Staedler: Affordable housing funding for all
Park Avenue Senior Apartments near Diridon Station has 99 affordable housing units. Photo by Sonya Herrera.

As Silicon Valley makes a continuous effort to build affordable housing, a new roadblock seemingly came out of nowhere.

California changed its allocation scoring system for deciding who gets California Debt Limit Allocation Committee (CDLAC) funding allocation. It was supposed to create a more streamlined process, instead it reduced the amount the Bay Area receives.

San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco were shut out of receiving funding allocations in this year’s first round. Let’s look at the numbers for what is at stake: 1,600 units for low-income and homeless residents were denied and more than 1,400 that should be able to get funding is in flux later this year.

Kudos to Mayor Sam Liccardo for pushing the state to increase the Bay Area allocation from 17% to 24%. We need to stand up to Sacramento and demand it takes immediate action. This is the same group of legislators that whiffed at any major housing legislation last year and diminished any real hope of them doing their jobs this year. I won’t accept the meek and mild comments by our elected officials in Sacramento that they had “significant concerns.” They need to get something done in an emergency session.

Instead of only taking in 121 applications and only granting 46, my suggestion is we grant all 121. The state of California needs to take all applications that meet a minimum threshold and fund them. The cost of inaction is taking a toll on our local communities.

If affordable housing developers take the time to put projects together, California needs to guarantee that they won’t be left holding the bag on land acquisition and pre-development costs.

Taking a wait and see approach to let crisis level issues simmer down is the Sacramento norm.

Look at the state of California Employment Development Department. The challenges with paying unemployment payments does not seem to have a light at the end of a tunnel of horrors.

I don’t want to see California meet the Bay Area city leadership halfway for one moment, then go back to business as usual. I want the state of California to make the resources available to all legitimate and reasonable affordable housing projects. That is the only way we can start making a dent in the housing tragedy that we are enduring.

San José Spotlight columnist Bob Staedler is a principal at Silicon Valley Synergy, a San Jose-based land use and development consulting firm. His columns appear every first Monday of the month. Contact Bob at [email protected] or follow @BobStaedler on Twitter.

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