Mathew Reed, Director of Policy for SV@Home, shared insights with the Board of Supervisors about the benefits of Community Development Corporations (CDCs). “CDCs offer an opportunity for significant community participation and responsiveness, and can develop a fuller understanding of the complexity of community needs and the stabilizing role of additional affordable housing. However, unlike other places around the country where these organizations have decades-long experience — Massachusetts, Chicago, a number of cities in New Jersey, and more locally San Francisco — Santa Clara County does not have a long history of established CDCs.” SV@Home applauds the county’s exploration of CDCs to address areas of concentrated poverty.

BY: Omar Pérez┃KRON 4 News
PUBLISHED:  October 20, 2021   5:04 pm

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Over the last two decades, Santa Clara County has experienced significant economic growth but despite this many residents throughout the county continue to live in what officials call “concentrated poverty.” 

According to the county, in neighborhoods like east San Jose and Gilroy poverty rates have exceeded 20%. 

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, county leaders moved forward with discussions on creating Community Development Corporations (CDCs) in the East Side of San Jose and Gilroy for the purpose of supporting affordable housing development. 

“The CDCs typically differ from our nonprofit affordable housing corporations in several ways,” said Ky Le, Santa Clara County Deputy County Executive. 

“Usually affordable housing development is part of a broader strategy to improve conditions for the community or its residents,” Le added. 

“For the nonprofit affordable housing developers, it’s mainly focused on affordable housing although there are incidental positive impacts for the community related to non-residential spaces.”

History

CDCs first emerged in the 1960s as a product of efforts to mobilize citizens in support of tenants rights and against racially imposed living conditions, urban renewal, and private disinvestment. 

The number of CDCs nationally rose from about 200 in the mid-1970s to more than 4,000 in 2010.  

However, numbers declined in recent years due to a decrease in federal funds.

“CDCs offer an opportunity for significant community participation and responsiveness, and can develop a fuller understanding of the complexity of community needs and the stabilizing role of additional affordable housing,” said Mathew Reed, policy director for SV@Home in an email in support of CDCs. 

“However, unlike other places around the country where these organizations have decades-long experience — Massachusetts, Chicago, a number of cities in New Jersey, and more locally San Francisco — Santa Clara County does not have a long history of established CDCs.”

Economic output

According to a 2020 Urban Institute report, community development corporations produced an average of 96,000 units of affordable housing and 75,000 jobs a year.

Additionally, CDCs have produced a total of more than 1.2 million housing units nationwide.

CDCs have produced a total of more than 1.2 million housing units nationwide. 

As a result, states and localities have benefited from CDCs presence.

In Massachusetts, CDCs built or preserved 1,043 homes, created or preserved 4,054 jobs, provided 63,359 families with housing or other services, and invested a total of $436.9 million in real estate and community assets in 2020.

Similar success stories have been attributed in other parts of the country. 

“The success stories in Philadelphia, Massachusetts and New Jersey in the staff report reiterated why CDCs are really a no-brainer,” said Supervisor Otto Lee. 

“I’m frankly shocked that this model has not been implemented here [in Santa Clara County] all these years.” 

County administration will now conduct community engagement activities to assess local nonprofits’ and other groups’ interests in forming CDC and other funding needs. 

The county could implement a ‘CDC Grant Program” by the start of 2022.