Santa Clara County approves $17M for affordable housing projects

Santa Clara County approves $17M for affordable housing projects

Danco Group's Chris Dart and 777 West San Carlos Street in San Jose
Danco Group's Chris Dart and 777 West San Carlos Street in San Jose (LinkedIn, SGPA Architecture & Planning)

Santa Clara County has approved $17.4 million to buy three properties in San Jose for the construction of more than 300 affordable homes.

The Board of Supervisors approved the funds to buy land needed for affordable housing complexes at 777 West San Carlos Street, 551 Keyes Street and 860 Alum Rock Avenue, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The money for the projects comes from Measure A, a $950 million affordable housing bond approved by voters in 2016.

In total, up to $53.8 million in Measure A funds will go toward the developments, already approved by local officials, to help cover the land purchases and building costs.

The projects include a 156-unit Sunol-West San Carlos Apartments at 777 West San Carlos, west of Highway 87 near Downtown. The property cost $11.2 million.

The affordable development, by Arcata-based Danco Group, would include a fitness center, community spaces, a community room and affordable child care, according to the Mercury News.

The projects include the 99-unit The Charles complex at 551 Keyes, near Kelley Park. The property cost $3.2 million.

And they include the 60-unit Alum Rock Multifamily project at 1860 Alum Rock, east of Downtown between Highway 101 and Highway 680. The property cost $3 million.

Each project has also secured additional financing, and construction is set to begin in the coming months, officials said. The projects will be built and operated by affordable housing developers. The county will offer supportive services for formerly homeless residents.

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In addition to the property purchases, the board approved a $4 million loan for a 99-unit affordable project at 797 South Almaden Avenue in San Jose. The loan will use a combination of state and Measure A funding.

Mathew Reed, director of policy at the South Bay housing advocacy group SV@Home, praised Measure A for helping create homes for low-income and homeless residents in the county at “a level and rate we’ve never been able to achieve in the past.”

So far, the 10-year housing bond, funded by property taxes, has supported nearly 4,000 units and appears on track to meet its goal of helping build or preserve roughly 4,800 affordable homes by 2026.

Still, that amounts to less than 30 percent of the more than 25,000 low-income homes local governments in the county were supposed to approve between 2015 and 2023, according to state data

And starting in January, that state-mandated goal doubled to more than 50,000 for the current eight-year housing cycle.

With Measure A money now mostly spent, significantly more local funding will likely be needed to even approach the aggressive target, especially as state and federal housing subsidies are increasingly oversubscribed, according to the Mercury News.

One proposed option is a Bay Area-wide housing bond worth up to $20 billion that could come before voters in 2024. It could mean as much as $2.1 billion for San Jose and $2.4 billion for the rest of Santa Clara County.

“We need a coordinated regional approach that brings other counties into the effort so that it’s not just Santa Clara County that’s committed, but that everybody is part of the solution,” Reed said.

— Dana Bartholomew

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