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Santa Clara County Voters Support Affordable Homes for Workforce on Publicly Owned Excess Vacant Land

SAN JOSE, CA – It’s no secret the skyrocketing home and rental prices in Silicon Valley have made living-where-you-work almost impossible in the area. The strain has been more starkly felt with our local workforce, often being displaced from their community or having to endure long commutes to work in other cities. However, one creative initiative targets our local public service workforce, a group critical to the prosperity of our communities.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s annual “Silicon Valley Poll” found that 73 percent of voters would support cities to build affordable rental housing for those earning less than $100,000 a year –an amount considered low-income in some Bay Area counties by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These homes would utilize publicly owned vacant land that is next to schools, public buildings, roadways or former government sites – while giving priority to those employed locally in public safety, public education or health/medical fields.

“We need more housing in our region for people at all income levels. The only way to meet this need is to fill our toolbox with as many new resources as possible,” said Housing Trust Silicon Valley CEO Kevin Zwick. “Building workforce homes on excess public land for our low-income earners is one such tool.”

The proposed housing would not be traditional “public housing.” To ensure rents will be maintained as low as possible, the homes would be owned and operated by a local non-profit agency.

“The lack of affordable housing is a concern for both employees and employers,” said Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino. “We consistently hear from our member companies that the cost of housing is the top challenge for their workers and families and a top challenge of doing business in the Valley.”

There is no silver bullet to solve the housing crisis in Silicon Valley – significant improvement will only happen if multiple initiatives are concurrently implemented.

Workforce Housing Poll Question
Many cities in the Bay Area have vacant lands, that are not parks or open space, that could be used for housing. Many of these parcels of vacant land are next to schools, public buildings, roadways, and sites of former government uses.

Some people have suggested the idea of allowing cities in the Bay Area to build affordable rental housing for individuals and families earning less than $100,000 a year at these vacant government land locations subject to local City Council approval.

This housing would not be traditional “public housing.” This housing would be owned by a local non-profit agency and operated as a non-profit to keep rents as low as possible. Priority for the housing would be for public safety and public education employees, and medical and health care workers with jobs in a nearby Bay Area community.

Would you support or oppose such a proposal?
Support. …………… 73
Oppose. ……………. 20
No Opinion………… 7

About the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Annual Poll
The 2017 Silicon Valley Leadership Group Annual Poll was conducted by J. Moore Methods from May 3-9, 2017 and surveyed 1,200 registered voters in Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo counties. These results are for Santa Clara County polling 600 likely voters with a +/- 2.6 percent margin of error.

Media Contacts:
Nancy Sanchez, Sr. Dir. of Communications
[email protected] / 408-501-7879
Kimberly Ellis, SVP Communications and Marketing
[email protected] / 408-501-7853

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