San Jose plans wave of affordable housing

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced a 15-point housing plan to help introduce more affordable housing to the Silicon Valley Monday in front of a recently completed senior housing project funded partially by the city in San Jose’s Japantown district.

The plan aims to complete, have under construction or have approved 25,000 more homes by 2022, 10,000 of which the mayor says will be affordable housing to help the current housing crisis and half to be built in downtown.

Liccardo said:

“It’s a crisis at all levels of income. .. One that effects are least affluent neighbors the most but also impedes the ability of our high tech employers to be able to attract and keep talent in our region.”

Among the 15 points, the mayor’s office highlighted five points: rent-restricted housing for middle-class employees, expanding housing downtown, aiming to build housing near transit centers, building homes to help revitalize struggling business districts and generating more funding for affordable housing.

Liccardo said:

“If we were to get to 25,000 homes in a pretty short period of time, this would exceed any half decade period in this city’s history in terms of housing production. … We know we’re going to have to build an awful lot of those homes downtown.”

The total amount the mayor is seeking to build or at least have approved in downtown by 2022 is 12,500.

Liccardo said:

“That’s where we can build very high densities, that’s where we can build a substantial amount of housing that is adjacent to or very close to transit to add housing opportunities without burdening our freeways and highways. … We know that traffic is also a serious concern in this valley.”

Among the properties Liccardo wants to build are 2,400 affordable homes adjacent to light rail and BART in north San Jose.

The areas given as examples in Liccardo’s proposal are the North 1st Street, Alum Rock and Capitol Avenue corridors.

In addition to the focus on downtown San Jose and transit-oriented areas, the mayor is also calling on building housing around business districts that need help in being revitalized.

Liccardo said:

“There are certainly some business districts where business are struggling because there is not enough foot traffic on the sidewalks. … Near my own home on the 13th street corridor, a lot of businesses that are just getting by day to day – if they had housing built on top of those commercial sites, we think it could help revitalize those businesses and at the same time, and put a lot new housing stock in buildings and really bring up the entire neighborhood.”

Two other business corridors Liccardo mentioned in his proposal are the Story Road and Willow Street corridors.

Liccardo said:

“Replacing nuisance properties with housing can improve the quality of life in a community.”

Liccardo also mentioned working on creating a program that helps middle-income employees in the city afford rent-restricted housing:

“We believe rent-restricted housing can be built for those teachers, nurses and many others who are struggling to pay rent and we can do it primarily with private capital.”