March 16, 2018

San Jose Leaders Consider Changes to Housing Authority


On Tuesday, March 13th, the San Jose City Council, acting in the capacity of the Board of the San Jose Housing Authority (SJHA), voted to terminate its agreement with the Santa Clara County Housing Authority (SCCHA) should the County take action to change the governance structure of the SCCHA by assuming leadership of the governance board.

The SJHA has contracted with the SCCHA since 1977 to administer the City’s Section 8 voucher program.  An estimated 40% of all vouchers belong to the SJHA, but more than 70% of all Section 8 voucher holders live in San Jose.  A lot has changed in the past 40 years, most significantly that both housing authorities are now “Moving to Work” agencies, providing much more flexibility in program design and execution.

In recent months, conversations have taken place between the City and the County about the structure of SCCHA governance, with the City preferring but the County opposing a merger of the two authorities.  This leaves two options on the table for consideration: (1) the Board of Supervisors takes action to serve as the governance board, or (2) status quo, with no change to the current leadership structure.  The City opposes the first option.

Should the County opt to retain the current governance structure (Option #2) rather than assume governance responsibility (Option #1), the Council directed the City’s Housing Department to renegotiate the contract between the two agencies to incorporate provisions that give the City a more significant role in decisions that impact San Jose residents.  The Housing Department will come back to the Council in six months to provide more detail about any changes to the contract.

The Board of Supervisors will hear a report from the County Office of Supportive Housing on Tuesday, March 20th that provides feedback received from Section 8 tenants and other community members. See the Housing Department report to the Council that was heard on the 13th here.