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Renters push for affordable housing in San Jose

About 100 people, made up of renters and community groups supporting tenants rights, rallied at San Jose City Hall Monday to push the city to approve a program giving preference for affordable housing to tenants who already live in the neighborhood where the units exist or will be built.  

It was a policy first proposed in San Jose around 2018, mainly to protect renters who faced an influx of high tech workers. It was solidified in 2020 when the city said it would set aside affordable units for those who met income requirements.

Still, it is a policy that continually evolved and protesting renters want the Community and Economic Development Committee to refer the issue to the city council to get a concrete policy done to help those in limbo.

“Especially those that are most vulnerable. Those people that don’t speak the language, and don’t know how to be able to stay in one place,” said renter Aurora Solis.

Community groups and neighborhood activists echoed that sentiment, saying people of color are the most likely to be displaced and some could end up homeless.

“We want them to stop pretending that high rents aren’t causing stress and impacting the health of our community,” said Delma Hernandez of the South Bay Community Land Trust. 

The group then marched loudly into city hall, but were quiet and respectful at the meeting, reiterating what they said outside.

Most liked what they heard.

Though some committee members had questions about the number of units that will be built and set aside and concerns about how property owners and management will react, the committee unanimously approved it to the full council.

Prior to the group heading inside, a committee member, Councilmember Peter Ortiz, had already shown his support.  

“As a lifelong member of the city of San Jose, and one of the few renters on the city council, I have personally experienced the precarity of our housing crisis first hand,” said Ortiz. 

So the full city council will review the preference policy on March 19 and if approved, the council will decide on a date when the policy will actually start.   

But there could be quite a bit more community resistance than the committee saw Monday. 

Source: NBC Bay Area

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