San Jose City Councilmembers made a bold and much needed move this week toward providing more affordable housing with the passage of a Housing Impact Fee. The $17 per square foot fee charged to market-rate housing projects will take the place of dried up redevelopment funds that used to go toward affordable housing projects.
For the past two years, Working Partnerships USA has been an integral member of a broad coalition including: business leaders, environmentalists, faith leaders, labor unions and working families, homelessness advocates and agencies, neighborhood associations, people in need of housing, and legal experts. They all worked toward the vote that drew the support of 7 city council members, including Mayor-elect Sam Liccardo. (Mayor Reed, and Council members Khamis and Oliverio voted against the measure.)
The fee, which goes into effect July 1, 2016, is expected to generate enough revenue to build approximately 10,000 units of affordable housing in San Jose. Passage of the San Jose Housing Impact Fee is a major victory in the campaign for affordable housing, but there is a lot more work to do to ensure Silicon Valley is a place where all residents can live, work, and thrive.
While Silicon Valley’s tech industry has brought tremendous wealth to the region, it has also caused the exp0losive growth of low wage jobs and driven up housing costs, fueling the growing inequality here. The housing impact fee revenue is only one tool of many that is necessary to address the affordable housing crisis in our communities. We will continue exploring and advocating for other options to raise monies for affordable housing.
Charisse Ma Lebron is the Director of Community Development & Health Policy for Working Partnerships USA
This piece first appeared in The Left Hook blog
Filed under: Bay Area / California