While there are some big changes happening at SV@Home, one thing that isn’t changing is our incredible team’s commitment to housing policy work and advocacy! That’s why we’re excited to highlight our talented and committed policy team. Join us in meeting our staff and learning more about why their work is important, what housing policy issues they’re most excited about in the coming months, and how your membership directly supports their work.
What you work on at SV@Home:
Hi, I’m Mathew Reed, Director of Policy. We all wear multiple hats here at SV@Home, but my focus is the policy issues that enable us to keep people in their homes and build the affordable housing that we need. I also work with our research team to support our advocacy work and keep expanding the resources we share through the website.
Why is this work central to SV@Home’s overall vision of a Silicon Valley where all people have access to a safe, stable, and affordable home? Local policy often determines what tools are available to address housing instability in our communities, where and how we build housing that is affordable, and how we pay for it. Different parts of the problem require different solutions – keeping people in their homes takes different policies than making it possible to build permanent affordable housing, even if each need is a symptom of the broader crisis we face. Getting good policies in place takes a healthy mix of solid data, real grounded understanding of what the challenges are and how they are experienced by those they impact, building support among allies, attention as the details are worked out, and of course advocating for community will and political courage to stand up for shared values and interests. Then we get to work to make sure the policies are actually implementing and working — tools are only effective if you use them.
What is one policy issue you are working on right now that you’re most excited about and why? Right now we are working in cities across the county as they prepare updates to their Housing Elements – a set of policies and maps of housing opportunity sites that plan for where we are going to build more housing and how we are going to respond to existing housing needs in our region. This is a state-mandated process that only happens every eight years, and these plans set the framework for meeting local housing needs. The details of these plans have always been important, but this time the number of new and affordable homes each city has to plan for is greater, the rules and expectations set by the state are far more rigorous, and the law says we have to both promote racial and economic integration of exclusive parts of our communities and ensure community stability where resources are more scarce. This is a serious challenge throughout the county and the region, but with robust community engagement the opportunities for high-impact policies and land-use decisions are real. On paper, this process will support protection of vulnerable tenants and communities, ensure commitments to preserving the housing resources we have, and make expanded housing production significantly more feasible. But it is only a tool, and, as I noted above, tools are only effective if you use them, which means it is critical that we get, and stay involved.
What’s an example of a housing topic or issue someone should reach out to you about to get more engaged?
We are looking for local voices to participate in the Housing Element process in cities and towns throughout the county. If you want to be part of planning for how your community will grow and shaping solutions to housing and community instability, let us know and we will plug you in. You can reach Mathew at email@example.com
#MembershipMatters As a member of SV@Home you have a multitude of ways and many opportunities to join alongside our 200+ organizations and community members who are concerned about housing stability during these unprecedented times. Your membership directly supports Mathew’s work on the Housing Element, as well as all of the team’s other critical policy work.
Join today! Tell your friends!
Not sure if you’re a member? Email Sonia at firstname.lastname@example.org