Opinion: Cupertino project proves county can meet housing challenge

On Monday, we celebrated a small but important step in addressing Silicon Valley’s housing crisis with the dedication of “The Veranda”, a new senior affordable housing development in Cupertino. Since its opening in May, 18 low income seniors have found a safe and affordable home in this development.

The Veranda is the first development funded by the countywide Measure A affordable housing bond. Another 18 projects — totaling 1,900 new or rehabilitated affordable apartments – – are under development and scheduled to open in the next three years.

However, the truth is that we need to put our foot on the pedal and move even faster.

Despite our recent progress, we’re lagging far behind the affordable housing goals set through the state’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) process. For example, jurisdictions throughout Santa Clara County have a combined RHNA goal to permit approximately 16,000 very low income housing units throughout Santa Clara County between 2015 and 2023. But we’re only about 10% of the way toward meeting that goal.

We must significantly accelerate the development of more affordable housing in Santa Clara County. And this will require every community to step up.

For one, we need local jurisdictions to expand partnerships with us to get more housing projects in the pipeline. While we still have $691 million in Measure A funding available, we need the support of city leaders to identify and secure suitable land, close funding gaps and shepherd developments through the entitlement and permitting processes. The Veranda provided an excellent example of what can be accomplished through a city-county partnership, and in addition to Cupertino, we’re pleased to have projects progressing in San Jose, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Now, we just need to scale our efforts to every city in the county.

Second, we need more community-based organizations to get in the game. Every local non-profit, faith-based, community and neighborhood organization has seen their mission become more difficult by our housing and homelessness crisis — and we need all of them to take an active role in advocating for affordable housing. For example, West Valley Community Services has partnered with the county and other non-profits like [email protected] and Destination Home to mobilize clients, donors, and volunteers to attend council and commission meetings, and educate the community on the importance of economically diverse communities.

Third, we need the county’s business leaders and employers to commit resources and support new policies to address this crisis. Their employees are also residents of this county whose well-being is greatly impacted by the area’s housing crisis. Cisco, one of our area’s largest tech companies, recently donated $50 million to create more permanent housing for homeless individuals and families. This is a great example of how private sector leaders can partner with the community to move the needle on this important cause.

Finally, we need residents to welcome new developments in their neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the dialogue around affordable housing developments is often dominated by misconceptions of what an affordable housing development is, how it will look and potential impacts …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

      

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