Welcome to the first of SV@Home’s Policy Rundowns for 2022! This is your need-to-know overview of some of the key housing policy actions and developments we’ll be working on in the new year.

A Note from our Executive Director, Regina Celestin Williams

I feel so grateful to step into 2022, working alongside of all of you to make Silicon Valley a place where everyone thrives.  With the coming of a new year, many of us take the time to reflect on our past accomplishments and set goals for bringing forth the change that we want to see. Below, we share housing priorities that represent much of SV@Home’s core principles; policy and advocacy work that we collectively have brought to this place of action. However, with the newness of the calendar year and of my leadership at SV@Home comes an openness to consider new directions, additional priorities, and a broader awareness of housing issues that impact us and our neighbors.

As you peruse this section of the newsletter, think of how we could be better aligned with this diverse base of housing advocates, more supportive of our partners in this work, and striving further for social justice. Please contact me (Regina@siliconvalleyathome.org) or any of us on the Policy Team with any thoughts or suggestions.

2022 Priorities and Policy Issues to Watch

To kick off 2022, the SV@Home Policy Team would like to share a few big policy items and priorities we are tracking and shaping this year. Stay tuned to this newsletter for opportunities to get involved in these and other critical policy conversations.

Protection and Preservation Strategies and Policies: Many Santa Clara County cities are undertaking robust efforts to protect renters from being displaced from our community. Some important policies we are following in the New Year are Palo Alto’s implementation and expansion of a suite of tenant protection policies, San José’s Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA), and Mountain View’s R3 zoning update with anti-displacement strategies. Also, as our country recovers from the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, we are following the actions of the state, county, and cities to mitigate the displacement challenges renters face.

Specific Plans: Cities are continuing major land use planning efforts that will create opportunities for thousands of new homes and affordable homes. Some important planning processes we are tracking in the new year include Moffett Park and El Camino Real in Sunnyvale, Freedom Circle and Patrick Henry in Santa Clara, and ongoing BART extension planning in San José. SV@Home is working with city staff and local housing advocates to maximize opportunities for residential development, especially for deed-restricted affordable housing, throughout these plan areas.

Housing Elements: The Housing Element process is underway now in every jurisdiction in the County, as cities plan how they will meet the housing needs of all their existing residents and accommodate future growth for years 2023 to 2031! New to this planning cycle, local jurisdictions must demonstrate that they are using their Housing Element to combat discrimination, overcome existing patterns of segregation, and foster inclusive communities, in addition to eliminating barriers to housing. SV@Home is helping advocates plug into this important process as a way to help achieve our most critical housing priorities.

Project Homekey: To help California’s unhoused, the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) Homekey program is accepting Round 2 applications through May 2, 2022. Some of the projects SV@Home is advocating for to receive this funding includes Clara Gardens in Santa Clara, Crestview Model in Mountain View, and Pacific Motor Inn, Pavilion Inn, Residence Inn, and Arena Hotel in San José. Of the recently announced Homekey Round 2 awards, none have been in Santa Clara County to date.

Elections: This year, Santa Clara County voters will cast ballots for the governor, all our congressional representatives and state assembly members, one state senator, two county supervisors, many mayors and council members, and ballot measures that could impact our housing crisis. Campaign season is a great time to let current and future elected officials understand the importance of housing leadership at every level of government. The primary election is June 7th, and the general election is November 8th.

State Budget: California is anticipating a 2022-2023 budget surplus of over $30 billion! SV@Home will work with partners from around the state and local activists like you to make sure the Legislature and the governor put housing at the top of their budget priorities.

Commercial Linkage Fee in San José: When San José adopted a Commercial Linkage Fee in 2020 we were in the throes of the pandemic and commercial development was stalled by significant uncertainty.  Due to these circumstances, the Council decided to conduct a new feasibility study in 2022 to potentially increase the fees to reflect a more stable market. Current rents for new offices are now at an all-time high, and the number of major projects being approved has increased. We are looking forward to the opportunity in the fall of 2022 to strengthen these fees to ensure that as we recover economically we have the resources to meet the additional affordable housing needs we will face.