Moffett Park Specific Plan- areal view
July 20, 2023

Newsletter: Housing Happenings, More July Updates from SV@Home


Housing Happenings


Some of our local jurisdictions have had their Housing Elements approved by the state, others are waiting to hear if they have met the bar, while some are so far behind it could be months before they get close to certification. Whether it is next month or next year, a certified Housing Element is just the work plan.  The state has promised to hold cities accountable, but it is going to be up to local housing advocates to stay engaged if we are going to realize the potential of this process. Join us to talk about the opportunities ahead, how to think about tracking, and how to leverage Housing Elements to make real changes in our communities.



Jeff Levin, Senior Director of Policy for East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO)

Alison Cingolani, Policy Manager for SV@Home


#MembershipMatters – Become a Member Today!


Big Win for Housing! Sunnyvale City Council Adopts Historic Moffett Park Specific Plan

Last week, after five years of investment from SV@Home and a broad coalition of advocacy organizations, the Sunnyvale City Council adopted the Moffett Park Specific Plan. The Plan lays the groundwork for a mixed-use Ecological-Innovation District of up to 20,000 new homes, with 3,000 to 4,000 of them affordable. The Moffett Park Specific Plan is the most recent large-scale integration of significant housing into areas currently reserved for office and manufacturing, joining North Bayshore in Mountain View, the Diridon Station area and North San Jose, and a number of plan areas in north Santa Clara.  Each of these plans addresses the need to add new homes as cities plan to add new jobs, and to integrate the affordable housing necessary to address the imbalance between wages and housing costs. The Moffett Park plan is comprehensive: it protects the local ecology, maximizes infill development, integrates jobs and housing in mixed-use neighborhoods, and focuses growth near transit. With a clear commitment to housing affordability, the plan outlines a vision of a community accessible to Sunnyvale residents of all incomes.


The council made some substantive additions as it voted to adopt the plan, including adding minimum residential densities to mixed-use zones.  More changes may lie ahead as the council also directed staff to commission an economic feasibility analysis of some of the plan’s central components.  This has been a long road, and getting to a consensus vision wasn’t simple, but our collective efforts had an impact and the foundation is strong.  We will be watching carefully as master plans and development proposals come forward, as early as this fall, and will provide regular updates. More to come.


California Budget: Disaster averted, but more needed in 2024

From a  significant surplus last year to lean revenues this year, California’s budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year is finalized. During the multi-month budget process, there were rising concerns around the governor’s prior commitment to invest in housing this year. However, with pressure from a broad coalition, the final budget protected important housing funding as much as we could reasonably hope for in such a tough year. 


Here are a few highlights:

  • $1.1 billion in Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP)

  • $500 million for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program

  • $100 million for the Multifamily Housing Program

  • $50 million for Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Grant Program

  • $50 million for Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program


For additional details, we recommend reading this analysis by our friends at Non-profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) and checking out their upcoming webinar on the State budget and its impact on housing:


NPH Analysis Here

Event Link


Our affiliated 501(c)4, The SV@Home Action Fund, joined 35 other organizations to issue a united response to the budget. As our coalition wrote in our joint statement:

“These investments are critical; every dollar committed to these proven programs will result in more affordable homes and more Californians assisted out of homelessness. One-time investments, however, especially at this limited scale, are not sufficient to meet our state’s affordable housing and homelessness needs.”


Full Coalition Statement Here


We need to ensure full and consistent investment in housing at a scale appropriate for the problem so we can begin to move towards ending our housing crisis. That means elected leaders and voters from across Silicon Valley and California will have to take bolder action in the coming year. Stay tuned to see how you can help make an impact.


SB35 Update

Last month, we shared an update on how well cities have met their housing goals through the end of 2022 (spoiler alert: we have collectively failed to build the affordable housing we need across the county). However, one important step the Legislature took in 2017 is making a difference. California Senate Bill 35 (SB-35) streamlines housing construction, removing many governmental barriers to housing development in California counties and cities that fail to build enough housing to meet state-mandated targets. 


In response to the poor production performance in jurisdictions across the state, HCD has completed its annual update of cities and towns where SB 35 streamlining applies. In all but four jurisdictions in Santa Clara County, proposed developments with at least 50% affordable units qualify for a streamlined ministerial approval process, saving developers of affordable homes both time and money in a much faster permitting process. As developers have grown more comfortable submitting SB 35 development applications, the streamlined process has successfully sped the progress of hundreds of new affordable homes toward completion.

Only Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, and Santa Clara County (unincorporated land) are currently exempt from SB 35 streamlining because they have met or exceeded their housing mandates for the planning cycle that just ended. Almost all jurisdictions face much higher housing targets in the new planning cycle that has just begun, making their Housing Elements– plans to implement RHNA targets and meet the housing needs of all its residents at all income levels– more important than ever.


Proposed constitutional amendment to make it easier for local communities to raise money for affordable housing gains momentum! 

In the midst of a statewide affordable housing crisis, and the related increase in the number of people losing their homes and living unhoused, Cities and Counties are struggling to fund the affordable housing their communities need. This lack of local resources is due in part to current state law, which requires a ⅔ majority of voters to pass local bond measures to fund affordable housing in the state. That high threshold means that a small minority of local voters, 34%, can stand in the way of action on housing needs. 


But, a growing team of leaders in the State legislature are stepping up to make this right and open the door for local action on affordable housing by amending the California Constitution. The proposed amendment, currently included in Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA) 1, would lower the threshold to pass bonds to fund affordable housing to 55% – the same level of voter support already required for bonds that support school facilities. Changing these rules has the potential to unlock billions to help give communities the tools they need to address their housing needs and meet their Housing Element and RHNA obligations. This is picking up steam. Stay tuned to learn more!


Since our last update, the cities of Gilroy and Los Altos have received Housing Element review letters from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) denying certification and outlining significant additional steps the cities must take meet the housing needs of their residents. In Gilroy, HCD is requiring programs that invest in under-resourced neighborhoods, and others that advance farmworker housing. HCD is also requiring Gilroy to expand its analysis of whether the city has the policies in place to reasonably expect lower-income homes to be built in the areas identified in the prior draft of the plan.  We expect additional policies and programs will be necessary. In Los Altos, HCD is requiring the City to take explicit actions to combat segregation by providing more affordable housing choices in high-resource areas.


Only four of the cities in Santa Clara County have Housing Elements that are certified by HCD as required by state law. Find out if your city’s Housing Element is certified in SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit! Because the deadline for certification has passed, cities with uncertified Housing Elements lose significant land use control and access to a variety of state housing and infrastructure grants. They also have only a little over 6 months left to complete rezoning– a complex process of changing land use rules– on sites that are part of the Housing Element. 


The following cities will receive review letters from HCD soon, either notifying them that their Housing Elements comply with State law, or that more work is needed: Sunnyvale (July 21st), Saratoga (July 28th), Santa Clara County (August 2nd), and Palo Alto (August 4th). Meanwhile, the Town of Los Gatos and City of Santa Clara are deciding if their revised Housing Elements have met the requirements of HCD’s last review letters, and are ready to be submitted for yet another review. Stay tuned to learn what’s next!


What is the Housing Element? 

Housing Elements are a critically important 8-year plan each California jurisdiction must create to meet the housing needs of all its residents at all income levels. Learn more in SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit!_


Partner Updates

Destination: Home is excited to announce a 2nd capacity-building funding opportunity through their Andre Ellison Equity Fund!


The Andre Ellison Equity Fund supports the outstanding work of organizations committed to preventing and ending homelessness in Santa Clara County that are led by people with lived experience of homelessness and/or people of color – those who best know the needs of their community. Through the Fund, Destination: Home seeks to share power with those most impacted, elevating new solutions and perspectives previously left out. In addition, the long-term intent is to create a stronger and larger group of organizations working together to achieve the goals of the 2020-2025 Community Plan to End Homelessness, including preventing and ending homelessness and increasing community engagement and support for the Plan’s strategies. 

Applications for this new round of funding will be accepted from July 17, 2023 – August 31, 2023. Details can be found on their website, including information about optional Information and Q&A Sessions.

ICYMI: June Policy in Action- Tenant Right to Counsel

Last month, SV@Home held an informative conversation about the Tenant Right to Legal Counsel program to prevent evictions and displacement in San Jose. The recording is now available.


The City of San Jose is exploring a Tenant Right to Legal Counsel program and the potential expansion of eviction diversion programs initiated during the pandemic to prevent evictions and displacement. Our speaker, Emily Hislop, the San Jose Housing Department’s Division Manager for Rent Stabilization and Tenant Protections, explained the eviction process and what the city is currently doing to mitigate displacement outside the eviction court  before cases go before a judge. We also learned about additional policies being explored , and what seems viable for direct advocacy going forward.  Thank you to Emily Hislop for joining us and for everyone who attended the conversation, see you next week for our July Policy in Action!


Save the Date: August Happy Housers!

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