Public Policy

 

Public Policy is an essential tool SVCF uses to ensure that every resident of Silicon Valley thrives. Our public policy work focuses on driving systemic change through grassroots advocacy, original research, candidate education, strategic convenings and direct lobbying. The public policy team works with local, state, and federal officials, as well as community partners, to develop and promote policy solutions for our region’s most challenging issues.

In 2021, SVCF will engage in four key public policy areas:

I. Housing

We support policies that produce more affordable housing with a specific focus on ensuring low income, very low income, and extremely low income (ELI) community members have a place to call home. We also support policies that protect tenants from unfair evictions and preserve our existing stock of affordable homes.

1. At the federal level:

We will pursue federal advocacy opportunities toward more funding for affordable housing, rent subsidies, and COVID-19 rent relief, and for affordable housing to be included as essential infrastructure in COVID-19 recovery bills. Some examples:

  • Advocate for the adoption of the Biden-Harris Housing Plan that includes expansion of Housing Choice Vouchers, calling for a large allocation of project-based vouchers as well.
  • Advocate for continued funding of rent relief in the next rounds of COVID-19 relief bills.
  • Advocate for the classification of affordable housing as essential infrastructure as called for in last year's HR 2.

2. At the state level:

We will support bills that support the idea that housing is a human right. We will focus on protecting tenants, producing homes for extremely and very low income individuals and families (ELI and VLI) and preserving affordable housing units. We will partner with other community advocates to ensure that robust funding is available for Bay Area affordable housing with a focus on ELI and VLI. Some examples:

  • Pass a $10 billion state investment in affordable housing through a new bond (SB 5) .
  • Create a permanent source for funding for housing and services for people experiencing homelessness at $2.4 billion/year through Bring California Home (AB 71).
  • Pass AB 528 (Wicks) which will ensure that properties that fall into tax delinquency during the pandemic are used for affordable housing and not flipped by for profit entities.
  • Pass ACA-1 to lower the voter threshold for affordable housing funding measures to 55%.

3. At the regional level:

We will support efforts to build momentum and movement for housing justice in the Bay Area, laying the groundwork for a regional ballot measure through BAHFA/BAHA, advancing the Regional Action Plan, and working towards a new multi-sector multi-stakeholder regional coalition. Specifically:

  • Work to set up and fund the new Bay Area Housing Finance Agency (BAHFA) by advocating for $18.5 million in state funding along with raising $5 million in private philanthropic investments, both to fund staffing, infrastructure and implementation of five pilot programs.
  • Advocate for a variety of local measures that push for a progressive housing agenda.

For more information on SVCF’s housing work:

II. Early Childhood Development and Education

Our vision is to build a community where all can lead financially secure, safe and fulfilling lives.  We believe that one strategy to achieve this vision is to dismantle the systems of racial and economic injustice that have prevented young children and their families from thriving. Every child deserves the best possible start in life and future success should not be predictable by identity – racial, cultural, economic, or any other social factor.

Therefore, we support policies that ensure all children, particularly children who are Black or Latinx, low income, have undocumented status, and/or special needs – have equitable access to the care, education and resources they need to enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

1. At the federal level:

We support legislation that sustains and increases federal investment in high quality early care and learning opportunities that seek to improve access for children most-at-risk.  Some examples:

  • Support for increased investment in existing programs such as Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, Child Care and Development Block Grant, Early Head Start and Head Start
  • Reform of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit through the Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone Act

2. At the state level:

We support legislation that increases and stabilizes financial support for early care and learning systems, removes barriers to access for families, builds a diverse, educated and fairly compensated workforce, and simplifies the complexity of operating and expanding early care and learning services. We collaborate with partners to address the impacts and financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and advocate for immediate investment to shore up our fragile childcare system.  Some examples:

  • Support for modernization of the family fee schedule, eligibility, and enrollment processes to remove undue burdens on families with low income
  • Reform and streamline the subsidy reimbursement system to accurately reflect the true cost of providing high-quality care and fairly compensating the workforce
  • Expand access to emergency pandemic relief funds for home-based childcare providers

3. At the regional level:

We support local advocates and governments in their efforts to expand local investment in early care and education systems and promote planning and land use policies that support preservation and expansion of childcare and early education facilities.  Some examples:

  • Support local efforts to secure dedicated funding for early care and learning through ballot initiatives
  • Advocate for city and county planning and land use policies that promote the inclusion and expansion of childcare and early learning facilities, including the integration of these facilities in land use, housing, transportation, and economic, workforce and community development

For more information on SVCF’s Early Childhood Development work:

III. Immigration

We support policies to advance just and humane immigration reform plans, immigrant integration and increased civic participation.

1. At the federal level:

We support federal legislation that protects the rights and due processes of immigrants and is responsive to the nation’s changing needs. Some examples:

  • Support the passage of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which would establish an eight-year path to citizenship for eleven million undocumented immigrants, broaden legal immigration avenues, and reduce visa backlogs, among other provisions.
  • Support for Get Out The Vote campaigns among eligible naturalized immigrants so they can participate fully in the civic life in the U.S.

2. At the state level:

We support efforts to advance state policies that improve equity within the state’s workforce development and adult education systems so that all immigrants and refugees can access education, job training, and meaningful careers. We also support policies that help immigrants gain greater economic mobility and improved health access. Some examples:

  • Support the expansion of the CalEITC to include all filers regardless of the number they use to file taxes through the Golden State Stimulus.
  • Join the SEED Coalition along with other community-based organizations to support allocating $10 million in the state budget to fund the Social Entrepreneurship for Economic Development (SEED) Initiative, to provide economic development and technical assistance opportunities for undocumented immigrant entrepreneurs.
  • Advocate for Assembly Bill 60, the Safe and Responsible Driver’s Act, established a new type of driver’s license: the AB 60 license. AB 60 licenses are available to California residents who lack proof of legal presence but who meet all other requirements necessary to obtain a driver’s license. Since implementation, the AB 60 program has helped over 1 million undocumented Californians become licensed drivers.

3. At the regional level:

We support local advocates and governments to improve legal services and immigrant integration policies that help to understand the issues, needs, and contributions of immigrants.Specifically:

  • Establish and continue funding support for Offices of Immigration Services in both San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.
  • Provide funding for legal service collaboratives that rely on collaborative engagement and referral processes, high quality legal representation and support, and coordinated outreach efforts that enable more efficient delivery of immigration services
  • Join the Rapid Response Network (RRN) as a community defense project developed to protect immigrant families from deportation threats and to provide accompaniment support during and after a community member’s arrest or detention.

For more information on SVCF’s immigration work:

 

IV. Civic Engagement

We support policies to build a fair democratic system that intentionally elevates the perspectives of underrepresented communities (BIPOC, low-income and others) on issues that matter to them. We also seek to ensure all eligible voters have the right to cast a ballot with ease. 

1. At the federal level:

We support federal legislation to improve voting rights nationwide and ensure there are sufficient resources for election administrators.  Some examples:

  • Support the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Actand protect the right to vote for all eligible Americans while honoring the legacy of the civil rights movement. 
  • Advocate for greater federal assistance under the Help America Vote Act to ensure elections are not underfunded any longer.

2. At the state level:

We support legislation to improve public engagement on local issues. We also support legislation to reform California’s election and influence laws to ensure public discourse is representative, and not controlled by a few select special interests. Lastly, we will partner with a coalition of advocates to continue improvements to California’s election systems and increase participation in future elections.  Some examples:

  • Support improvements to the Brown Act to allow for remote participation in public meetings.
  • Continue to build on the success of the California Voter’s Choice Actand give voters more options to cast a ballot. 
  • Explore statewide public financing systems to even the playing field for money in politics.
  • Expand the electorate to encourage turnout among young voters in future elections (like Proposition 18). 

3.At the regional level:

We support local advocates and governments in their efforts to improve democratic processes including through public consultations and other means. We work with local partners to improve elections and ensure broad participation. Specifically:

  • Encourage local governments drawing district lines to adopt the best practices for redistricting, including by establishing independent commissions.
  • Ensure election administrators go above minimum requirements for in-person voting and voter education during election periods. 

For more information on SVCF’s civic engagement work: