Courtyard at Quetzal Gardens
April 24, 2024

CALL TO ACTION: 2 Important Steps to Secure Critical Funding for Affordable Housing


Action 1: Secure Critical Affordable Housing Resources in San Jose

In the City of San Jose’s last round of affordable housing funding, only 4 of 17 affordable developments were funded. An additional 13 developments with more than 1,500 new affordable homes were waitlisted, because there was not enough funding to go around. Now the Council is considering shifting next year’s affordable housing funds to temporary interim shelters, which are important, but cannot replace the role and extensive benefits of affordable housing.

Please use the letter template and email addresses below to contact San Jose’s Councilmembers about protecting important funding for affordable housing in the city.,,,,

Honorable Mayor & Councilmembers,

We are deeply concerned that the Mayor’s March Budget Message, once again, proposes to shift Measure E funding away from affordable housing production.

Our community is facing a severe affordable housing crisis. The exorbitant cost of housing in our city has left approximately 70,000 families rent-burdened and struggling to simply get by. Studies show that a lack of affordable housing poses a serious threat to the overall economic health of a community and that it is the primary factor responsible for high levels of homelessness in cities like ours. Providing more affordable housing is consistently a top priority for San Jose residents, and leaving this out of the budget fails to address this priority or the commitments we have made to invest in permanent housing stability for current and future generations.

[include personal experiences/stories, if applicable]

We appreciate the City’s efforts to increase shelter options in our city, but we cannot do so at the expense of desperately needed affordable housing. The current costs of expanding emergency interim shelters are unsustainable and will require an ongoing independent revenue source. Instead of pitting one strategy against another, the City MUST advance both community priorities by preserving Measure E funding for affordable housing and identifying a permanent revenue source to fund existing Council commitments for construction and ongoing operating costs of emergency interim shelter. 

Data from Destination: Home’s Continuum of Care showed that only ¼ of the people in interim housing or shelters in Santa Clara County last year were able to secure permanent housing, and 75% of the folks who transitioned did so with the help of a supportive housing program and/or other form of housing subsidy. Permanent affordable housing is a critical part of a system of response to the crisis of displacement and homelessness in our communities, and delivers a wide range of benefits to both residents and the broader community- a wise investment.

Please protect affordable housing funding in this year’s budget, and let’s come together to develop a real plan for funding and sustaining a comprehensive approach to our housing and homelessness crisis.

Action 2: Endorse the Campaign for a $10 to $20 Billion Affordable Housing Bond Measure

Last week, a regional government body you may never have heard of, The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) Executive Board, voted unanimously and enthusiastically to put an affordable housing bond on the November 2024 ballot in the Bay Area.

This has been a multi-year process which will see the Bay Area Housing Finance Agency (BAHFA) sponsor the $10 to $20 billion ballot measure in all nine Bay Area counties. Locally, Santa Clara County will receive up to $2.2 billion, and the City of San Jose will receive a separate allocation of over $2 billion. This is critical to keep moving on the county’s pipeline of more than 10,000 new affordable homes, and to preserve affordability of existing homes.

We are building a strong local and regional movement that will be ramping up to play an essential role, as the campaign season gains momentum. At the regional level, our Bay Area Housing for Allcoalition continues to securing endorsements, and supporting local efforts.

Endorse here!

Here in Santa Clara County the campaign is being coordinated by SV@Home and Working Partnerships USA.  There are opportunities for you to plug in now. Register for SV@Home’s Housewarming for Affordable Housing Month, which will focus on the bond campaign.

Polling shows that with a strong campaign we can win, and that Bay Area residents are ready to go big. We will also need to pass a revised ACA 1, the state constitutional amendment that will ensure that housing bonds need 55% voter approval, just like local public schools and community colleges. 

The ABAG Executive Board vote wrapped up the long discussion of how the bond would be administered, including a way forward on establishing labor standards. Final approval is scheduled to come to the full BAHFA board in June (this summer).