Santa Clara County tackles regional housing crisis with more affordable housing projects

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the midst of a regional housing crisis, officials in Santa Clara County say they're making major progress toward building thousands of affordable housing units.

"We're going to have an opportunity to get homeless people off the street, who are in very high need, who cost, frankly, the county and our communities, lots of money and lots of resources," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

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This week, county supervisors are expected to approve another wave of affordable housing projects, including the 425 Auzerais proposal in San Jose's Delmas Park neighborhood. The development will include 128 apartments, half of which will be set aside as permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless.

"Just the fact that we have a piece of land here that's the perfect size to build affordable units... that alone should be celebrated," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, who also highlighted the site's close proximity to vital services such as transportation.

Critics typically worry about these types of projects resulting in higher crime, but neighbors nearby say they're supportive.

"What we want to see is a building going up, and feet on the ground, so that there isn't a criminal element that might want to come into the property, that's vacant right now, but did that dilapidated buildings on it," said Sarah Springer, president of the Delmas Park Neighborhood Association.

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In November of 2016, voters in Santa Clara County passed a $950 million bond, known as Measure A, which is expected to fund 4,800 units of affordable housing over a 10-year period.

The county is already on track to hit one-third of its goal, just two years into the effort.

"It creates a more diverse, inclusive community," said San Jose State University urban and regional planning instructor Kelly Snider. "We really do need our firefighters, our teachers, and our low-income wage workers, and our retail workers, to be living in our communities, in order for us to be healthy, and to have a long-term future as a sustainable community."

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The project will be developed by Eden Housing. County officials hope to open 425 Auzerais by 2022.

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