San Jose: A Leader in Housing Innovation
San Jose is the capital of Silicon Valley. Not only are we leaders in technology innovation, our city is leading the way in housing innovation too. The revenue generated by Measure E can help continue our creative approaches to building housing more efficiently.
READ ABOUT SOME OF THE SUCCESSES WE’VE ALREADY ACHIEVED BELOW.
Bending the Cost Curve with Backyard Homes
“We need to disrupt the market to find a more innovative way of getting housing built in our very expensive city.”
— MAYOR SAM LICCARDO, MAY 15, 2019
The Housing crises exists in major part due to the growing cost to build housing. For example, the cost of construction of an average two-bedroom apartment can be as high as $800,000. One important solution is to dramatically lower the cost of construction and land. By placing up to 40,000 secondary units in San Jose backyards and unused garages, we can address a significant portion of the city’s housing crisis. More than 120,000 single-family homes in San Jose can accommodate a backyard home
To do so, the San Jose City Council approved a series of programs to make it easier for San Jose residents to build backyard homes, also known as accessory dwelling units (ADU’s). The programs include streamlining the permitting process at City Hall, reducing fees, and a forgivable loan program with a $20,000 per unit subsidy of new backyard cottages.
According to the City of San Jose, since 2016 the City has gone from processing 40 applications for a backyard home each year to more than 40 applications each month — a 1,100% increase.
Backyard homes can help residents generate substantial income for their family and help solve the city’s housing crisis. The city is looking to expand the program by seeking group discounts for manufactured backyard cottages, helping further drive down costs for participating residents.
SOURCE: KQED, August 27th, 2019
Public Private Partnerships to Help House Our Homeless Students
According to a 2018 study, more than 4,000 San Jose State University students have experienced a form of homelessness during their college career. To address this growing problem, the City of San Jose is partnering with Airbnb and the Bill Wilson Center in a first-in-the-nation pilot program.
Leveraging Airbnb for Work’s third-party booking tool, the Bill Wilson Center will book temporary accommodations on behalf of college students experiencing homelessness. In the meantime, the Bill Wilson Center will work to identify a long-term housing solution for participating students using existing federal, state and local funding sources to cover short-term rents.
Pursuing Modular Construction for Homeless Residents
In recent years, the City of San Jose has moved to a housing first approach that allows individuals to find stable housing and be better equipped to seek employment and address mental health and addiction issues. In fact, according to housing experts, 90% of formerly homeless individuals who move into permanent housing remain stably housed a year later.
In the Fall of 2019, the City of San Jose, Santa Clara County, and private and nonprofit partners opened the city’s first permanent supportive housing made from modular units: Second Street Studios. The complex offers 134 units for rent entirely devoted to formerly homeless with on-site case management. The modular units are built offsite, shipped to San Jose, and then stacked on top of each other, a method of construction becoming more popular because of the reduced time for construction and reduced costs.
SOURCE: Mercury News, December 8th, 2017
Utilizing City-Owned Land to House Homeless Residents
In 2015, the city began pursuing a first-of-its-kind concept to utilize city owned properties and shuttered or vacant hotels into temporary housing for the homeless. The 2016 pilot program began with acquiring the Plaza Hotel, cheaper than building a new housing development, and conveniently located downtown near transit and social services. Partnering with Abode Services, a nonprofit agency, the City approved a grant to rehabilitate the building and for the nonprofit agency to manage the property.
The program was designed to help homeless individuals considered “transitionally homeless” and would be a bridge from homelessness to eventual permanent housing. The development began housing homeless individuals in 2018.