-548-0276 | Meeting ID: 918 2739 0357

City Council

When: Tuesday, Oct. 11, 7 p.m.

Join on Zoom

Call-in: 833-548-0276 | Meeting ID: 961 1158 0540

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Moffett Park Specific Plan is Back in Full Swing 

 

After some major delays with the environmental review process, the Moffett Park Specific Plan has returned to the planning process. However, a new adoption date planned for next July pushes the original date out by eight months. The initial adoption timeline was set for Fall 2022, and then it was pushed out to January 2023 back in April so that it would fall in line with the January 31 deadline set by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

 

Sunnyvale’s Housing Element site inventory initially allotted less than 50 percent of its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) target of 11,966 units to the MPSP area. Before submitting the Draft Housing Element to the state for their initial review in July of this year, Sunnyvale city staff made a last-minute change to remove the MPSP sites from the inventory due to the environmental review delays, making the document fall short of its RHNA target. Instead, staff created an “Adequate Sites Program” under the state’s Housing Element rules to quickly rezone the MPSP area within one year of its state certification. Doing so would make MPSP sites available for development within the eight-year Housing Element cycle. This extra effort demonstrates how much is riding on the success of the MPSP.

 

Now that the MPSP is back in full swing, staff has scheduled a City Council Study Session on Mobility Policy for Tuesday, September 20th at 6 PM (click here for Zoom virtual meeting access). SV@Home’s local partner organization, Livable Sunnyvale, held a public meeting with city staff in mid-August to gain insight for this upcoming study session. We believe the staff wishes to connect Moffett Park with adjacent amenities and increase the number of shops and activities within the area.

 

Staff discussed possible Transportation Demand Management strategies as a solution for the MPSP area, which included a proposal to reduce parking by establishing maximums. Staff also proposed forming a Transportation Management Association so future tenants can enjoy shuttle services to Sunnyvale’s Caltrain station.

 

Future improvements in the Moffett Park area were also brought up, such as the Valley Transportation Authority’s (VTA) light prioritization project to help the VTA light rail’s Orange line become more efficient. Additionally, VTA proposes a redesign of the Java light rail station to allow for more efficient pedestrian crossings over the tracks. Many of these transit and pedestrian improvements, including bicycle upgrades, will be made in the next five years, allowing for the first few Moffett Park residents to enjoy its transitionary period from an industrial park to an ecological innovation district with up to 20,000 new residential units.

 

Join Livable Sunnyvale’s email list to stay informed on the Moffett Park Specific Plan’s planning process. They will have another meeting with city staff before the Mobility Policy Study Session on Thursday, September 15th, to prepare for the City Council Study Session on September 20th.

 

Sign up and join their email list to gain access to this meeting and consider becoming a member!

These are exciting times for the Moffett Park area. As we get closer to the City Council Study Session on Affordable Housing and Community Benefits sometime in mid-October, it becomes clearer how important our engagement with our partners and the City of Sunnyvale will be to ensure the MPSP is completed through an equitable and inclusive process that serves the diversity of the local community.

 

Stevens Creek Promenade Adds Opportunity for San Jose

Stevens Creek Promenade development, proposed by Miramar Capital, earned the green light from San Jose on Aug. 30, and SV@Home could not be more pleased. Overall, the Stevens Creek Promenade will provide San Jose’s most vulnerable and economically impacted renters with the opportunity to live, work, learn and play in a revitalized, mixed-income neighborhood that caters to the needs of all its residents.

 

As part of the Stevens Creek Urban Village, this mixed-use development will provide 580 new homes in a walkable, amenity-rich neighborhood that will serve as an anchor for positive future housing growth. SV@Home supported this development and even submitted a letter to the city council before the plan was approved.

 

The development offers 173 affordable housing units, which account for 30 percent of the total number of new homes, far above the City’s inclusionary housing ordinance requirements. It promises an important mix of opportunities for different income levels — 58 units for those earning 50 percent of AMI or below, 29 units for those earning 60 percent of AMI or below, another 29 units for those households earning 80 percent of AMI or below, and 57 units for those with moderate incomes earning between 81 percent and 120 percent of AMI. 

 

Register to Vote Today — 2022 General Election on November 8

Now’s the time to make sure you and your friends and family are registered to vote! It’s easy to do online at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters’ website here.

Register or re-register at the same website. Turned 18? Moved? Changed your name? Want to change your party affiliation? Became a citizen? Not sure when you last registered and just want to double check everything is up to date? Follow the same link

The outcomes of local elections will determine how our county and cities tackle housing affordability, and your vote could be the deciding one in a close race. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Register today.

 

Amah Mutsun Rally to Save Ceremonial Heartland from Mining Operation

Saturday, September 10th, 1 PM, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose

The sacred ceremonial heartland of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band near Gilroy is threatened by a proposed sand and gravel mining operation. Join us in front of the Santa Clara County building on Sept. 10 to stand together for the land, for cultural survival, and to show the strength of our collective determination to protect Juristac.

 

Urban Environmentalists Tackle Climate Change and Housing Affordability

Sunday, September 11th, 11 AM

What if we could tackle climate change and make housing more affordable at the same time? This online workshop will teach you how housing advocacy and climate action go hand in hand.

 

National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Alliance to End Homelessness, and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Present: Housing First Series

Monday, September 12th, 11:30 AM

Join National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Alliance to End Homelessness, and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for a 4-part series on homelessness and Housing First in this online event.To end homelessness once and for all, federal, state, and local governments must invest in proven solutions at the scale necessary to address the problem. The Housing First model is one of the best strategies for ending homelessness.

 

Northern California Grantmakers Presents Investment Strategies for Community Owned Real Estate

Tuesday, September 13th at 11 AM

Investing in community-led real estate infrastructure is a powerful strategy that promotes the security of place, creates affordability, builds wealth, and supports Black and Brown leadership of community real estate development. We’ll discuss the variety of impact investing tools foundations can use to support community ownership of community assets. Join this virtual event on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 11 a.m.

 

NPH Presents: Electoral Communications for c3 Non-Profits

Thursday, September 15th, 12 PM

For the November general election, what role can c3 non-profits play in advancing their vision for the Bay Area? Join NPH’s Strategic Communications Council and Bay Rising for this online event to review how c3 nonprofits can legally engage in advocacy within their unique capacities and roles. This training will also be an opportunity to connect with other Bay Area organizations that see housing as foundational to our collective goals of racial, economic, and environmental justice in the Bay Area.

 

350 W. Julian St. #5 • San José, CA 95110  •  408.780.8411  •  siliconvalleyathome.org