Brainstorming Solutions to Bay Area Housing Crisis
More than 175 business leaders, elected officials, community partners, and housing advocates convened last month for the Housing Solutions Summit hosted by Facebook and Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s Vice President of global communications, marketing, and public policy, at their Menlo Park headquarters. The Summit was co-convened by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Bay Area Council.
Attendees dedicated two hours on February 9 to focus on solutions to the housing shortage facing the Silicon Valley and greater Bay Area. More than half of the attendees were private sector CEOs, C-suite, or VPs. The commitment of each attendee was to leave the Summit after choosing 3-5 of the presented solutions they and/or their company or organization would consider pursuing or championing in 2018.
The Summit featured nearly 20 solution-oriented presentations over the course of an hour and a half (about 3-4 minutes for each presentation), and included presentations from Western Digital Corporation CEO Stephen Milligan, Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Chair Jim Beall, Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee Chair David Chiu, and Housing Trust Silicon Valley CEO Kevin Zwick. The lightning-round structure was designed to pique attendees’ interest as to what their role might be in solving our deepening crisis.
At the end of the Summit, attendees selected the solutions to which they would commit their time, talent, and/or treasure. The housing solution selected the most by attendees was Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 827 addressing zoning near high-quality transit; next, the proposal by Mayors Libby Schaaf (Oakland) and Sam Liccardo (San Jose) for companies to set aside some of their revenue to invest in local housing; and thirdly the statewide housing bond that will provide $4 billion for affordable housing construction financing and home loans for veterans.