Welcome to SV@Home’s Policy Rundown, your need-to-know overview of important housing policy actions and developments from the past two weeks.
Santa Clara County Advances Crestview Hotel Conversion
On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors took the next step towards converting Mountain View’s Crestview Hotel for use as permanent supportive housing by approving a staff application to the State’s Homekey program. The Homekey funds would be critical to making the proposed 66 homes for our most vulnerable neighbors a reality. SV@Home was proud to stand with our partners Destination: Home and community advocates to support this excellent proposal in the face of some community pushback.
We are thankful to the Board of Supervisors for their unanimous support, but it is clear that organizing public support will be critical to secure the project’s future. There are several upcoming opportunities for you to show your support for this important project that will help our neighbors experiencing homelessness:
On October 27th, from 6pm – 7:30pm, the County of Santa Clara and the City of Mountain View will host a community meeting to share additional information and answer questions. Zoom information follows:
Join Zoom Meeting: https://sccgov-org.zoom.us/j/93945736088
Join by phone: (669) 900-6833 or (669) 219-2599
Join by Meeting ID: 939 4573 6088
Submit questions or comments before the meeting to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Translation services will be available in Spanish and Chinese-Mandarin.
Tuesday, November 2 at 10am: Board of Supervisors Meeting and Vote
Positive public comment will be essential as Supervisors vote to move this permanent affordable housing development forward. Save the date and stay tuned for meeting details. Here is the Board portal where you will be able to find the agenda and meeting access information: http://sccgov.iqm2.com/citizens/default.aspx?frame=no
Have Questions about Eviction Resources? Visit one of the Eviction Help Centers
With the expiration of the State Eviction Moratorium at the end of September, local government partnerships have continued to provide resources to assist both tenants and landlords navigate the complexity of rent relief and eviction laws. There are three active eviction help centers available to assist tenants and landlords with rent relief, legal aid, and other resources:
- San José City Hall, 12th floor — Open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Franklin McKinley School District office, located at 645 Wool Creek Drive in San José — Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Wednesdays from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm
- Mountain View Public Library, 2nd floor, Program Room — Open every Thursday through mid-December, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Applying for emergency rental assistance available to those who experienced COVID-related financial impacts is still the most important step both tenants and landlords should take. It is not too late to apply, and assistance is still available. The state program can be accessed online at the Housing Is Key website. For more information on state and local rental assistance and legal support see the Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing resource page.
California State Assembly Holds Social Housing Hearing
Earlier this year, Assemblymember Alex Lee (AD 25) introduced AB 387 on Social Housing, hoping to broaden the discussion on government responses to the housing crisis. With the door open, the legislature formed the California State Assembly Select Committee On Social Housing, which held its first hearing in Oakland this week. The committee, chaired by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (AD 15) and including Assemblymembers Lee and Mia Bonta (AD 18), has taken on the creation of a new framework for Social Housing in California.
The hearing, which was recorded and can be watched here, kicked off with an overview of the complex history of publicly supported housing in the U.S. Beginning with New Deal programs of the 1930s, federal housing policies moved through cycles of new promises and disappointments, marked by shrinking budgets and an increasingly limited role for public agencies in the development and management of subsidized housing. Today, most of the affordable housing being built is financed through the low income housing tax credit program, which is run not through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) but through allocations directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to Housing Finance Authorities (HFAs) at the state level.
The Committee then began the discussion of the broad range of alternative approaches to making housing affordable through social ownership, with discussion of local models including: community land trusts; capital gains advantages when a landlord sells to a social housing program; and rent-to-buy programs. The Committee also heard presentations from international experts about Social Housing programs in Barcelona, Vienna, and a federal program in Mexico. They expect to look into other models in the future, including the extensive programs in Taiwan and Singapore.
While the work of the Select Committee is just beginning, we at SV@Home believe these are important opportunities to broaden the affordable housing discussion. We need to keep thinking and reflecting on the possibilities of new and existing models for addressing the housing crisis, and be open to innovation and adopting best practices from around the world.
Many cities in Santa Clara County are holding Housing Element study sessions for Councils and Planning Commissions. Come learn more and share your thoughts on what your community needs! Nothing scheduled for your city? Sign up for updates! The Housing Element process, which only happens every eight years, offers real opportunities for the housing advocate community to impact how jurisdictions throughout Silicon Valley and South County are planning to respond to the need for more housing, more affordable housing, and solid strategies to protect and address housing instability challenges in our communities. New Housing Element rules include more tools to do better and more consequences when cities don’t comply. Our collective involvement is going to make a difference – real, workable, feasible plans that can promote fair housing, give access to resources for lower-income families, and fight racial and economic segregation. Learn more about our work on the Housing Element!