April 6, 2023

Newsletter: Affordable Housing Month Event Calendar, Moffett Park Specific Plan Vote, and Housing Element Updates!


Housing Happenings


Our Affordable Housing Month Calendar is here and we are so excited to share the incredible events slated for May! SV@Home is hosting five events that focus on community building, advancing affordable housing in our region, and fortifying strategic partnerships across sectors. In addition to the five you see above, we have over thirty partner events in collaboration with leading organizations and individuals in our field. Our calendar will continue to be updated in the coming weeks so be sure to keep an eye out. We hope to see you there!

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Moffett Park Plan Going to Sunnyvale City Council in May

The Moffett Park Specific Plan (MPSP) moved swiftly through the Housing and Human Services Commission two weeks ago and is headed to the Planning Commission later this month. Subsequently, the City Council will vote on adoption, which is scheduled for May 16th. 


The Moffett Park Specific Plan covers 1,275 acres located along the bay in north Sunnyvale. Once approved the area will have the capacity to build 20,000 homes with a target of 3,000 to 4,000 of the homes designated as affordable. We have been involved in this multi-year planning process and are pleased to see a timeline pushing for adoption later this Spring. However, SV@Home is working hard to ensure that the MPSP has all the policy tools in place to realize its affordable housing goals. The City needs to ensure that the Plan lives up to its promise as an Eco-Innovative District where everyone can work, live, and play. Click here to read SV@Home’s letter and here for a joint coalition letter we sent with our partner organizations to the City.


We are reaching the end of this long-range planning process, and we are going to need your help to make sure Moffett Park has a robust plan that is equitable and accessible for everyone. Stay tuned for future actions you can take to support the recommendations in our letter. In the meantime, below are the Planning Commission and City Council public hearing dates and links to meeting details:


 Congratulations to the City of Campbell!

Campbell is on track to be the first city in Santa Clara County with a certified Housing Element! On March 27, 2023, the City received a review letter from HCD for the City’s most recent Draft Housing Element. HCD’s letter notes that Campbell’s Draft meets the statutory requirements of State Housing Element Law and will substantially comply with State Housing Element Law once it is adopted and submitted to HCD for approval. As of the April 4th council meeting, adoption has not yet been added to the agenda.


No jurisdiction in Santa Clara County, and only 13 of the Bay Area’s 109 jurisdictions, have adopted a Housing Element that HCD has deemed compliant with state law, despite the January 31, 2023 deadline to do so. Follow what’s happening in your city at SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit!


Santa Clara County has released a Draft Housing Element

On March 21st, Santa Clara County released its first Draft Housing Element for a 30-day public comment period. The Draft protects rural areas by focusing plans for growth in pockets of unincorporated urban land, mostly within or adjacent to the City of San Jose and at Stanford. The Draft also acknowledges the risk of plans based on very large parcels of land by planning for more than twice the required capacity of homes. However, the process for the County to regain land use authority, ceded decades ago to cities adjacent to the planned parcels, is unclear. SV@Home continues to work with allies to identify areas for improvement in this and other local housing elements. We continue to provide recommendations and technical support to resolve issues.


Adopted noncompliant housing elements

Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, and Santa Clara adopted Draft Housing Elements in January that have not been certified by HCD as compliant with State Housing Element Law.

  • Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Morgan Hill, and Santa Clara have each received a review letter from HCD stating that the Housing Elements they adopted in January without HCD certification still require more revisions to comply with State Housing Element Law. 
  • The Town of Los Gatos adopted a Draft Housing Element without HCD certification in January and submitted it to HCD for review. HCD is expected to provide a comment letter on April 14th. Rather than wait for HCD’s feedback, the Town posted another Revised Housing Element for a seven-day review period, ending March 30th, and submitted it to HCD for review.
  • The City of Milpitas also adopted a Draft Housing Element without HCD certification in January but did not submit it to HCD for review. On March 30th, the City posted a revised Subsequent Draft, which they refer to as “Adopted” despite substantive revisions since the Council last adopted the noncompliant Element in January. The City intends to submit the Subsequent Draft to HCD following the required 7-day notice period.

Builder’s Remedy and other consequences of Noncompliance

Housing Elements must be certified as compliant with state housing law by HCD and adopted by the local jurisdiction for cities to avoid loss of local land use authority, fines, and loss of access to important pools of state funding. Builder’s Remedy, a controversial exemption from local zoning constraints for projects with a specific percentage of deed-restricted affordable housing, is the most talked-about consequence of noncompliance. Here in the South Bay, we know that Builder’s Remedy developments have already been proposed in Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View, and we suspect that other local jurisdictions have also received applications that have not been publicized. Some jurisdictions around the state are attempting to avoid processing Builder’s Remedy applications, either by stating that the application is incomplete or ignoring an application’s eligibility for Builder’s Remedy. However, as seen in a letter of technical assistance to the City of Santa Monica, HCD has been firm that jurisdictions without a compliant housing element cannot deny qualifying developments. Read SV@Home’s recent blog post about what can happen when cities fail to adopt a compliant Housing Element by the deadline.


Silicon Valley Pain Index Documentary

The 2022 Silicon Valley Pain Index, published by the SJSU Human Rights Institute, analyzes racial discrimination and income inequality in the region. The Index’s inception came in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020 and the need to understand the persistent socio-economic disparities afflicting Silicon Valley. The findings demonstrate extreme racial inequalities in the region. It shows declining incomes for African American and Latinx households and a worsening housing affordability crisis forcibly displacing working and middle-class families. 


In addition to the annual report, a new documentary titled Silicon Valley Pain Index, featuring interviews with Silicon Valley community leaders and neighbors will be released this month. SV@Home’s Executive Director, as well as many of our partners, will be featured in the film.


MacKenzie Scott Sets New ‘Open Call’ to Donate $250 Million to Nonprofits

Through her organization Yield Giving, Scott plans to make unrestricted $1 million donations to 250 nonprofits selected in the process, which she calls a “new pathway to support for organizations making positive change in their communities.” To apply, the nonprofits must have had annual operating budgets larger than $1 million but less than $5 million for at least two of the past five years. Organizations need to register to apply before May 5 and complete their applications by June 12. The applications will be reviewed by peers, who will select up to 1,000 finalists in the fall. Those finalists will then be evaluated by a publicly named panel selected for their related experience. The 250 winners will be announced in early 2024.


ICYMI: April Happy Housers

On Tuesday, SV@Home hosted our second Happy Housers of the year, in partnership with the United Way Bay Area, Sacred Heart Community Services, Destination: Home, and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Thank you to the many people who showed up to celebrate our new and current board members! It was a great evening of building community by bringing our members together at District San Jose.


With the popularity of our Happy Housers events, we will be holding more in 2023 than ever before. Stay tuned for our next Happy Housers in June!


ICYMI: March Policy in Action, Community Opportunity to Purchase Act in San Jose

Our March Policy in Action (PIA) event was an update on the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act in San Jose. This is a key part of the City’s anti-displacement strategy under direction from the City Council and has been through a couple of years of public meetings and active community engagement. After a solid endorsement from the Housing and Community Development Commission (HCDC) earlier in the month, hundreds of community members showed up to the Council’s Community and Economic Development Committee (CED) on March 27. The reception at the Committee meeting was not as positive. Currently, the policy is scheduled to come before the City Council on April 24th. Look for an action alert from us sharing ways to advocate in the coming weeks.


You can view the recording of the COPA PIA here. 


COPA is a housing preservation tool that requires a landlord who wishes to sell their rental property to first notify Qualified Non-Profits, pre-approved by the city. These nonprofits will have the opportunity to express an interest in the property, and then have a set timeframe to put together an offer. The landlord is not obligated to accept the offer, but they usually must allow that nonprofit to match their preferred offer when it goes on the market. Providing these community-based nonprofits the opportunity to purchase these properties allows them to be converted to permanently affordable housing, stabilizing housing for the residents.


For a full list of upcoming events, visit our Events Calendar.

SV@Home Updates

We are thrilled to welcome four new members to our Board of Directors, Steven Yang, Randy Tsuda, Aubrey Merriman, and Nevada Merriman! We are so grateful for their expertise and commitment to our mission of creating a more vibrant and equitable Silicon Valley for all. Learn more about them below:

350 W. Julian St. #5 • San José, CA 95110  •  408.780.8411  •  Visit our website.