San Jose supporting hundreds of affordable apartments
This rendering shows what an affordable 97-apartment complex could look like in San Jose when complete at 551 Keyes St. Image courtesy of San Jose.

Hundreds of apartments for people earning lower incomes or who are homeless are set to be constructed in San Jose, a move by city leaders to help alleviate the affordable housing crunch.

The San Jose City Council unanimously approved a plan Tuesday for the city to issue roughly $120 million in housing revenue bonds that will be purchased by banks to help fund construction of two developments for a total of 231 affordable apartments. These projects will also receive financing support from the city, county and state.

While the city is not liable for securing the bonds, San Jose is directly supporting the projects with loans from its affordable housing coffers of about $27 million. Both developments are located in District 3.

About 34% of District 3 households earn less than $50,000 annually, and about 23% of households earn anywhere from $50,000 to $99,000, according to the U.S. Census. About 42% of the district’s households earn from $100,000 to $200,000 or more.

One project called The Charles, a 97-apartment complex at 551 Keyes St. in the Spartan-Keyes neighborhood, will be priced as affordable to people earning annual incomes of 30% to 50% of the area median income. For a family of four in Santa Clara County, 30% of the area median income is roughly $53,000 annually, and 50% is roughly $89,000.

About half of those apartments will be reserved for people in the Santa Clara County Rapid Rehousing program, which prioritizes people who are homeless, city reports said. The city and county are each loaning the developer, San Jose-based Charities Housing, about $9.7 million to support the project.

The other project is located at 1197 Lick Ave. and called Tamien Station, because it’s being planned and built on a 12.5-acre lot owned by VTA, next to the Tamien light rail and Caltrain station.

This rendering shows what more than 560 apartments near the Tamien light rail station could look like when complete, including 134 affordable apartments. Image courtesy of The Core Companies.

The affordable complex will include 134 apartments for people earning annual incomes from 30% to 60% of the area median income, with about half reserved for people in the county rapid rehousing program.

Tamien Station is part of a larger project, and will be accompanied by two future market-rate housing buildings, with 434 additional apartments, all built by San Jose developer The Core Companies on the station property, city reports said. The city is loaning the developer about $17.3 million, and Santa Clara County is loaning about $25 million, city reports said.

The affordable building will also include an onsite grocery program for people in need of food assistance, and a 3,200 square-foot commercial space to be used as a child care center with subsidized child care.

District 3 Councilmember Omar Torres told San José Spotlight he’s excited for these two developments coming into his district.

“These projects will offer permanent housing to residents who experience homelessness and our families with home insecurity. These projects include 120 units of two- and three-bedroom apartments for families,” Torres said. “Our city needs to continue to finance these types of development. Building housing tackles the root cause of homelessness and displacement of families in our city.”

From 2014 to 2021, San Jose only met about a quarter of its overall housing need for below-market rate homes, city data shows.

The final financing arrangements for the two projects follows council approval on May 2 to issue $32 million in bonds to help finance a 59-apartment affordable complex in East San Jose at 1860 Alum Rock Ave. On May 23, councilmembers will consider approving $72 million in bonds to support 153 affordable apartments on three lots near 777 W. San Carlos St. in the Sunol-Midtown area.

The city has agreed to loan about $8 million to the Alum Rock Avenue project developer, Charities Housing, and about $22 million to the West San Carlos Street project developer, Arcata-based Danco Communities.

Loans from the city for all four of these projects include funding from Measure E, the city’s real estate transfer tax approved by voters in 2020. As the region’s homelessness crisis deepens, San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan has proposed halving the amount of Measure E funds that go toward supporting affordable housing projects and redirecting it toward homeless services and temporary shelters.

Contact Joseph Geha at [email protected] or @josephgeha16 on Twitter.

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