Increasing Access to Affordable Housing Opportunities

Increasing Access to Affordable Housing Opportunities

SVCF is accepting nonprofit applications from
Monday, September 19, 2022 through Friday, October 14, 2022.

Apply Now

SVCF’s grantmaking team hosted an information session for interested applicants. You may view the recording here.

Nonprofits may also schedule time with the Community Action team during office hours here.

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Every person deserves a home that they can afford with access to quality resources and a pathway to share in the prosperity of Silicon Valley. However, our region’s rising housing costs continue to threaten the stability of our communities and neighbors’ lives.  Renters must earn between $58.67 per hour (Santa Clara County) and $68.33 per hour (San Mateo County) to afford a two-bedroom apartment.[1] Nevertheless, cities’ minimum wages are far below that (e.g., San Jose’s minimum wage of $15.45[2]). In 2019, 47 percent of households were housing-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, a number that has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic.[3]

The COVID-19 pandemic shed light on the magnitude of the issue and on the risk of not building or preserving enough housing units for our working neighbors. In San Mateo County, there is only one affordable housing unit for every four low-wage jobs,[4]  and in Santa Clara County, there are only three affordable homes available for every 10 extremely low-income households.[5] Additionally, 31 percent of low-income households in the San Francisco Bay Area live in gentrifying neighborhoods[6] (16 percent in Santa Clara County[7], 17 percent in San Mateo County[8]) placing low-income families at risk of displacement.

The housing shortage has disparately impacted communities of color, reflecting disparities in our economic and justice systems. In 2020, our region lost more than 13 percent of jobs with incomes over $60,000[4], and more than 500,000 residents were at risk of eviction or mortgage nonpayment[5].  More than 80 percent of those residents were from communities of color[6], and approximately 40 percent were households with children.

Increasing Access to Affordable Housing Opportunities Fund

SVCF believes having a place to live is a human right. This fund is part of our long-term strategy to direct resources back to the community to catalyze systemic change. By supporting community-led coalitions, multi-sector partnerships, advocacy, and research efforts, we will help dismantle exclusionary land-use policies that segregate our communities and perpetuate the racial disparities reflected in existing wealth and homeownership gaps. This will help catalyze affordable housing production in high opportunity areas, permanently preserve them, and protect lower-income tenants’ rights to stable and safe homes.    

SVCF has chosen to focus this grant opportunity on the following:

This grant round will support grassroots community-organizing efforts that advance affordable housing solutions for low-income communities of color through at least one of the “3Ps of housing:” production, preservation, and tenant protection. Proposed work may include but is not limited to:

  • Housing Element 
  • Strengthening tenants’ legal power and access to representation  
  • Community ownership opportunities  
  • Advocacy to grow the funding pipeline for affordable housing

 Proposal Requirements    

  • A statement that shows how the goals of the proposed efforts will advance affordable housing solutions in one of the “3Ps” of housing: production, preservation and tenant protection    
  • A list of key challenges in advancing the solutions identified in the proposed efforts, as well as mitigation strategies  
  • An explanation of how the proposed efforts advance racial and social equity   
  • Requested amount of funding
  • Organizational budget and statement of financial health   
  • Objectives, milestones and projected timeline to meeting the proposed efforts’ goal(s)   
  • A description of how the applicant will measure the proposed work’s success, and how the organization evaluates its ability to advance affordable housing solutions 
  • A list of existing partners and / or coalition members   
  • A campaign platform, if applicable.

Selection Criteria    

Note that priority will be given to organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), or those that serve in active partnerships with BIPOC communities.

Proposals will be evaluated on the following:  

  • Focus on creating systemic change by transforming policies, practices, power dynamics, or a shift in social mindset   
  • Commitment to a project vision and direction that is community-informed and/or community-driven
  • Existing or planned cooperation with diverse community-based partners 

Additional Details

Funding will not be provided for:

  • Capital improvements
  • Budget shortfalls or fundraising events
  • Previously planned or long-term campaigns
  • Funding gaps due to internal organizational emergencies, such as office vandalism, resignation of an executive director or sudden loss of funding

The maximum grant amount will be $75,000. Organizations seeking additional funding for their proposals may email SVCF’s grants team to inquire about exceptions. The application is streamlined to reduce time spent on applying and processing. Only one application may be submitted per organization.


  • Organizations must serve San Mateo and/or Santa Clara counties. Organizations headquartered outside the two-county region may apply but should demonstrate significant service to these areas or partner with a local organization that does.
  • Organizations must have existing or planned partnerships with other community-based organizations.
  • Organizations must have a 501(c)(3) designation or have a fiscal sponsor with a 501(c)(3) designation.
  • Organizations must not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, citizenship status, creed, religion, religious affiliation, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status or any other protected status.
  • Organizations with religious affiliations will be considered for funding only if the project for which they seek support addresses the needs of the wider community without regard to religious beliefs


Grantmaking Process for Competitive Grants

SVCF is accepting nonprofit applications from
Monday, September 19, 2022 through Friday, October 14, 2022.

Apply Now

SVCF’s grantmaking team hosted an informational session for interested applicants. You may view the recording here.

Nonprofits may also schedule time with the Community Action team during office hours here.