Homelessness/Housing For All Blueprint

Homelessness in America is a humanitarian crisis, and our country and city deserve better. Homelessness is one of our community's most severe crises and endangers the health and welfare of all our at-risk residents, including seniors and children. Due to high rents and lack of affordable housing opportunities, people are forced to sleep outside on our streets, along our creeks, and in other spaces that are not intended for shelter. We need pragmatic and compassionate solutions that address the real causes of this crisis. We need a comprehensive and bold strategy– addressing both permanent and immediate needs– to keep a roof over everyone’s head.

Support Affordable Housing, Including Permanent Supportive Housing

I am the only candidate in this race supporting permanent and interim solutions. I support permanent housing opportunities for all residents. I do not support “redirecting” funds away from affordable housing, as my opponent does.According to the recent National Low-Income Housing Coalition report, a minimum wage worker in San Jose has to work 3.7 jobs to be able to afford the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment ($3150). This is the underlying cause of our homelessness crisis. It is unsustainable and must be addressed. Ending homelessness is not just about getting currently unhoused people off the streets, as my opponent suggests. Data shows that every time we help one unhoused person get into an apartment, two to three new people become unhoused. The problem is not so much the people that are unhoused now as the system makes more people unhoused daily.

I will focus on the following:

  • Support the “Three Ps” – Production, Preservation, and Protection: Most serious students of the affordable housing crisis advocate the “Three Ps” approach. These include the production of new affordable housing, like the 4,441 units that Measure A is on track to build. They also call for the preservation of existing affordable housing by removing buildings from the speculative market and empowering community land trusts or nonprofits to acquire, rehabilitate, and maintain them as permanently affordable for future generations. Finally, they advocate the protection of current tenants with policies like rent control, just cause measures, and the right to counsel when facing eviction.

  • Outreach/Education: We need to be in our communities and, together with our neighbors and institutions, work to bring people together to support housing opportunities, including new affordable developments throughout the city. I am the only candidate who has organized community members to support affordable housing. I have the experience to scale up outreach and education efforts to align our community with necessary housing solutions.

  • Eliminate Barriers: I will take the lead in implementing policies and land use modifications to move projects forward more rapidly. We cannot afford to let them stall because of staffing or administrative reasons. I will work alongside city staff to identify and eliminate barriers to expedite the production of homes.

  • Resources: Building affordable housing requires money. San Jose’s failure to reach affordable housing goals is not due to too much spending, as my opponent suggests, but too little. We should increase San Jose’s commercial linkage fee, which is currently the lowest in Silicon Valley. I would push for further local, regional, and statewide funding. I supported Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which would have provided $150 billion for affordable housing if it had been enacted into law.

Acting on Short-Term Solutions Now

While we work on permanent solutions, we must act immediately on short-term housing solutions to help get people off the streets. My opponent’s claim that San Jose has no interim housing plans is erroneous, as a quick glance at the Community Plan to End Homelessness will show. In 2020, San Jose set a goal of building 1000 prefab units by the end of 2022, and is on track to have 717 units completed by then. However, it is clear that unfortunately these unprecedented efforts are still not nearly enough. I will work to expand these existing initiatives, partnerships, and innovative approaches:

  1. Temporary/Interim Housing: We need to pair efforts to build tiny homes and modular buildings with outreach and education in our communities to ensure that the entire city understands the breadth of this crisis and the importance of these solutions. I will work quickly to identify potential sites for tiny homes and modular buildings and fight for every part of the city to do its share. The burden of providing for our unhoused should not be shouldered by just a few neighborhoods in District 3.

  2. Mobile Crisis Center: In collaboration with the County, I will work to create a Mobile Crisis Center open 24/7 to assist the unhoused with round-the-clock, wrap-around services and a one-stop resource center. Services should include a) medical and mental health and drug addiction services, b) locating a shelter bed, c) support finding temporary or permanent housing, and d) providing support for unhoused veterans.

  3. Shelter Beds: I will work with the County to locate more shelter beds in underutilized buildings. More shelter beds and a 24/7 wrap-around crisis center will require continued relationships with our existing partners and developing new ones as more people step up to help out. These programs will not be possible if we “defund” our Housing Department and non-profit partners as advocated by my opponent.

  4. Public Entities: We have public agencies or publicly-regulated entities that own large plots of underutilized land, entities such as PG&E, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Union Pacific. These entities have encampments already on their ground, so it is in their best interest to work together. I propose a collaboration to identify appropriate sites for interim housing and a plan to provide services to unhoused residents already living there.

  5. Take Advantage of Existing State Programs: Through statewide projects such as Project Roomkey and Project Homekey, we have converted underutilized motels into temporary and permanent housing at an expeditious rate. I would double down on this effort and work with partners at the state level to ensure that we are taking advantage of this immense opportunity in San José. Unlike my opponent, I am proud to have expressed my strong support for Project Roomkey throughout my candidacy.

  6. Safe Parking Programs: Safe Parking programs are crucial for residents living out of cars and RVs. Many are families and need a safe space with supportive services, including bathrooms, showers, and mobile laundry services. I will not be deterred by inappropriate, problematic rhetoric about unhoused people. I will work with supportive property owners, including faith leaders interested in Safe Parking programs.

  7. Mental Health Outreach: I will work with the County to facilitate and increase outreach to encampments by mental health workers empowered with the ability to make referrals to programs offering treatment and housing.

This blueprint emphasizes two major components – collaboration and deep community relationships. I am the only candidate with the experience, community support, and track record to follow through on this plan and take action to implement the solutions on the scale necessary to combat the crisis.

Unlike my opponent, I will ensure we work closely with our County and non-profit organizations to get our unhoused out of creeks, trails, and business corridors. The City cannot address this crisis alone. Our unhoused community deserves better. Our neighborhoods deserve better. You deserve better. Everyone has to do their part.