With pressures from the tight land supply and fewer available units, communities are experiencing more gentrification and existing homes are threatened by redevelopment. SV@Home strongly supports the preservation of existing affordable housing and the need to mitigate or avoid displacement, both physical and economic.

SV@Home will:

  • Partner with other area leaders to preserve existing homes that are at risk of loss to the affordable housing stock.
  • Support tools, policies, and programs that create protections that preserve existing affordable housing and respond to displacement.
  • Support policies that require replacement housing for lost units and that adequately compensate residents who are displaced.

Policy Platform:

1. Mobilehome Conversions and Closures

Mobilehomes are generally considered to be affordable. Built originally in industrial or commercial areas, many mobilehome parks are under threat of conversion or closure.  This issue is particularly significant in San Jose, which has 10,800 mobilehome units (Countywide there are more than 17,000).  Because some of these parks are now in areas that are prime for development, there is pressure to close them and construct new, higher-density developments.

SV@Home supports policies that:

  • Acknowledge that mobilehomes are an important part of the affordable housing stock
  • Oppose the closure of mobilehome parks, and the loss of homes, without plans for conversion to higher density housing
  • Oppose the conversion of mobilehome parks unless:
    • Sufficient time is provided to existing residents to plan for relocation.
    • Ongoing communication is provided to existing residents.
    • The affordable units are replaced, at a minimum, on a one-for-one basis and that the replaced units remain deed restricted, and affordable over time.
    • Appropriate compensation is provided to any mobilehome owners displaced by a new development.
    • Fair relocation reimbursement and relocation services are provided to displaced residents.
    • The proposed new development creates more density.

SV@Home supports programs that:

  • Provide funding to mobilehome owners to purchase their parks.
  • Facilitate the purchase of a mobilehome park by a nonprofit agency in cases where purchase and/or ownership of the park is not feasible for the mobilehome owners.
2. Demolition of Naturally Affordable Housing

Similar to mobilehome parks, there are now development pressures to tear down older garden-style housing, which is typically considered to be more affordable, to build higher density development. This has happened throughout the County.

SV@Home supports policies that:

  • Incentivize, encourage, or facilitate the replacement of naturally affordable units that are demolished, with a goal of at least one-for-one deed restricted replacement.
  • Give first right of refusal to displaced tenants to return to the new development.
  • Complete the project in phases, as feasible, to reduce impact on tenants.
  • Provide sufficient notice and ongoing communication to existing residents.
  • Provide fair temporary and permanent relocation reimbursements and relocation services to displaced residents.
    • Ensure that the proposed new development creates more homes than those demolished and results in increased density
3. Preservation of Income-Restricted Affordable Housing

Many properties have been built in the County with a patchwork of affordable housing funding, with different requirements for the term of affordability. As a result, these projects eventually reach a point where the affordability restrictions mature and the units could be lost to the affordable housing stock.

SV@Home supports policies that:

  • Preserve existing affordable housing by:
    • Encouraging owners of affordable developments facing conversion to market rate to keep their units affordable.
    • Facilitating transfer of at risk affordable housing to nonprofit developers or other owners who agree to keep the units affordable.
  • Protect income-restricted housing from demolition for other purposes, without plans to replace the units with a like number of restricted homes.

SV@Home supports programs that:

  • Provide financial support to refinance developments at risk of conversion to keep them affordable.
4.Gentrification/Displacement/Aging Housing Stock

Whole neighborhoods in some South Bay communities have changed drastically as new development replaces old. Displacement is caused when the new housing costs outpace the ability of former residents to afford.  Rehabilitation and renovation of existing housing stock can be good, but when it displaces families who can no longer afford to stay it not only changes that neighborhood but the community as a whole.

SV@Home supports policies that:

  • Encourage rehabilitation and neighborhood stabilization efforts that prioritize local residents, helping them stay in their communities.
  • Provide planning and regulatory mechanisms that consider the cumulative effect that development has on neighborhoods, particularly neighborhoods with large numbers of lower-income households, and seek to avoid the loss of institutional and cultural infrastructure.
  • Require that existing residents at risk of displacement are given the chance to remain in new homes.
  • Protect renters from conversion of their homes to condominiums.
  • Require a percentage of the units in new development to be affordable or that developers pay a fee.
  • Require cities to consider jobs housing fit as well as jobs housing balance in their Housing Elements, and in specific and precise plans.
  • Expand relocation benefits to provide assistance to moderate income households who are displaced.
  • Promote new housing types for the missing middle, including micro units, row houses, and accessory dwelling units.

SV@Home supports programs that:

  • Provide financial and regulatory incentives for owners to rehabilitate existing developments without displacing current tenants.
5. AirBnB and Investors

SV@Home supports policies that:

  • Discourage investors from buying homes and holding them vacant
6. Tenant Protections

Renter households in Santa Clara County increasingly face displacement and homelessness due to extreme increases in rent, and seemingly arbitrary evictions. The effects of displacement due to dramatic rises in rent and evictions have undermined tenant and community stability.  This hardship and instability poses a particular burden on tenants and communities with lower and/or fixed incomes.

Policies that respond to the risks of displacement and arbitrary eviction are important parts of the package of tools cities need to respond to the current affordability and displacement crises.  Regional discussions have acknowledged these policies as part of the solution, and while regional approaches may be required, these are discussions that should also be had at the local level.

SV@Home supports the following tenant protection policies:

  • Just Cause Eviction Protections which, require that landlords cite specific “just causes” for termination of tenancy, such as failure to pay rent or violation of lease terms, and pay relocation assistance for allowable no-fault evictions, such as withdrawal of the apartment from the rental market.
  • Emergency limits on allowable annual rent increases to a reasonable amount.

SV@Home supports programs that:

  • Provide free legal counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction.
  • Provide emergency rental assistance for low-income tenants facing eviction.

SV@Home Actions:

  • Directly promote housing preservation in accordance with this Policy Framework
  • Highlight preservation issues in social media, including our website
  • Host events to enable conversation about preservation issues, solutions, and response
  • Support partners’ work by signing on to coalition letters
  • Provide opportunities through the SV@Home website for individuals to act
  • Review and evaluate tenant protection policies developed as part of the CASA process, and develop a future set of policies

 

Additional Resources

Photo: John Burns Gardens, Santa Clara County Housing Authority

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