March 28, 2024

Huge Win: Tenant and Neighborhood Preferences in San Jose


The Tenant and Neighborhood Preference policy has been on the city’s priority list in some form since 2017. On Tuesday, March 26th, the San Jose City Council voted unanimously to approve the policy and to look for ways to fund the focused community outreach essential to its success. The policy was developed through an extensive community listening and prioritization process managed by a collaborative partnership between SOMOS Mayfair on the city’s East Side and city staff; it also was included in the Citywide Residential Anti-Displacement Strategy adopted in 2020. 

The path to adoption included years of community advocacy spurred by frustration that local communities were not directly benefiting from affordable developments that they had often invested significant energy supporting during the planning process. SOMOS Mayfair coordinated with the city and the regional pro-housing organization, the Housing Action Coalition, to sponsor state legislation, SB 649, introduced by Senator Dave Cortese to lessen hurdles to the population-targeted policy. The policy includes a robust “disparate impact analysis” to ensure compliance with fair housing laws.

SV@Home has been active in supporting community engagement and education around the policy for the last five years: sponsoring both community and affordable developer stakeholder meetings; and hosting public education events, including our Policy in Action series last September; and a panel discussion at the annual the Housing California Conference earlier this month. 

In the last few weeks ahead of the vote, the whole community, led by the Si Se Puede Coalition, stepped up, organizing multiple press conferences and soliciting letters of support. SV@Home was active in shaping the letter submitted by the Housing Justice Working Group of the REAL Coalition, and a separate SV@Home letter addressing the need for all parties to coordinate on implementation.