Housing Happenings

 

Attend Happy Housers

RSVP Today to Join Happy Housers with SV@Home, the Coho, the San Francisco Foundation, and SJSU’s Institute for Metropolitan Studies

 

Please join us on Wednesday, October 26, at 6 p.m. at Downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Market for an evening of connection and conversing with the Bay Area’s leading advocates for housing justice. Light sips and bites will be provided.

 

San Francisco Foundation’s mission is to mobilize resources and act as a catalyst for change to build strong communities, foster civic leadership, and promote philanthropy in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

The Institute for Metropolitan Studies at San Jose State is an interdisciplinary center for public-facing programming, research, and pedagogy on urban issues across geographic scales.

 

You’re Invited: Legislative Update with Sen. Cortese at SV@Home’s Oct. 28 Policy In Action @Home

Please join us on October 28 at noon for our monthly Policy In Action @Home series as we discuss some of the most important housing bills passed into law this year with our guest Senator Dave Cortese (San Jose). We will review the big wins from the ended last legislative session and discuss what they mean for our work to make housing more stable and affordable in Silicon Valley. We will also preview the year ahead and hear Sen. Cortese’s perspective on what we can do next.

 

This free, virtual event will be moderated by SV@Home’s Executive Director Regina Celestin Williams.

 

We hope you will join us!

SV@Home’s Policy in Action @Home series (PIA) is a monthly, informal brown bag discussion convening Housers to engage on hot housing topics. Every month, we select a topic or current event, bring in an expert to give a brief presentation or interview, and open up the discussion to ask questions, float new ideas, and identify potential areas for shared action.

SV@Home 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 events@siliconvalleyathome.org.

 

#MembershipMatters – Become a Member Today!

 

 

 

Voter Registration and Together We Vote Block Party 

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th, and early voting has already started, but you can still register to vote by Monday, October 24th.

 As part of our voter registration efforts, we are joining a broad coalition for a Block Party this Saturday. Besides being a great chance to register to vote, this will be a fun community event for all ages, with a food truck, music by a local DJ, and a Kids Zone. 

Together We Vote Block Party 

Saturday, Oct. 22nd from 10 am – 2 pm

Educare California of SV, 1399 Santee Drive, San Jose

Questions? Contact PACT’s Rev. Sammie Evans at sevans@pactsj.org

Have you asked your family members, coworkers, classmates, or friends if they are registered? 

Please be sure to register to vote if you have moved, changed your name, changed party, turned 18 (or will turn 18 by Nov. 8th), or if your status as an eligible voter has changed for another reason. You can check your voter registration status here. If in doubt, re-register online at https://registertovote.ca.gov/ to ensure your voter information is up to date.

 Affordable Housing Providers:  If you help manage an affordable residential property and have questions or ideas about helping residents register to vote by next Monday, Oct. 24th, please contact us at cory@siliconvalleyathome.org — we would love to help, and it is not too late.

Watch Interviews with San José Mayoral Candidates Chavez and Mahan

See your next San José Mayor before election day as our partners at PATH interview candidates Cindy Chavez and Matt Mahan. SV@Home’s Executive Director, Regina Celestin Williams, was part of the interview panel. The discussion in this two-part forum focused on housing and homelessness, the most pressing set of issues for San Jose. You can watch each candidate’s interview on PATH’s YouTube page here:

Cindy Chavez interview

Matt Mahan interview

 

Positive Steps Forward in San Jose’s Critical Siting Policy

Image taken from City of San Jose Affordable Housing Siting Policy, available in the City’s webpage: https://www.sanjoseca.gov/your-government/departments-offices/housing/developers/affordable-housing-plans-policies/affordable-housing-siting-policy

San Jose City Staff presented their latest proposal to update its Affordable Housing Siting Policy on October 13th. SV@Home and our partners of the Race Equity Action Leadership Coalition (REAL Coalition) were pleased to see that the City is taking a promising, positive direction in ensuring that affordable housing is spread throughout San Jose in a way that both holds historically exclusive communities accountable and provides the resources that historically redlined communities deserve. The REAL Coalition sent a letter to City staff outlining the needed changes to make the policy more equitable. 

 

The Affordable Housing Siting Policy (click here for the City’s webpage) seeks to impact how and where San Jose’s affordable housing funding resources are invested. This policy has a long history since it was last known as the “Dispersion Policy” when it was crafted in 1988. It underwent major updates in 2017 from Council’s direction to align with San Jose’s Envision: 2040 General Plan’s goals to focus development in mixed-use, walkable Urban Village areas, concentrating growth near transit corridors throughout the city. Importantly, the City Council also wanted the policy to be consistent with federal and state guidance on fair housing. The now-called “Affordable Housing Siting Policy” also intends to help the City affirmatively further fair housing, consistent with federal and California fair housing laws, while delivering much-needed affordable housing throughout San Jose.

 

However, the City Council’s direction in 2021 sought to use crime and poverty data to divert affordable housing resources to historically exclusive, predominantly white neighborhoods and away from historically redlined, disinvested neighborhoods that are predominantly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). This resulted in further stigmatizing affordable housing as communities that only serve poor, criminal, Black, Latinx and Asian community members that should aim to move out of their neighborhoods if they want to live in a better one. Although affordable housing has disproportionately been built in historically disenfranchised areas of our city, and we can no longer allow affluent areas to prevent low-income households from accessing affordable housing there, the impacts of redlining still linger today. They require significant investments to make up for the heavy shortfall of housing affordability needed in communities repeatedly harmed by public policy.

 

This policy is an effort to address the racist policies of redlining, segregation, and discrimination that have shaped San Jose and the life expectancies of everyone who lives there. Starting last year, this discussion has been dominated by maps that divide the City into “high” and “low,” “good” and “bad” areas, and “worthy” and “unworthy” of investment. The focus needs to be on expanding access to areas with resources and investing resources in communities harmed by past and present disinvestment by the public and private sectors. 

 

This is an important opportunity to tell the City that affordable housing is a community asset, not a burden. We can expand affordable choices in well-resourced neighborhoods without depriving historically underinvested communities of access to affordable housing.

 

SV@Home is working with the REAL Coalition to advocate for the Affordable Housing Siting Policy to deliver outcomes that reverse redlining by providing affordable housing throughout all of San Jose, including communities that have been purposely barred from the resources they need for upward mobility. Thanks to our vocal involvement in public meetings and joint letter writing, the City of San Jose staff has proposed major changes that are responsive to our comments:

Abandoning poverty and crime statistics as the basis of locating affordable housing in San Jose;

  • Abandoning poverty and crime statistics as the basis of locating affordable housing in San Jose;
  • Changing the problematic classification of San Jose neighborhoods from ranked-based categories to “Affordability Expansion Areas” (i.e., historically exclusive communities) and “Continued Investment Areas (i.e., historically redlined communities); and
  • Prioritizing data collection and evaluation over a predetermined shift in affordable housing funding allocation target after a short term of policy implementation.

 

After the five years, staff would evaluate whether investment goals were met and shift investments as appropriate. The focus is collecting data on the amount of affordable housing incentivized in Affordability Expansion Areas before modifying targets for the percentage of housing funds committed to developments in those areas where barriers have persisted and prevented affordable housing development.

 

Updates to the Affordable Housing Siting Policy will be heard by the Community and Economic Development Committee (CED) of the City Council on Monday, November 28th. We believe the policy may go to City Council in early December before the next new City Councilmembers are sworn-in following the November General Election. We need your voice as advocates to ensure the City stays on course and to hold our leaders accountable. As the policy is finalized, we will have more details on how to engage with the November CED meeting.  If you want to be involved early, reach out with questions or support to Kenneth Javier-Rosales at kenneth@siliconvalleyathome.org.

Now that Gilroy’s public comment period has closed, they join the City of Milpitas and the Town of Los Gatos in reworking their initial Draft Housing Elements to incorporate feedback from the community before sending the revised Draft to HCD for review. It is not too late to weigh in with your concerns to these cities or any other Santa Clara County jurisdictions. Find out what is happening in your city and how to share your priorities and concerns at SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit.

 The deadline for Bay Area cities to adopt a Housing Element certified by HCD as compliant with state law is January 31, 2023. Cities throughout the state whose deadline has fallen before the Bay Area have struggled to produce compliant housing elements, despite multiple cycles of HCD review and feedback and revisions from cities. In Southern California, 63% of cities still do not have a certified compliant Housing Element, more than a year beyond their October 15, 2021, due date. Few cities in Santa Clara County appear to be on track to meet the January 31st deadline. See where your city is in the Housing Element process at SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit.

Builder’s Remedy: Can State Law Strip Away Local Zoning Restrictions for Non-Compliant Housing Elements?

Failing to produce a Housing Element that fully complies with state law is a disservice to residents suffering from high housing costs. It also has significant consequences for cities: inability to apply for many state grant programs, exposure to lawsuits, and the potential loss of local zoning authority through “Builder’s Remedy” projects. Under a provision of the 1990 Housing Accountability Act, the Builder’s Remedy strips cities with noncompliant Housing Elements of their authority to approve or deny projects with affordable housing components –projects just move forward. Developments qualify if at least 20 percent of their units are deed-restricted for low-income residents or if the developer dedicates the entire development to moderate-income residents, and the only grounds for denial would be proof that the development would have a specific, adverse impact on public health or safety. Because many cities are over a year past the deadline for submitting a legal Housing Element to the State, this provision has already required the City of Santa Monica to approve 12 new developments with 3,968 new housing units and Redondo Beach to approve a large mixed-use project with 2,320 new homes. This housing would never have been approved without the Builder’s Remedy. We expect more to come around the state and possibly in Santa Clara County.

Learn more about the Builder’s Remedy at a virtual event hosted by our partners at SPUR on November 8! Register for An Untapped Remedy to California’s Housing Crisis today.

 

Sunnyvale Unveils Strategy for Moffett Park Community Benefits and Affordable Housing 

Image taken from City of Sunnyvale Council Study Session staff presentation on October 18, 2022.

On Tuesday, Sunnyvale City Council held their final study session for the Moffett Park Specific Plan; an area envisioned to be an Ecological Innovation District (click here for city website) that will transform Moffett Park from parking lots, office parks, and suburban design into a green, vibrant, well-connected, and equitably-designed place to live, work, and play for everyone. The study session focused on community benefits and affordable housing (click here for presentation), both long-awaited and crucial topics where active engagement is essential for the city to realize and take advantage of the housing-related opportunities that Moffett Park offers.

The Moffett Park Specific Plan’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (yet to be released) will study Moffett Park’s maximum housing capacity of 20,000 homes. Moffett Park virtually has no publicly-owned lands. Instead, it is primarily owned by a few large corporate entities, such as Google. SV@Home supports Google’s commitment to providing roughly 60 percent of the maximum capacity with up to 20 percent affordable homes through land dedications. However, we have yet to hear what kind of robust commitments the other landholders are willing to make so that Moffett Park can be fully built-out with plentiful housing everyone can afford.

That is why at last night’s Council Study Session, we submitted a comment letter and gave public testimony urging the City to:

●          Commit to 20,000 new homes in Moffett Park;

●          Ensure that 20 percent of those homes, or roughly 4,000 units, be affordable homes spread throughout Moffett Park;

●          Implement a mix of both inclusionary units within market-rate projects and stand-alone, 100 percent deed-restricted affordable projects;

●          Create opportunities for very-low and extremely-low levels of affordability, including permanent supportive housing for those transitioning out of homelessness; and

●          Develop a density bonus incentives program for Moffett Park and support as many strategies would increase affordable housing development into any menu of community benefits options available to developers.

 The City Council nor staff entertained any of our recommendations, and overall, the affordable housing discussion was underwhelming and inconsistent with the urgency of Sunnyvale’s housing needs and the overall major housing challenges we are facing throughout the Bay Area. All this means that we have a long but steadfast road ahead of us to have Moffett Park live up to its fullest potential. We need the City of Sunnyvale to commit to a truly balanced, mixed-use, new community that will be essential in responding to current and future housing needs and in ensuring the sustainable future of Sunnyvale.

 We will need all the help we can get to make Moffett Park an Eco-Innovation District and engage elected officials. If you are interested in joining this movement, contact Kenneth Javier-Rosales at kenneth@siliconvalleyathome.org

 

 SV@Home Supports Mountain View Middlefield Park Master Plan 

Middlefield Park will play a critical role in the growth of Mountain View in the next decade. The Middlefield Park Master Plan outlines a strategy to bring affordable homes forward that will be essential in meeting the 4,370 lower-income unit obligations of the 6th Cycle Housing Element Update. The Middlefield Park Master Plan was recently heard at the Environmental Planning Committee on Wednesday with support from SV@Home and our partners. The plan will now move to City Council on Nov. 15th for approval. The Middlefield Park Master Plan is a project that implements the City of Mountain View’s East Whisman Precise Plan and includes a vision of transforming the area’s existing suburban office park into a thriving neighborhood with new homes, parks, restaurants, services and jobs. Google, in partnership with LendLease, submitted the application for the Middlefield Master Plan in September 2020 to replace 14 existing industrial/office buildings with 1,900 housing units, 2.4 acres of land to be dedicated to City for future affordable housing, 1.32 million square feet of office, and 10-acres of public parks and open space.

SV@Home strongly supports Google’s vision for East Whisman. Their proposed Master Plan for Middlefield Park reflects and fulfills the City of Mountain View’s goals for the area: it reimagines the current sprawl-centric office park as a mixed-use, walkable, bikeable hub with new residential development, commercial space, and parks. Middlefield Park is designed to grow around existing transit and connect to the rest of Mountain View and to Sunnyvale and will serve as both an anchor and catalyst for other development in the East Whisman area.

The strengths of the Middlefield Park proposal rest on the strengths of the East Whisman Precise Plan, which includes a Jobs-Housing Linkage Strategy, a ground-breaking policy tool that directly links new office growth with new residential development. The Middlefield Park Master Plan reaffirms the value of truly mixed-use places and complete communities where people of all incomes can live, work and play, with open spaces and active uses 18 hours a day. We are most pleased that the plan enables 20 percent of these new homes to be 100 percent deed-restricted affordable homes. We are supportive of the plan worked out by staff and the Google/Lend Lease team

SV@Home believes that both Mountain View city staff and the Google/Lend Lease team have alignment on implementing this vision. It will take continued commitment from both, and support of the City Council for the project to be fully realized. Although the planning process has been long and complicated, the success of this project will be with us for years to come. It is comforting to witness the progress being made, as the East Whisman Precise Plan continues to gain momentum.

If you would like to support this project, please send a letter of support to the Mountain View City Council. City Council emails and pertinent addresses provided here:

●          https://www.mountainview.gov/council/roster/default.asp

●          https://www.mountainview.gov/council/contact.asp

 

Mark Your Calendars for SV@Home’s Holiday Networking Event

 

HLC Presents Housing Leadership Day 2022

For over 20 years, Housing Leadership Day has provided the space for housers to exchange the knowledge and tools needed to mobilize and ultimately bring more affordable homes to our neighborhoods. This year, we are lucky to have the support of our sponsors to bring San Mateo County an accessible and engaging conference. Join us as we highlight our partnerships and power to heal and transform our communities.

OCTOBER 21, 10:00AM, CZI COMMUNITY SPACE, OR VIRTUAL

 

LISC Presents Financing Strategies for Community Land Trusts

Join the LISC Institute for Community Power, LISC Bay Area, Oakland Community Land Trust, and San Francisco Community Land Trust for a conversation on how to build power and secure resources to expand tenant and community control of housing! From the Bronx to the Bay Area, tenants are organizing to buy their buildings to fight displacement, preserve affordability, and improve housing quality, often in partnership with community land trusts (CLTs).

 OCTOBER 21, 1:00PM, ONLINE EVENT

 

SPUR Presents Bay Area Regional Black Housing Fund

For generations, Black communities have been stripped of access to wealth, prosperity and opportunity, particularly the economic benefits of home ownership and affordable housing. The Bay Area Black Housing Advisory Taskforce—a coalition of over 35 Black-led organizations—is proposing a $500 million state budget allocation to create the Bay Area Regional Black Housing Fund to assist Black housing developers and invest in Black-led community-based organizations. Join us to learn about the fund’s proposed uses, advocacy efforts at the state level, and what’s necessary to ensure this request is included in the next state budget.

OCTOBER 24, 12:30PM, ONLINE EVENT

 

Transforming Communities: A Movement to Racial Justice is A Movement, Not a Moment

San Jose State University is in its second year hosting a dynamic lineup of community events both in-person and virtual throughout Santa Clara County from Oct. 31 – Nov. 13, 2022!

Please find the list of events here to register and attend.

San Jose State University’s “Transforming Communities” is a visionary annual event designed to catalyze change in our community. Events are hosted by the SJSU community focused on creating a more racially just and equitable city and county.

OCTOBER 31 – NOVEMBER 13, BOTH ONLINE and IN-PERSON, MULTIPLE VENUES

 

United Way Bay Area Regional Strategy Town Hall – Santa Clara County

 The United Way Bay Area is holding a town hall meeting with some of its board, leadership team, and UWBA Ambassadors (its lived-experience council) on Thursday, November 3rd from 11a-1p (lunch included!) at the Mexican Heritage Plaza at the School of Arts and Culture in San Jose. Join and learn about the needs in your community, how United Way Bay Area is creating impact and share your perspectives in our Q&A session.

NOVEMBER 3, 11:00AM

School of Arts & Culture – Mexican Heritage Plaza, Pavilion Room, 1700 Alum Rock Ave.  San Jose

 

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

 
 
 
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