SVLG Staff Spotlight: VP of Housing & Community Development Vince Rocha

Vince Rocha, VP of Housing and Community Development at SVLG, is a dedicated housing policy expert whose tenacity, attention to detail, and ability to connect with others form the perfect storm for political advocacy. 

Having grown up in affordable housing near good schools in Silicon Valley, he understands the need for everyone to have access to housing near transit and amenities. His combined passion for equity and professional excellence are a reminder of the potential for our region to house and care for all of its residents. 

A graduate of the University of California Riverside, Vince holds a B.A. in Political Science and U.S. History and has spent his career helping to make the Bay Area and California a better place to work, live, and play. Over the last 16 years, he has been involved in the passage of major housing and transportation legislation and measures.

In 2020, Vince led the endorsements and political strategy for the three countywide ⅛ cent sales Tax Measure RR in 2020, which gave Caltrain its first permanent source of funding. In 2021, he led a coalition of business groups supporting the Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins’ legislative housing package that included impactful bills such as SB 9 and SB 7. SB 7 has created meaningful change for Silicon Valley, providing CEQA streamlining for the Downtown West Project in San Jose that will create 25,000 jobs and 4,000 new homes (1,000 of which will be affordable). 

Vince is currently advocating for AB 2234, which would speed up housing production by addressing inefficiencies in the building permit process. Co-sponsored by SVLG in partnership with the Housing Action Coalition, AB 2234 was co-authored by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) and Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord). Learn more about AB 2234 on the SVLG Blog.

We asked a few questions to learn more about him and his role at SVLG.

Q: What motivates you in your work at SVLG?

A: I enjoy working with employers and institutions that are focused on solutions to our region’s most pressing challenges on housing, transportation, and infrastructure.

Q: Which of your accomplishments at SVLG do you value the most?

A: Helping to save Caltrain with Measure RR was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at SVLG—ensuring we have good transit for essential workers, as well as ensuring Caltrain remains a high quality transportation choice so we can build lower carbon, transit-oriented development nearby.

Q: What did you do before you came to work at SVLG?

A: I worked for members of Congress and local trade organizations focused on increasing homeownership, access to healthcare, and public infrastructure investments. Public policy is a great tool for facilitating economic growth, shared prosperity, and opportunity that can benefit everyone. I’ve enjoyed my career working both for and with elected and public officials to make our communities stronger and more inclusive.

Q: As a Bay Area native, what do you think is unique about growing up in this region?

A: I don’t think I could have imagined the change we have seen in technology and ideas in such a short period of time. It’s created a vibrant outlook for the region, but I am concerned about all of my childhood friends that have left the area because of lack of housing choices. In some ways we need to invest more in physical change and not just technology. We need the built infrastructure to include more housing, jobs, and transportation choices.

Q: What are some of your favorite books, movies, or TV shows?

A: I love science fiction. Reading Foundation by Isaac Asimov or watching Star Trek, you realize that all these stories about space are really just stories about humanity, about us. About what it means to be human, and what we owe each other as a society.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in the area?

A: It’s been so long since I was a regular diner in a restaurant with the pandemic but I love the local BBQ joint The Smoking Pig in San Jose.