News

Measure A passes with a slim victory

$950M bond funds will be spent on solving homelessness Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County officials announced Monday that Measure A, the $950 million affordable housing bond designed to help house homeless and low-income residents in the county, has passed with just over two-thirds of the vote.

The announcement by Santa Clara County Supervisors Dave Cortese and Cindy Chavez at a Nov. 21 press conference came weeks after voters cast their ballots because it's been such a tight race. Measure A requires two-thirds of the vote to pass, and has been steadily holding at 67 percent of the "yes" vote since election night. With 97 percent of the ballots counted as of Tuesday morning, Measure A has 67.7 percent of the vote, giving Measure A supporters enough confidence to declare victory.

"The passage of Measure A shows the power and commitment of this county that we can come together and solve the most pressing issue we face as a community -- the lack of affordable housing," Chavez said in a statement.

The $950 million in general obligation bonds is structured to help the most needy residents in the county, with $700 million of the funds earmarked to construct new permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing and extremely low-income housing -- which is defined as households making less than 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The 2016 AMI in Santa Clara County was $107,000 for a family of four.

The permanent supportive housing is designed to help the chronically homeless who have been on the street for more than a year, and need a greater level of services, including mental health, substance abuse or medical care. Rapid rehousing, on the other hand, is for residents who fall into homelessness for brief periods and need transitional housing for up to 18 months to stabilize their situation.

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The bond measure also sets aside $100 million for building very low-income housing for residents making less than 50 percent of the AMI, up to $100 million for housing assistance for moderate-income families making between 80 to 120 percent of the AMI, and $50 million for first-time homebuyers.

Santa Clara County supervisors agreed to put Measure A on the ballot in June, hailing it as an opportunity to provide the funds needed to fuel a "housing first" approach to end regional homelessness. The decision came after the public-private partnership Destination: Home released a report outlining a path to end homelessness in Santa Clara County, which was contingent on securing "the right amount of funding needed to provide housing and services" to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.

In January, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution calling homelessness in Santa Clara County a crisis that imposes "unacceptable costs, both in terms of public resources and human suffering." Cities throughout the county, including Mountain View, also signed onto the resolution calling homelessness a crisis and vowing to boost affordable housing by the year 2020.

Jennifer Loving, the executive director of Destination: Home, told the Voice that Santa Clara County voters showed a great deal of compassion by overwhelmingly supporting Measure A, even though much of the money wasn't going to directly affect them. Most of the money is earmarked to help the most vulnerable people in the county -- the chronically homeless, seniors, veterans, homeless youth, survivors of domestic violence -- and residents agreed to stand up for them.

"That's amazing, that we had two-thirds of our community say 'yes' to this. That we're willing to see the bigger picture of what it means to have a rich fabric in the community."

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Affordable housing nonprofits and the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley have frequently called Measure A a "game changer" that will provide the much-needed local housing funds to construct new affordable housing developments in Santa Clara County, and will allow developers to take advantage of state and federal tax credits. The goal is to leverage the $950 million in bond funds to build an estimated 5,000 affordable units and provide assistance to 1,000 first-time homebuyers, according to the county.

The county has already reduced its homeless population by an estimated 14 percent between 2013 and 2015, and the passage of Measure A means that housing the remaining 6,500 homeless residents throughout Santa Clara County is no longer a pipe dream, Loving said. She admitted that the effects may not be felt here in Mountain View -- where homelessness has increased two-fold and the car-dwelling population has spiked -- but she believes Measure A could finally reverse the trend and bring the homeless population in the city down from 271 to zero.

In the coming years, Loving said that Destination: Home will play an important role in showing local communities the benefits of having new affordable housing projects in the neighborhood, and shift the conversation away from what she called "deficit" language -- the idea that these projects bring safety problems, traffic congestion and decreased available parking. Instead the conversation should be centered on how these projects can add to the community, with the inclusion of things like open space and dog parks, while simultaneously solving the affordable housing crisis.

"People have this mythology that you're just taking a homeless encampment and putting it in a neighborhood," Loving said. "These are beautiful, modern homes."

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Measure A passes with a slim victory

$950M bond funds will be spent on solving homelessness Santa Clara County

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Nov 23, 2016, 10:18 am

Santa Clara County officials announced Monday that Measure A, the $950 million affordable housing bond designed to help house homeless and low-income residents in the county, has passed with just over two-thirds of the vote.

The announcement by Santa Clara County Supervisors Dave Cortese and Cindy Chavez at a Nov. 21 press conference came weeks after voters cast their ballots because it's been such a tight race. Measure A requires two-thirds of the vote to pass, and has been steadily holding at 67 percent of the "yes" vote since election night. With 97 percent of the ballots counted as of Tuesday morning, Measure A has 67.7 percent of the vote, giving Measure A supporters enough confidence to declare victory.

"The passage of Measure A shows the power and commitment of this county that we can come together and solve the most pressing issue we face as a community -- the lack of affordable housing," Chavez said in a statement.

The $950 million in general obligation bonds is structured to help the most needy residents in the county, with $700 million of the funds earmarked to construct new permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing and extremely low-income housing -- which is defined as households making less than 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The 2016 AMI in Santa Clara County was $107,000 for a family of four.

The permanent supportive housing is designed to help the chronically homeless who have been on the street for more than a year, and need a greater level of services, including mental health, substance abuse or medical care. Rapid rehousing, on the other hand, is for residents who fall into homelessness for brief periods and need transitional housing for up to 18 months to stabilize their situation.

The bond measure also sets aside $100 million for building very low-income housing for residents making less than 50 percent of the AMI, up to $100 million for housing assistance for moderate-income families making between 80 to 120 percent of the AMI, and $50 million for first-time homebuyers.

Santa Clara County supervisors agreed to put Measure A on the ballot in June, hailing it as an opportunity to provide the funds needed to fuel a "housing first" approach to end regional homelessness. The decision came after the public-private partnership Destination: Home released a report outlining a path to end homelessness in Santa Clara County, which was contingent on securing "the right amount of funding needed to provide housing and services" to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.

In January, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution calling homelessness in Santa Clara County a crisis that imposes "unacceptable costs, both in terms of public resources and human suffering." Cities throughout the county, including Mountain View, also signed onto the resolution calling homelessness a crisis and vowing to boost affordable housing by the year 2020.

Jennifer Loving, the executive director of Destination: Home, told the Voice that Santa Clara County voters showed a great deal of compassion by overwhelmingly supporting Measure A, even though much of the money wasn't going to directly affect them. Most of the money is earmarked to help the most vulnerable people in the county -- the chronically homeless, seniors, veterans, homeless youth, survivors of domestic violence -- and residents agreed to stand up for them.

"That's amazing, that we had two-thirds of our community say 'yes' to this. That we're willing to see the bigger picture of what it means to have a rich fabric in the community."

Affordable housing nonprofits and the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley have frequently called Measure A a "game changer" that will provide the much-needed local housing funds to construct new affordable housing developments in Santa Clara County, and will allow developers to take advantage of state and federal tax credits. The goal is to leverage the $950 million in bond funds to build an estimated 5,000 affordable units and provide assistance to 1,000 first-time homebuyers, according to the county.

The county has already reduced its homeless population by an estimated 14 percent between 2013 and 2015, and the passage of Measure A means that housing the remaining 6,500 homeless residents throughout Santa Clara County is no longer a pipe dream, Loving said. She admitted that the effects may not be felt here in Mountain View -- where homelessness has increased two-fold and the car-dwelling population has spiked -- but she believes Measure A could finally reverse the trend and bring the homeless population in the city down from 271 to zero.

In the coming years, Loving said that Destination: Home will play an important role in showing local communities the benefits of having new affordable housing projects in the neighborhood, and shift the conversation away from what she called "deficit" language -- the idea that these projects bring safety problems, traffic congestion and decreased available parking. Instead the conversation should be centered on how these projects can add to the community, with the inclusion of things like open space and dog parks, while simultaneously solving the affordable housing crisis.

"People have this mythology that you're just taking a homeless encampment and putting it in a neighborhood," Loving said. "These are beautiful, modern homes."

Comments

SC Parent
Cuesta Park
on Nov 23, 2016 at 4:34 pm
SC Parent, Cuesta Park
on Nov 23, 2016 at 4:34 pm

The poor (and the homeless) will always be with you. I guarantee that in 10 years the county will have the same homeless rate. And Simitian, Cortez, Chavez, and Loving will have moved on top bigger and better jobs, leaving us with a $2 Billion tab to pay over the next 40 years (oh yeah, it's not not $950M once you add in interest and fees). What a waste of money with no accountability.


George
another community
on Nov 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm
George, another community
on Nov 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm

And now if you will read my comments on the prior article today, you will see why I am moving to Reno , Nevada....

YES..10 yrs down the road, the above comment will ring loud and clear. Look at LBJ's "War On Poverty" from the 60s..Now more homeless, food stamps,
Why do we pay millions for people who can either move on to lesser economic areas, get education, get a job, etc. The bleeding hearts that passed this measure will bleed money forever.


it's my blood
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2016 at 10:27 am
it's my blood, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2016 at 10:27 am

well yeah - it's my blood (I'm a homeowner) and this is how I vote to shed some of it
democracy - majority vote rules, and George, I hope you appreciate that Wonderful Reno winter weather


Housing first works!
Registered user
another community
on Nov 30, 2016 at 10:45 am
Housing first works!, another community
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2016 at 10:45 am

Salt Lake City reduced its homeless population by over 90% by putting housing first, followed by support services.

Web Link


Name hidden
Sylvan Park

on Apr 6, 2017 at 1:11 am
Name hidden, Sylvan Park

on Apr 6, 2017 at 1:11 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Jose F. Medeiros
another community
on Sep 25, 2017 at 1:59 pm
Jose F. Medeiros, another community
on Sep 25, 2017 at 1:59 pm

I have been unemployed 9 years, my payroll and unemployment was embezzled when I worked for Symantec, I have been homeless living in my car 8 years, how is the Measure A money being spent to help the homeless living in encampments, none that I have spoken to haven't even been offered a hotel voucher so they can take a bath and have some privacy one or two nights a week, I think a audit should be done, and see how many people placed in housing are really homeless.

Jose F. Medeiros
408-256-0649
Former President, Berryessa Citizens Advisory Council
The Unemployed and Homeless IT Guy!
www.facebook.com/josemedeiros007


Tom
Stierlin Estates
on Sep 28, 2017 at 8:09 pm
Tom, Stierlin Estates
on Sep 28, 2017 at 8:09 pm

I think this is Great!!

Now let's set up pot shops close by all this Billion dollar taxpayer liable housing by voting yes on the other ballot measure!!!

This is what I have always dreamed about, cheap housing and accessible weed close by!

Thank you Mountain View, I promise to repay you when I get a job!!


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