San Jose Is Growing. Will More Housing Follow? The City Says Yes

2 min
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announces a housing development plan at an event in San Jose’s Japantown.  (Tonya Mosley/KQED)

In response to the housing crisis in Silicon Valley, San Jose’s mayor is proposing the construction of 25,000 residential units in the city over the next five years.

"How we respond to this crisis will define our generation," said Mayor Sam Liccardo at a news conference Monday announcing a 15-point plan to address the housing shortage.

As part of the plan, Liccardo said the city will focus on building 5,000 residential units a year, including at least 10,000 affordable housing units over the next five years. The mayor said the projected timetable exceeds any other half-decade period of housing construction in San Jose's history. Most units will be built downtown.

"That's where we can build high density," Liccardo said. "That is where we can build a substantial amount of housing that is adjacent to or very close to transit, to add housing that does not burden our highways."

Jeffrey Buchanan, director of public policy for Working Partnerships USA -- a community coalition pushing for more affordable housing -- said that while it's a good thing the mayor is trying to solve the housing crisis, he's concerned that the 15-point plan won't offer much relief.

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"When we think about the scale of the housing crisis, we need to be thinking bigger and bolder," he said. "Not just limiting our tool set to building more units, if we really want to protect those residents who are being pushed out of San Jose."

Buchanan's organization is calling for stronger rent control policies and assurances that companies like Google contribute to solving the housing crisis -- rather than just drive up housing prices.

"The city should be developing policy to ensure that tech industry projects, like Google-Diridon, protect families at risk of displacement today," said Buchanan.

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The mayor's housing plan will be discussed at the city's Rules and Open Government Committee meeting on Wednesday. The City Council will also consider the proposal during its meeting on Oct. 17.

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