May 12, 2016

San Jose Mercury News: Silicon Valley housing solutions go regional


Make sure you catch the recent op-ed in the Mercury News by SV@Home Board Chair Ron Gonzales, who is also president and CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley and former mayor of San Jose, and SV@Home member Pat Showalter, the mayor of Mountain View.

Mayors Gonzales and Showalter make it clear that, despite the housing challenges we face, there are opportunities to provide relief by building out a strategic, coordinated, and regional approach. SV@Home is honored to be leading this charge.

See the original story at the San Jose Mercury News.

Silicon Valley housing solutions go regional

Our housing crisis has continued to grow; so too must solutions.

This is the premise of the new regional initiative and voice for affordable housing in Silicon Valley, SV@Home, as the group debuts its Policy Roadmap next week. The Roadmap lays a strategic, coordinated pathway to address our housing crisis while spurring renewed focus and urgency around regional solutions.

The housing crisis that grips our nation is neither new nor unique to Silicon Valley. But our region is different in two important ways.

First, we must be honest about the fact that Silicon Valley’s challenges are among the worst in the nation.

Silicon Valley tops Forbes’ list of “Worst Cities for Renters”, with rents increasing more than 60 percent over the past five years. The median home value in Santa Clara County is now $950,000, according to Zillow, and still rising. In 2015, Santa Clara County added 64,000 new jobs but built only 5,000 new housing units.

But there’s a second — more uplifting — element that makes Silicon Valley stand out. We are home to some of the world’s top talent, creativity and resources.

Our region’s visionaries and entrepreneurs have redefined how we live our lives and how we create the future. Imagine harnessing that drive, intensity and unparalleled wealth to address Silicon Valley’s housing crisis.

Many already are hard at work on local solutions. Mountain View has prioritized funding for subsidized housing and relocation support for displaced residents; San Jose has a strong record of development for supply side support, and many other cities are making strides.

But these efforts have not been enough. The crisis is too big to tackle city by city. We need a regional approach.

Some of the sharpest, most innovative minds in our region have come together to form this new, sustained regional approach to our housing crisis.

Combining expertise and will from governmental, philanthropic and entrepreneurial representatives, SV@Home is serving as the region’s voice for affordable housing solutions.

SV@Home is working to secure new funding for affordable homes, identify smart land use solutions for affordable housing and drive a community conversation about the opportunities for change.

These leaders will gather during Affordable Housing Week to map out the path forward and release the Policy Roadmap on May 13.

They will help launch the conversation and demonstrate our region’s new commitment to a sustained and practical approach to our housing crisis.

Solutions will require participation from our full community; we must all do our fair share. This includes the captains of industry who have resources that can fund affordable housing development; it includes our lawmakers who can adopt helpful policies; and it includes you — all of our community — who must voice urgency and support for change.

Please join us during Affordable Housing Week and beyond. Learn more about these issues, tell your own stories and show decision makers that it’s time to act.

Together, we can demonstrate that Silicon Valley is ready to create real change. Visit for more information and additional opportunities to drive the creation of affordable housing for a more vibrant and equitable Silicon Valley.

Ron Gonzales is president and CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley and chairs the board of of SV@Home. Pat Showalter, an environmental advocate and planner, is mayor of Mountain View and a member of SV@Home. They wrote this for the Mercury News.