Transit-oriented development
March 16, 2023

Newsletter: San Jose Mayor’s Budget Message, Transit-Oriented Communities, and Affordable Housing Month On the Way!


Housing Happenings


Join SV@Home for an update on the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA) and plans to implement it in the City of San Jose.  


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.


The San Jose City Council requested the development of this policy as part of the Citywide Anti-displacement Strategy in 2020. A “Challenge Grant” from the Partnership for the Bay’s Future with SOMOS Mayfair as a community partner supported the policy development work for the COPA policy. Through the Challenge Grant, the City has been able to create a draft framework for a COPA program. The policy has been developed through extensive community stakeholder meetings sponsored by the City and a parallel series of community meetings sponsored by SOMOS Mayfair. With the feedback from these meetings, San Jose City Council is expected to decide on the parameters of a COPA program in April. 


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 then 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 to engage fully. To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, please email

#MembershipMatters – Become a Member Today!


San Jose Mayor’s Budget Message

On Monday evening San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan released his March Budget Message, which will be presented to the City Council for approval next Tuesday, March 21. In San Jose, the Mayor releases a budget message every year to set out their priorities as the budget is being developed for final council adoption in June. The public budget discussion began at City Council on February 14th and 21st with council study sessions on 2023-24 Priority Setting. 


Over the coming months, housing is going to continue to be central to the budget discussion in San Jose. Given limited resources, how do we find the appropriate balance between interim and permanent solutions? How do we address the tens of thousands of people with an increased vulnerability to displacement due to severe rent burdens and acute housing instability? How do we best care for our neighbors who find themselves unhoused, a high percentage unsheltered?


On housing, the content of the Mayor’s Budget Message was largely reflective of his campaign positions and priorities he presented during the February study sessions. Mayor Mahan has put a lot of emphasis on funding interim shelter communities, “tiny homes,” as the best response to the homeless crisis.  Simultaneously, he continues to focus on streamlining the internal city processes for approving all housing construction, including multifamily housing and affordable to low-income households, as an effort to address the housing affordability crisis. While streamlined and efficient permit processing supports critical housing production, the city must remain committed in its funding priorities to the goal of increasing housing for our low-income community members who continue to experience real hardship and uncertainty in our high-cost housing market.


Measure E is the primary city funding source going forward for all housing programs – prevention/protection, preservation, and new construction. San Jose voters passed this Measure, which collects a small fee for real estate sales over $2 mil, in 2020 with an expenditure plan that balanced the range of housing needs – from homeless prevention to affordable construction to down-payment assistance to moderate-income new homeowners. In 2022, the expenditure plan was changed by the City Council to shift resources away from the affordable housing production programs in order to allocate 15% of the overall spending to interim housing and shelter construction, further supporting the continuum of housing needs. Mayor Mahan’s budget message indicates his desire to shift the Expenditure Allocation Plan, change the weighting of the different solutions, and add entirely new uses for these funds– all of which would have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the current housing funding strategy. 


SV@Home supports interim housing, and alternative shelter models, as part of an integrated continuum of tools outlined in the county-wide Community Plan to End Homelessness. The need for interim housing is a reflection of our collective failure to keep people housed or provide them with the affordable homes and support they need to thrive. This is not an either-or proposition; our community needs both permanently affordable housing options for our neighbors most vulnerable to displacement and interim housing to end the trauma experienced by those who live unsheltered in our city. 


SV@Home is committed to making sure we get this right because we have to. The council may reach a responsible consensus, but it may take a coalition of community members, housers, and the leadership of elected officials to maintain the forward-looking commitments we have made.  


Draft Guidelines for TOC Policy Released!

In September of last year, we reported our huge victory when the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) adopted the hallmark Transit-Oriented Communities Policy (TOC Policy), replacing the former Transit-Oriented Development Policy. 


MTC has released Draft Guidelines to help jurisdictions implement the new TOC Policy by January 1st, 2024. SV@Home is supporting a regional coalition of housing, environmental, and transportation advocates to ensure the guidelines effectively hold cities accountable.The policy requires that cities which are lacking policies that address housing production, preservation and tenant protections – all 3 Ps — begin their implementation now.


The TOC Policy sets the following guidelines for development in local jurisdictions with major transit stations, so that they are eligible for regional transportation project funding opportunities, such as the One Bay Area Grant and more: 

  • Establish minimum and allowable maximum density requirements within one-half mile of transit stations to encourage compact, walkable communities near transit stations.
  • Support housing affordability by requiring jurisdiction-wide Affordable Housing Production, Preservation, and Protection Policies (“3 Ps” Policies) from a menu of options.
  • Protect and stabilize small businesses by requiring at least one policy from a list of options.
  • Prioritize pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders over drivers, by setting parking maximums for new residential and commercial development.
  • Mandate local jurisdictions study how they can improve connectivity to transit stations for everyone, including the disability community, Equity Priority Communities, and people with a wide range of ages, sizes, and abilities.

Santa Clara Interim Housing Project

On Thursday, March 9th the County of Santa Clara, LifeMoves, Sobrato Philanthropies, and the City of Santa Clara held a community meeting regarding a future Interim Housing community planned for the corner of Benton Street and the Lawrence Expressway on the city’s far west side. This new community would have 80-120 units with on-site supportive services for unstably housed individuals until they can move into a permanent affordable home or secure other long-term solutions. View the slides. Watch the recording


This partnership between the City and the County of Santa Clara seeks to develop emergency solutions to the rising number of people experiencing homelessness in the City of Santa Clara. According to the 2022 Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey, the number of unhoused individuals in the city increased by 35% between 2019 and 2022. The land is currently owned by the county and will use funds from the state’s Project Homekey program.


The backlash from the current neighbors of the site has been extreme compared to similar projects in neighboring cities. SV@Home spoke in favor of the project and urged everyone to approach the issue of our housing crisis with compassion and courage. As part of the Community Plan to End Homelessness, it will take many solutions to tackle homelessness. Read the article about the meeting, where our Preservation and Protection Associate was quoted. 


Getting these new homes built is going to take all of us to stand up for the dignity of our unhoused neighbors and the need for every city to do its part to be part of our collective solutions. The next community meeting will be held virtually on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, from 6:00-8:00 pm. Please make the time to show up and make your voice heard. 


Still Time to Shape the Future

The Bay Area is now 6 weeks past its deadline for certifying Housing Elements, and not a single jurisdiction in Santa Clara County has adopted a Housing Element that has been certified compliant with state law by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). This means there is still time for residents and stakeholders in every city and town to shape local plans to meet the housing needs in your community! Find out what’s going on in your city and how to get involved at SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit, and see the highlights below: 

  • Los Gatos: On January 25th, the Town Council adopted the Draft 2023-2031 Housing Element with only minimal revisions to the site inventory – despite HCD’s statement in their review letter on January 12, 2023 that the draft element was noncompliant and required extensive revision to comply with state law. Since then, the Town has made revisions to the adopted Housing Element in response to HCD’s review letter and will bring the revised Element to the Housing Element Advisory Board on March 16th, at 7 pm in the Town Council Chambers at 110 E. Main Street.
  • Mountain View: The City released a second Subsequent Draft Housing Element on March 6th. They plan to bring the revised Draft to the City Council on April 11th from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm, in the Council Chambers at 500 Castro St.
  • Later this month, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and Saratoga will each receive review letters from HCD. Morgan Hill will receive a review letter in April. We anticipate that most of these letters will call out additional revisions that are necessary to comply with state law. Learn more in SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit!

ICYMI: February 2023 PIA, Sunnyvale Moffett Park Specific Plan

On February 24th, SV@Home hosted our second Policy in Action @Home event of the year. We discussed the Moffett Park Specific Plan and featured Livable Sunnyvale, a local community-led organization and a strong ally of ours based in Sunnyvale. In case you missed it, SV@Home publishes all online content on our website. Click here to watch the February PIA on Moffett Park. 


There is still time to take action! Click here to sign onto Livable Sunnyvale’s letter urging Sunnyvale leaders to adopt a Moffett Park Specific Plan that fully addresses the community’s needs. This letter will be sent to Sunnyvale leaders with your signature.


The Moffett Park Specific Plan is 1,275 acres in size and is located at the northerly-most portion of Sunnyvale. The plan area will have the capacity to build 20,000 homes with an aspiring target of 3,000 to 4,000 affordable units. We have to ensure the Plan will live up to its promise of an Eco-Innovative District where everyone can work, live, and play.


Affordable Housing Month 2023 Artwork Unveiled!


This year SV@Home worked with local artist, Julie Meridian, to bring the Affordable Housing Month 2023 artwork to life.

The theme for this year’s AHM is Building Community, signifying the fortification of our relationships with the people, neighborhoods, and local partners committed to making housing justice a reality. At SV@Home we recognize that every supporter of Affordable Housing Month plays a critical role in shaping our communities so that they are diverse, affordable, equitable, and accessible to everyone. This year’s theme emphasizes the need for all of us to deepen our commitment to this work and lay the building blocks of a future that we can only construct together.


Affordable Housing Month 2023 Event Proposals due Tomorrow (March 17)!

If you have any questions please contact: Antonia Gutierrez


Join us for our April Happy Housers on April 4th at 5:30 PM!


SCANPH Presents: Affordable Housing 101 Workshop Series (April 11th – 25th). During  April, we’ll convene five workshops that cover the core elements of affordable housing development and financing. Each session will be taught by experts and members in the industry and you’ll benefit from their first-hand insights. All are welcome to attend the sessions whether you’re brand new to affordable housing or looking to brush up on some knowledge. You can RSVP now!


NLIHC Presents: Housing First (April 17th). Join National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Alliance to End Homelessness, and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for a webinar on homelessness and Housing First. Homelessness is a crisis in many communities – one that demands urgent action. To end homelessness once and for all, federal, state, and local governments must invest in proven solutions at the scale necessary to address the problem. The Housing First model is one of the best strategies for ending homelessness.


ELPN Presents: Social Housing Forum (April 5th). ELPN’s Social Housing Forum will be an open and exploratory discussion on the prospect of introducing a social housing model to California. We will discuss what “social housing” really means, what it looks like abroad, and what it might look like in California. Panelists from a variety of backgrounds will share their thoughts, research, and plans for this development model and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts on what shape social housing may take in their communities.


JCHS Presents: Landlords, Potential Tenants, and Access to Criminal Records Information (April 21st). Allowing landlords, employers, and other important gatekeepers to access information on criminal records can create serious barriers to housing, jobs, and other opportunities. In this talk, Lauren Russell, a Meyer Fellow and Harvard PhD candidate in Public Policy, will introduce a new database that catalogs the evolution of the public and private entities which, starting in the 1970s, made it much easier for landlords and employers to access this information. She will also link the evolution of these systems to public discourse about crime and race, and explain how these systems may have contributed to racial inequality in both housing and employment, particularly before 2000 when there were few limits on the use of this information.

Elevate Community Center Presents: Free Criminal Record Expungement Clinic (May 6th).  Meet in person, by appointment, at a confidential location to be confirmed after registration. Meet confidently with the legal team and discuss whether you qualify for record clearance. The first twenty registrants will be able to get their RAP sheets for free (financial eligibility applies). Registration is REQUIRED by 4/17.


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

SV@Home Updates

We are thrilled to introduce our two new hires: Cesia Rangel-Espinosa, Administrative Associate, and Fatima Burgos, Communications Manager as well as the transition of Kenneth Javier-Rosales into the role of Program Manager. Learn more about them below! 

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