San Jose officials considering measure to build affordable housing

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The median rent in San Jose last month was $2,200 for a one-bedroom apartment and that is only increasing the demand for affordable housing. But who's going to pay to build it?

Next month, five-story Donner Lofts will open a block from San Jose City Hall. There will be 101 studios and one-bedroom units of affordable housing. Twenty units have been set aside for the formerly homeless. It's the kind of project that non-profit agencies hope can be a model to solve the housing crisis.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors is studying whether to put a bond measure on the November ballot to generate $750 million for additional affordable housing. "$750 million is the catalyst, I think to leverage other dollars, and it sends a strong message to the state, it sends a strong message federally that we are serious not only about taking responsibility for the housing crisis that we have, but really doing something about it," Destination Home Executive Director Jennifer Loving said.

The tax would cost the average homeowner about $84 a year. 65 percent of eligible voters surveyed by the Silicon Valley leadership group said they'd support the bond measure.

Advocates said an estimated 4,000 people live on the street or in camps in San Jose. There are many more who are low-income, disabled, veterans or seniors on fixed incomes in need of affordable housing. Over 1,500 applications came in for the 101 units at Donner Lofts in the first two weeks. The formerly homeless will live here, too. "We want them to be integrated into the community, stabilize their lives and get back in the work force if possible, so we want them to be housed with working households as well," Midpen Housing Development Director Keri Lung said.

Single applicants have to earn no more than $40,000 or half the region's median income.

Rent ranges from about $800 to $1,000.

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