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Measure A Money (Finally) Slotted for Housing Projects

Approval includes solar-equipped townhomes for 1st-time homeowners

PUBLISHED NOV 21, 2022 6:00 P.M.
The Jackson Avenue Townhomes will be fixed with solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations, and should be fully operational by April 2024, the County said.

The Jackson Avenue Townhomes will be fixed with solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations, and should be fully operational by April 2024, the County said.

Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved $31.5 million on Nov. 1 to build 242 apartments for low-income renters, and 14 affordable  townhomes for first-time homeowners. The money will come from the County’s $950 million Measure A housing bond approved in 2016. 

Measure A, which was marginally approved by the required two-thirds majority, promised to create 4,800 units of new affordable homes over 10 years, the majority of which is meant to shelter half of the estimated 10,000 unhoused county residents. Due to rising construction costs, inflation, supply-chain issues and a myriad of other problems resulting from COVID, progress has been slow.

At the same meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved a trio of housing projects that will chisel away at that nearly-billion-dollar bond, a small step toward the county reaching its goal by 2026. The newly approved homes include 36 housing units in San José—12 rentals and 14 townhomes.

“Santa Clara County voters made it happen in 2016 when they passed the $950 million affordable housing bond to help our fellow community members who struggle to pay for housing,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who helped spearhead Measure A, in a statement. “We will continue to make substantial progress in building permanent affordable housing and give our families and children the housing security they need.”

San Jose’s 36 housing unit-project, called Jackson Avenue Townhomes, will be the first homeownership program approved to use Measure A funds, which until now only funded affordable multifamily rental projects. The townhomes will be fixed with solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations, and should be fully operational by April 2024. 

The project is being developed by Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley. Of the 14 units built, half will be designated for people who earn 50% of the area median income (AMI). In San Jose, that translates to a little under $83,000 a year for a household of four. 

Funding from Measure A is critical to getting shovels in the ground, said Rob Simonds, Director of Housing Development for Habitat for Humanity. 

“In partnership with the County, Habitat will make homeownership possible for 14 families who have been priced out of the market,” he said. “The prospect of homeownership brings opportunities for improved health, financial stability, educational outcomes, and the ability to build generational wealth.”

The other two housing projects, the Mill on Main in Milpitas and the Pavilion Inn in San José, will create 242 units that will be available to low-income renters. 

“You have to make $54 an hour here to be able to afford an apartment,” Chavez told Stanford University’s Peninsula Press during her campaign for mayor. “Measure A and all the work that we’re doing as a county is really imperative to stabilizing and sustaining people. But the root cause is building more housing, making the permitting process move faster.”

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