On September 1, 2020, we have an opportunity to pass a Commercial Linkage Fee in the City of San Jose.
We faced an affordable housing emergency before the current public health pandemic and subsequent economic crisis, and now the need for more affordable housing could not be more dire.
How does the Commercial Linkage Fee work?
- As cities build jobs-generating commercial real estate – like new office buildings or warehouses – developers pay a fee per square foot to offset a small portion of the need for more affordable housing created by new jobs.
- The CLF is a critical tool that connects job growth to funding for affordable housing.
How is job growth connected to the housing crisis?
- Between 2010 and 2019 San Jose increased the number of jobs by nearly 100,000 while adding only 22,000 housing units – joining other cities in driving up housing costs to unsustainable levels. Rents have increased by 62% over this period.
- When we add new jobs many of the new employees don’t make enough to live in San Jose. Every 1 million square ft of new office space creates an additional demand for at least 300 new affordable homes – nearly 700 new affordable homes if you count middle income households that can’t afford San Jose rents. Currently we build only 270 new affordable homes a year to respond to the need we already have.
Why can’t we afford to wait?
- There is currently over 45 million square feet of new jobs generating development in San Jose’s pipeline – as many as 150,000 additional jobs, that we don’t have homes for, promising even higher rents
- The majority of lower-income renters in San Jose are already severely rent-burdened, paying more than half of their monthly income on rent while foregoing other basic necessities like food, utilities, health care, child care, transportation, and more.
- Our lack of affordable housing means nearly one in five, disproportionately Latinx, households are overcrowded, doubling and tripling up, while others are forced to rent garages or basements, and the number slipping into homelessness continues to rise.
- We are already losing a lot of people for good. Over the past five years, elementary school student enrollment has declined by 10% as more and more families are priced out and leave the city.
- With over 150,000 new jobs in the pipeline, and potentially tens of thousands of new lower-income households looking for places to live, the City must act now for the challenges we know lie ahead.
What about the pandemic and recession?
- Experts agree that the pace of development will slow in the short term, but they also agree that Silicon Valley will be the first to recover. Many local tech firms are thriving and expect expansions.
- The delays caused by the current uncertainty have nothing to do with a new Commercial Linkage Fee for affordable housing, and everything to do with the pandemic.
- Major projects, totaling over 10 million square feet of new office development, including Google’s project downtown, will be approved and lock in fees this year.
- Commercial Linkage Fees will be collected from development that will be completed after the recovery. If the Council and Mayor don’t act now we won’t have the resources we need to meet affordable housing needs of the future.
You can do three things to help get this right:
- Send a letter to the Mayor and City Council by entering your name in the form on this page.
- Plan to testify at the City Council Meeting on September 1st. See suggested talking points here. It will be at the end of the agenda, and will not be heard before 6:00. Use this Zoom link, or call in – (888) 475 4499. Webinar ID is 913 2537 8626. Press *9 to raise a hand to speak.
- Make some calls to San Jose’s Mayor Liccardo and the City Council. You can use the sample script below.
Mayor Sam Liccardo — 408-535-4800 — @sliccardo
Dist. 1: Jones — 408-535-4901 — @chappiejones
Dist. 2: Jimenez — 408-535-4902 — @D2SergioJimenez
Dist. 3: Peralez — 408-535-4903 — @CMRaulPeralez
Dist. 4: Diep — 408-535-4904 — @SanJoseD4
Dist. 5: Carrasco — 408-535-4905 — @CM_Magdalena
Dist. 6: Davis — 408-535-4906 — @DevDavisCA
Dist. 7: Esparza — 408-535-4907 — @MayaEsparzaSJ
Dist. 8: Arenas — 408-535-4908 — @votesylvia
Dist. 9: Foley — 408-535-4909 — @pamfoleyd9
Dist. 10: Khamis — 408-535-4910 —@JohnnyKhamis
Here’s a sample script for you call:
I’m calling to urge Mayor Liccardo/Councilmember ______, to support the maximum feasible Commercial Linkage Fee that reflects San Jose’s serious need for affordable housing. When we add new jobs we need to be prepared to add more housing.
- The fee must be in place now and increase as the recovery begins.
- It must recognize that higher fees are feasible in different parts of the city.
- And, it must be reviewed during the third year so developers know what to expect now, and can be prepared to do more when we rebound.
We were in a housing crisis before the pandemic, and if we are going to build back better, we need your leadership and commitment to affordable housing.
- Want to learn more? Learn about The Commercial Linkage Fee Campaign in San Jose and much more at SV@Home’s Resource Hub.
- Watch our video on San Jose’s Commercial Linkage Fee, featuring San Jose Councilmember Raul Peralez, Nadia Aziz of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, and SV@Home’s Policy Manager Mathew Reed, moderated by SV@Home’s Civic Engagement Manager Mario Lopez.