Housing Happenings

 

Join Us for Tomorrow’s Policy In Action @Home
To Explore San José Affordable Housing Siting Policy 

SV@Home and members of the Race Equity Action Leadership (REAL) Coalition’s Housing Justice Workgroup will explore the City of San José Affordable Housing Siting Policy, a plan that determines geographic priorities for funding affordable housing through city investments. Housing advocates will learn about the policy’s history, staff’s recently proposed changes, and how to engage so that the siting policy provides affordable housing opportunities for all communities across San José.

Friday, November 18, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. via Zoom, RSVP here

Heads-up! Save the Dates!

Important upcoming public hearing dates on the Affordable Housing Siting Policy include:

  • Monday, November 28, Community and Economic Development City Council Committee public hearing: Zoom link here.
  • Tuesday, December 6, City Council public hearing: Zoom link here.

Check out the Policy Rundown section below for more information on the Affordable Housing Siting Policy.

 

RSVP Today for Holiday Happy Housers Party 

Join SV@Home for the Happy Housers Holiday Party on December 8 at the Hotel De Anza. We offer drinks, bites, music, and festive fun for all seeking to build a better community where everyone has a stable, affordable place to live.

We had so much fun at our October Happy Housers Event. Thank You to all who came to our San Pedro Square Market event. We enjoyed meeting everyone in-person and encourage you to RSVP for the Holiday Happy Housers.

 

#MembershipMatters – Become a Member Today!

 

 

 

Share Legislative Ideas with SV@Home Action Fund

Do you have a great idea for a state law or regulation to help California address our housing crisis? Let us know. Whether your bill idea is about housing production, affordable housing preservation, renter protection, or preventing homelessness, we want to hear your thoughts.

This year, the SV@Home Action Fund supported 19 housing bills passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. However, we still have work to do until everyone in our community and state can access a safe, stable, affordable home.

As newly elected legislators prepare to take office and join their continuing colleagues, housing remains a primary area of interest in the state capitol. The SV@Home Action Fund will keep working with Santa Clara County’s legislative delegation and other state leaders to make further progress. As we do so, we want to elevate the best ideas from our members and the broader Silicon Valley community.

Please email your legislative ideas to info@svh-actionfund.org.

 

Cities Miss Critical Housing Element Deadlines

Cupertino and Santa Clara County (for unincorporated land) have not yet released Draft Housing Elements. Since drafts must be available for public comment for 30 days before submission to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for a 90-day review period, these jurisdictions will not receive feedback in time to make necessary changes and submit a final Housing Element before the January 31, 2023 deadline. This is especially concerning considering the need for extensive revisions, which has become evident during HCD’s review process for other jurisdictions.

Palo Alto released its initial Draft Housing Element months later than anticipated. The Draft will be available for a 30-day public comment period, ending December 7 at 5 p.m. After that, the city must take at least ten days to incorporate public comments in the Draft, which will then go to HCD. You can submit brief comments using this comment form or email heupdate@cityofpaloalto.org.

Meanwhile, Mountain View, which submitted its initial draft housing element to HCD in July, has released a revised draft that responds to the deficiencies HCD identified in its review letter. While the policies and programs are improved from the first draft, they still need clearer and measurable outcomes.

Consequences of Noncompliance

The deadline for cities to adopt an HCD-compliant Housing Element is January 31. Cities that do not meet this deadline could lose access to important sources of state funding and may also cede control of land use authority under SB 330. In a case where a city has not adopted a Housing Element in compliance with state law, developers can propose housing projects that do not comply with either the zoning or the general plan. This “Builder’s Remedy” requires cities, with few exceptions, to approve an eligible housing development project.

Developments qualify if at least 20 percent of their units are deed-restricted for low-income residents or if the developer dedicates the entire development to moderate-income residents. The only grounds for denial would be proof that the development would have a specific, adverse impact on the public health or safety. This provision has required the City of Santa Monica to approve 3,968 new housing units submitted for approval between the time the City missed the Housing Element deadline and the date agreed by HCD.

 

City Council Briefed on North San Jose Affordable Housing Policy

The San Jose City Council received an update on the steps the city will take to ensure that North San Jose can feasibly add more than 21,000 new homes, including 5,800 new homes affordable to lower- and moderate-income households. 

In May, the City Council directed staff to come back with an update on the policy and land use measures that ensure the area meets long standing 20 percent residential affordability requirements. The first round of development produced almost entirely market rate housing, which failed to meet these affordability requirements. Explicit policies that center equity and inclusion in the redevelopment of North San Jose have long been considered an essential element of the city’s commitment to development that is affordable to its residents and integrated racially and socio-economically.

The plan as outlined includes specific areas that will be made available for 100 percent affordable developments as well as larger areas available for mixed-income communities with at least 25 percent of homes as affordable.  The plan identifies areas for new homes that complements existing residential areas while providing access to amenities, including shopping and schools.  The mixed-income sites are concentrated in efforts to create residential blocks along First Street. The plan includes proposing complementary affordable housing policies to support development on these new sites, which may include adjustments to inclusionary housing tools and prioritized city funding.

The update was well received by the City Council, and the final details and timelines for the additional work will be incorporated into the Housing Element Update expected to be finalized next year. However, the Housing Department is charged with developing complementary affordable housing policies that will be essential to implementation.  And there are cautionary lessons from Phase I of development in North San Jose when the affordable housing policies and commitments were abandoned due to market challenges, subsequently creating communities exclusively for high-income residents.  A sustained commitment to equity and inclusion will be essential, but SV@Home is encouraged by and appreciative of the current plans.

 

Santa Clara Approves High-Impact, Affordable Community 

On Tuesday night, the Santa Clara City Council voted 5-2 to approve a 108-unit affordable housing project proposed by Charities Housing at 1601 Civic Center Drive. The site is a residential neighborhood with immediate access to shopping, schools, open space, and excellent transit access, including multiple bus lines and a nearby Caltrain station. More than half will be two- and three-bedroom units, with 25 percent allocated to Santa Clara County’s Measure A Rapid Rehousing (RRH) program. This is a well-designed community in a vibrant and accessible location will serve many of Santa Clara’s most vulnerable families.  

The vote came after more than three hours of intense public comment. This project has received more community resistance than any proposed new affordable community in Santa Clara in years. Through the planning process, the developer held a series of meetings with neighbors, redesigned the project from a six-story to a five-story design, and increased the distance between the building and the adjacent single-family homes. Nonetheless, residents remained adamant that the project did not fit into their neighborhood, would cast shadows on their backyards, and cause parking problems. Some indicated that a park would be preferable to these new homes. 

With this approval, the site was rezoned from commercial use – which would have allowed an office building up to twelve stories tall, to residential use.

Recent state law, AB 2011, signed by the Governor in September, allows new affordable homes to be built on commercially-zoned sites with limited review.  This new law goes into effect in July 2023, and city staff acknowledged that the proposed development would not require approval by the City Council if submitted after that date.

We commend the City Council of Santa Clara and the Mayor for advancing this much-needed affordable housing development.

 

Mountain View Approves Middlefield Park Master Plan

The Mountain View City Council unanimously approved Google/LendLease’s Middlefield Park Master Plan Tuesday night, allowing up to 1,900 new homes to be built within the plan area. The plan calls for 20 percent of the new homes to be deed-restricted affordable homes, translating to 380 units. This is a huge win for affordable housing production in Silicon Valley!

SV@Home has strongly supported Google/LendLease’s vision for the East Whisman Master Plan. It reflects the City of Mountain View’s goals for the area by reimagining the current sprawl-centric office park as a mixed-use, walkable, bikeable hub with new residential development, commercial space, and parks. Conversely, Middlefield Park is designed to grow around transit hubs and connect to the rest of Mountain View and Sunnyvale. The Middlefield Park Master Plan reaffirms the value of mixed-use places as complete communities where people of all incomes can live, work, and play. 

See the Council Report for the Middlefield Park Master Plan, here.

Check out our letter to the City Council on the Middlefield Park Master Plan, here.

 

Call for Equity and Access in San José’s Affordable Housing Siting Policy

As the Affordable Housing Siting Policy approaches upcoming critical public hearings, SV@Home continues working hard with our partners in the Race Equity Action Leadership (REAL) Coalition to ensure future affordable housing is built throughout all communities in San José

And we will need your help to bring housing justice to San José. There are many ways you can do this:

  • Attend the upcoming Policy in Action @Home event this Friday, November 18th from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. via Zoom (RSVP here).
  • Learn more about the Affordable Housing Siting Policy and what direct actions you can take for the upcoming public hearings.
  • Reach out to Kenneth Javier-Rosales, Senior Planning Associate, at kenneth@siliconvalleyathome.org for guidance on what to tell the San José City Council.

Send comment letters to the San José City Council and provide public testimonials for the next hearings.

  • Community and Economic Development City Council Committee on Monday, November 28: Zoom link here.
  • City Council on Tuesday, December 6: Zoom link here.

 

This important policy determines where affordable homes will be financed and built in San Jose so we urge City Council to shift away from last year’s problematic version of the policy. (In 2021, the council voted to use divisive labels and statistics to significantly reduce affordable housing projects in historically-redlined communities that urgently need them. The Housing Department Staff recently proposed significant changes to the Policy that have been encouraging.)

See our blog post for more information about the Affordable Housing Siting Policy; click here

Also, check out the first letter we sent with the REAL Coalition rejecting last year’s City Council direction on the Affordable Housing Siting Policy – click here

We need your voice and advocacy to ensure the City stays on course to adopt a policy that is equitable and creates accessibility to all the city’s neighborhoods. As the policy is finalized, we will have more details on how to engage with the November CED meeting. If you want to be involved early, reach out with questions or support to Kenneth Javier-Rosales at kenneth@siliconvalleyathome.org.

 

Sunday: Join Us for Post-Election Bagel Brunch

Celebrate housing wins this election cycle with free bagels, fellow housers, and information on how to make a difference in your community. Please join the SV@Home Action Fund and its partners for a casual post-election Bagel Brunch in the park this Sunday in Palo Alto.

Sunday, Nov. 20, 10 a.m. to noon

Peers Park, 1899 Park Blvd, Palo Alto

Peers Park is a short walk from the California Avenue Caltrain Station and El Camino Real.

The SV@Home Action Fund is excited to co-host this brunch, along with Peninsula For Everyone, Housing Action Coalition, Palo Alto Forward, the Palo Alto Renters Association, and Menlo Together.

Housing was the biggest topic in local elections this year, and many candidates earnestly engaged with the issue. In several cities, voters sent a clear message that they want local leaders to prioritize housing affordability. Although the results are not final, you can track the incoming results here.

While we await final vote tallies, this is an excellent time for recent candidates, volunteers, and activists to reconnect and recuperate. So please join us for brunch.

 

First Community Housing Presents: Iamesi Village Grand Opening

Iamesi Village is located at the intersection of Bassett and Terraine Streets in downtown San Jose. This 135-unit apartment building offers 118 studio units and 16 one-bedroom units at 30-50% of the Area Median Income, and is devoted entirely to veterans, permanent supportive housing and people with intellectual / developmental disabilities.

NOVEMBER 18, 9:00AM

IAMESI VILLAGE,  201 BASSETT STREET, SAN JOSE

 

NPH Presents: Annual Holiday Member Party

This event will be an opportunity to celebrate you and our affordable housing movement and industry and to connect with the NPH member community. If you’re an NPH member, we especially need your presence to cast your vote for the new NPH Board members who will guide our strategic work ahead.

DECEMBER 7, 5:30PM

EL RIO, 3158 MISSION STREET, SAN FRANCISCO

 

Affordable Housing Career Opportunities

Enterprise Community Partners Seeks Intern

Enterprise is hiring an intern to help us advance our Housing and Climate work. This is an exciting opportunity to get deeply involved in our Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities TA work, helping developers, cities and transit agencies secure funding for exciting housing and sustainable transportation projects.  This part time, paid internship is a great opportunity for a current undergrad or grad student. Based in our SF office. 

 

350 W. Julian St. #5 • San José, CA 95110  •  408.780.8411  •  siliconvalleyathome.org

 
 
 
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