Latest approvals take the County more than 75% of the way to long-term housing goals
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— Efforts to end homelessness in Santa Clara County received a big push forward on Tuesday, when the County’s Board of Supervisors approved $75.5 million for six new affordable housing projects. In all, the developments will add 758 homes for low-income community members. Additionally, $2 million in one-time state grants were approved to double capacity for a motel shelter program for families with children.
"Thanks to the residents of Santa Clara County who approved a $950 million affordable housing bond in 2016, the Board is able to approve another new wave of housing projects. This means more people, more families, and more children are getting off the streets,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Cindy Chavez, one of the architects of the Measure A Affordable Housing Bond. “Santa Clara County has a goal to achieve a ‘functional zero’ in five years, meaning the number of housing placements for families in the county is greater than the number of families entering homelessness.”
The latest funding adds significantly to the efforts in ending homelessness. Since voters approved the Measure A Affordable Housing Bond in 2016, the County has funded 41 developments that total more than 4,400 homes throughout Santa Clara County – many of which are now in operation or nearing completion:
- Nine developments (with 830 affordable apartments) have been completed and have collectively served 1,640 formerly homeless and low-income community members.
- Eleven more projects (with an additional 1,280 affordable apartments) are currently under construction, with seven of them on track to open this year.
Of the roughly 4,400 new homes funded so far, about 3,600 are for extremely and very low-income households. That means the County is more than 75% of the way to its goal of 4,800 new apartments for extremely and very low-income households by 2026, a promise to voters who approved the Measure A Affordable Housing Bond in 2016. Tuesday’s approved projects also include one site in Sunnyvale (Orchard Gardens), which became the eighth city in Santa Clara County to now have a 2016 Measure A funded development.
“Sunnyvale has long been focused on affordable housing to serve the most vulnerable in our community. Orchard Gardens is a shining example of how the right mix of partners, funding and vision can bring these complex projects to fruition,” said Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein. “We’re extremely proud that it’s the first Sunnyvale project to receive 2016 Measure A funds, and we look forward to continued collaboration with First Community Housing and all of our partners to create more affordable housing in Sunnyvale.”
2016 Measure A developments have changed the lives of 1,640 people with the opportunity to live in an affordable apartment. The first such development opened in Cupertino in 2019 and is designed for seniors who have experienced homelessness, including 62-year-old David Webb.
Webb, who was employed in construction for most of his life, became homeless when medical conditions put him out of work. Before the Veranda opened, he frequented shelters and lived along the freeway, where each day was a battle to stay safe. Getting the keys to his first apartment, he said, made him feel more human.
“Once I ended up there – homeless – it became easier and easier to stay there and it became harder and harder to work your way out of that hole,” Webb said. “To pay my rent, it makes me happy every month. I am just so grateful that I have this place, and that I have my own key to my own front door.”
[Learn more about David’s story (video)]
Tuesday’s approvals also include $2 million to double the capacity of a motel shelter program that will now be able to assist 88 unhoused families with children per night. The expansion is part of the countywide Heading Home campaign to end family homelessness, and will serve as a critical resource to bring homeless families indoors as they are connected to permanent housing.
To sustain the progress and meet the County’s long-term housing goals, it will be critical to tap numerous other funding sources beyond the 2016 Measure A Affordable Housing Bond, such as utilizing the State’s Homekey program and looking at creative options for County-controlled properties.
“We have made a considerable dent, but now is not the time to slow down. Even as we house more people, there are additional community members at risk of falling into homelessness every day,” said Consuelo Hernández, Director of the County of Santa Clara Office of Supportive Housing. “We’re going to double down on our resources to set up sustainable, long-term solutions to make sure we can offer every resident the opportunity for safe and stable housing.”
County leaders, partner representatives, and affordable housing residents are available for interviews upon request.
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ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA
The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. Santa Clara County is home to the second largest population of Vietnamese residents outside of Viet Nam. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.
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Media Contact: María Leticia Gómez / Quan Vu, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119, [email protected]
Posted: February 8, 2022