Santa Clara County makes strides on affordable housing goals

The County has committed funding to nearly 5,000 affordable rental housing units under the $950 million Measure A Affordable Housing Bond approved by voters in 2016.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. — The County of Santa Clara, in collaboration with community partners, has made enormous progress toward its affordable housing development goals using funds from the $950 million Measure A Affordable Housing Bond, which was approved by voters in 2016.

Now in the seventh year of implementing the affordable housing bond, the County has committed $809 million in Measure A funds to nearly 5,000 affordable housing units, according to a progress report submitted to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Of these, more than 4,000 are units for special populations (extremely low- to very low-income residents and those who need more supportive services), which means the County is more than 80% of the way toward its goal of creating 4,800 units for the county’s most vulnerable community members.

The progress report showed that the County and regional partners have established a successful model for addressing the affordable housing crisis. The effort has generated momentum to continue easing housing inequality in Santa Clara County after the Measure A funding cycle ends.

Photo of Vela Apartments, a residential building in San Jose.
Vela Apartments in San José, funded by the Measure A Affordable Housing Bond, opened in 2022.

“The County of Santa Clara and our community partners are showing that, with determination and voter support, we can successfully address the affordable housing crisis and dramatically reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness,” said Board President and District 4 Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “We have made significant progress in building deeply affordable housing and must continue these efforts to end homelessness in Silicon Valley.”

Measure A is the County’s largest source of funding for new affordable housing, but it is not the only one. Including other funding sources, the County has approved roughly $1 billion since 2015 to create nearly 7,000 affordable housing units in 10 cities. Nearly 1,600 of those units are already in operation, including 1,314 funded by Measure A.

This is a big year for the implementation of Measure A funding, with 693 additional affordable housing units expected to come online.

“Close to 3,000 people have been housed so far with the Measure A money that financed the building of 15 affordable housing projects with hundreds of homes.  Another 11,208 people will be housed when the 33 projects under construction are completed,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who was the main architect of Measure A. “By using these resources effectively, the County and our partners have shown we can give individuals and families the housing security they need.” 

Creating housing for people with very low and extremely low incomes is a major priority for Measure A funding. The County and partners have already surpassed their goals of creating 600 rental units of housing for very low-income individuals and families and 800 rental units of housing for extremely low-income individuals and families.

“We are thrilled by the collaboration between the County and regional partners to help thousands of Santa Clara County residents who are experiencing homelessness,” said Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination: Home, a public-private partnership with the goal of ending homelessness in Silicon Valley. “We look forward to continuing this partnership well into the future to end homelessness and create a community that is truly sustainable for all families.”

In addition to receiving the Measure A progress report from County staff, the Board on Tuesday approved $6.4 million in additional funding toward the Alvarado Park affordable housing project, which will create 90 units of affordable senior housing in San José. The developer of the project is the Santa Clara County Housing Authority.

“The Alvarado Park project adds to the incredible momentum we have created to end homelessness in our community,” said Consuelo Hernández, Director of the County’s Office of Supportive Housing. “Our partnerships with cities, the Housing Authority, Destination: Home and other community organizations and affordable housing developers have allowed us to truly move the needle and establish an effective blueprint for addressing the challenges that lie ahead.”

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