San Jose makes dent in low-income housing shortage with grants, developments
Prop. 19 would give a tax break to older residents to encourage them to sell their houses. File photo.

San Jose made progress this week in securing housing for low-income, senior and homeless residents.

Gov. Gavin Newsom awarded $14.5 million to the city on Sept. 16 to purchase property to house the homeless. Earlier this week the San Jose City Council approved three more affordable housing projects.

The city also greelit a revamp of more than 100 existing apartments to keep them reserved for low-income residents until 2075.

The $14.5 state grant for Project Homekey — a program that helps hotels and apartments convert their spaces into housing for homeless individuals — will go toward purchasing a 76-unit property already being used as a shelter site.

“Homelessness is a big issue in the city, in the county and of course region wide and we have to try all different kinds of solutions,” Councilmember Dev Davis said. “The nice thing about purchasing something that already exists is that you may have a little bit of renovation but then you can get people housed more quickly.”

Sandy Perry, president of the Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County, said the city needs to get as much land as possible off the private market to support housing efforts.

“Especially since the 2010 financial crash, speculators have been trying to buy up property, raise the rent, raise the prices,” Perry said. So the only way to get affordable housing at this stage is to get a hold of the land and we definitely support the city, county and the nonprofits acquiring land and holding it for permanent affordable housing.”

Separate from Project Homekey funds, $27 million of the city’s $100 million in federal grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development will create 251 homes for low-income residents split between two projects.

The first project will give Charities Housing Development Corporation of  Santa Clara County a loan to provide 145 homes for low-income seniors at  Blossom Hill Senior Apartments in District 2.  Forty-nine of those homes will be reserved for formerly homeless seniors.

“People over the age of 50 are growing faster in our ranks of homeless populations than other age groups,” Davis said. “People who are homeless have the health concerns of houses people who are 20 years older than them so it’s especially important to all of our senior homeless population so that they can get the medical care that they need.”

The other development at 1710 Moorpark at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church will be in District 6, which Davis represents. It will provide 106 homes for formerly homeless and low-income residents.

Half the apartments will be eligible for those with a max income of $37,000 per year and the other will be open to those making no more than $63,000 annually.

Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church owns the land and is partnering with the city to develop more affordable homes. Construction is expected to begin in May 2021.

Davis said the developments are permanent supportive housing, meaning there will be caseworkers and services provided to individuals who live there. Santa Clara County is contributing an additional $35 million from the Measure A Affordable Housing Fund to support such services for homeless residents.

More than $5 million in Measure A dollars and $25 million in bond money will fund upkeep on a low-income development with 151 units at  Markham Plaza II in District 7.

“A painful recession caused by a worldwide pandemic is putting more pressure on too many of our families struggling to pay rent,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We must continue to create and preserve affordable homes to serve our most vulnerable residents.”

Contact Carly Wipf at [email protected] of follow @CarlyChristineW on Twitter.

 

 

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