Program Officer, Building Strong Communities
What’s the single most important issue facing Silicon Valley?
“Housing, housing, housing,” said Dr. Emmett Carson, Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s CEO and president.
Dr. Carson made the comment on Twitter before joining other area leaders to discuss housing issues and kick off Affordable Housing Week in Santa Clara County, May 12-19.
The week of events was organized by Silicon Valley at Home (SV@Home), a membership organization that advocates for policies, programs and funding for affordable housing. SVCF has supported SV@Home through grants under our “Building Strong Communities” funding strategy. (San Mateo County held their Affordable Housing Week May 5-12, and programs were organized by another SVCF grantee, the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County.)
At a breakfast meeting I attended on May 12, Dr. Carson moderated a panel discussion among Bay Area policy leaders and influential stakeholders about regional housing developments.
Panelists joining Dr. Carson (far left) were, from left:
- Carolyn Coleman, executive director of the League of California Cities
- Paul Nieto, executive vice president of Signature Development Group and 2016-17 chairman of Building Industry Association Bay Area
- Ash Kalra, California State Assemblymember, 27th District
- Scott Wiener, California State Senator, 11th District
Dr. Carson started the discussion by providing some context on California’s housing crisis, including:
- The disparity in the number of jobs being created in Silicon Valley compared to the number of homes being built
- Drastic rent increases in the housing market
- Nearly one-third of California renters — more than 1.5 million households — pay more than 50 percent of their income toward rent
- The reality that one city can allow construction of a corporate campus with a huge footprint, but has no obligation to provide for the subsequent impacts in housing demand and transportation congestion
The conversation then focused on legislation currently being introduced to solve the state's housing crisis, including Senate Bill 35, which was co-authored by Sen. Wiener. SVCF supports this bill, which aims to create more accountability to meet regional housing goals and streamline the production of affordable housing.
Additionally, the panel discussed the need for regional or even statewide solutions to housing issues. They also acknowledged that the housing crisis needs to be tackled together by diverse organizations.
SVCF was proud to participate in this discussion, as one of our key institutional priorities is working with regional partners on solutions to address housing and transportation issues. Watch the full discussion in the video below, provided by SV@Home. To stay up to date on housing issues in the Bay Area, follow me on Twitter at @Vu_Bang_Nguyen.