Hanleigh: Khamis’ affordable housing study is on the money
The San Jose City Council voted to commit funds to three different affordable housing projects, including one on Page Street in San Jose, above. Photo courtesy of San Jose Department of Housing.

We commend Johnny Khamis, and the supportive council members, for the challenging and sensible question as to the true cost of affordable housing when developed by public vs. private means.

What no one, to my knowledge, has ever asked is to take into account the huge costs of salaries, overhead, grants and other infrastructure needs of nonprofits and government, to provide the housing.

My take is that it is a huge bureaucracy of its own, staffed by people making sizable salaries and getting pension rights, etc., etc., on the backs of the intent of what’s trying to be accomplished: Increasing the supply of housing.

The city’s own housing department is a great example of that, continually passing on fees to those who provide the housing, sometimes without giving them proper and transparent inclusion in the process.

Same is true of the requirements of appointment to the Housing and Community Development Commission. Something needs to change in that department, and it just may be some of the staff.

I’ve never, ever, felt that adding fees and taxes to a product would make it more affordable.

Steve Hanleigh is a San Jose-based realtor, real estate broker and housing provider.

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