The County of Santa Clara

Board Referral
Approved as Amended
Aug 13, 2019 9:30 AM

Approve referral to Administration to report to the Board with options for consideration relating to development of new Measure A housing on specific County-owned properties. (Chavez)


Department:Supervisor Cindy Chavez (Supervisorial District Two)Sponsors:
Category:Board Referral



There is no impact to the General Fund.  The evaluation of potential Measure A development sites is within the current function of the Office of Supportive Housing, and costs related to Measure A development are reimbursed with Measure A funds.


This referral seeks reports to the Board on development of a significant amount of new Measure A Extremely Low-Income (ELI) housing on each of five specific County-owned properties: 

·        East Santa Clara Street site, East Santa Clara Street, San Jose

·        Valley Health Center Gilroy, Arroyo Circle, Gilroy

·        St Louise Regional Hospital, No Name Uno and Las Animas Road, Gilroy

·        DePaul Health Center, DePaul Drive, Morgan Hill

·        The Hub (future site), Parkmoor Avenue, San Jose.

This referral also requests Administration to scan the inventory of County-owned properties and report back on any others which can be recommended for the development of Measure A housing.

To date, the County’s 2016 Measure A Housing Bond program has been an unbridled and undeniable success.  With a goal of 4800 new homes for the homeless within ten years, the Board of Supervisors has already approved the funding for over 1400 new homes.  This success has been confirmed by the Independent Auditor and the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee.

Still, we need to maintain our aggressive pace in finding sites for Measure A-funded permanent homes for the homeless. 

Finding such locations was a primary reason that Supervisor Wasserman and I authored a Board referral in 2015 to produce a unified inventory of the County’s landholdings (which had not previously existed).  We specifically referenced “an inventory of publicly-owned land in Santa Clara County potentially suited for affordable housing.” 

Even before Measure A, the Board approved General Fund funding the Renascent Place development of 160 units of new permanent housing for the homeless on Senter Road in San Jose on County-owned land.  And the Board approved over 500 units of affordable housing on over 12 acres at the Fairgrounds, housing which stands occupied today.

The Administration is reporting to the Board on today’s agenda about potential new Measure A housing on the County-owned Civic Center site, near the Re-entry Center. 

This referral asks for a report on the potential for developing more permanent homes at five specific sites which are already County-owned.

·        East Santa Clara site: The Board recently approved the East Santa Clara Street Master Plan.  The Santa Clara County Housing Authority (HASCC), the County’s partner in the master planning process, is planning to develop approximately 300 units of affordable housing on the HASCC-owned land at the site.  The Board approved the Master Plan with the direction to maximize the housing on the County-owned land beyond the approximately 300 units in the draft master Plan, in a multi-income development.  Although much of the housing on the County-owned property will be market-rate and workforce housing, there is room for some Measure A ELI housing adjacent to Valley Health Center Downtown Clinic.

·        Valley Health Center Gilroy:  There are currently approximately six vacant acres of County-owned land between the Valley Health Center and Highway 101.  This site, with its own VTA stop, is essentially between two medical facilities, the Valley Health Center and the Kaiser Permanente Gilroy Medical Offices. The Administration has indicated that the site is large enough to accommodate some housing without compromising the space available for new facilities under the Health and Hospital System’s Service Model and Operational Plan (SMOP), now underway.

·        St Louise Regional Hospital and De Paul Health Center:  When the County purchased the Verity Hospitals, the County acquired approximately 75 acres of land.  St Louise sits on approximately 30 acres and DePaul sits on approximately 24 acres.  Both landholdings include large vacant spaces even larger than the one at the Gilroy Clinic. Presumably, these spaces are also large enough to accommodate some housing without compromising the space available for new facilities under the SMOP.

·        The Hub: The future location of the Hub center for current and former foster youth was selected for its access to transit and other services, making it also ideal for housing for current and former foster youth.  Current and foster youth are a vulnerable population specifically mentioned in Measure A. 

This referral asks for two alternatives to be evaluated: 1) continuing to renovate the three eastern-most buildings for The Hub and building new permanent housing (with Hub services on the ground floor) on the western-most part of the site; and 2) building new permanent housing (with Hub services on the ground floor) on the entire site.  Administration’s report should specifically address whether and, if so, how long, the second alternative would delay the Hub’s occupation of the new site.

Most of these sites can accommodate substantial amounts of new housing.  This referral only seeks to address the potential for Extremely Low-Income housing for the homeless funded by Measure A.   It would not cap or rule out more housing of other types at these sites. 

The Office of Supportive Housing (OSH) is working on an RFP for On-call Developers.  This will result in a pool of qualified developers who the OSH can assign to evaluate and develop projects on land owned by the County. 

There has been talk of facilities and housing for the homeless at the County-owned Fairgrounds.  I have not included the Fairgrounds as a Measure A housing site for these reasons:

·        The County has already developed over 500 units of permanent affordable housing on approximately 12 acres at the Fairgrounds. 

·        The Board has already adopted Guiding Principles for the Fairgrounds Master Plan, specifying its use as a public space without housing.

·        The County has completed an exhaustive two-year-long public engagement process on the Fairgrounds Master Plan, and the public was engaged on the premise that the Fairgrounds would not be used for housing.  To diverge from the broad outlines of the Master Plan’s Guiding Principles would betray the thousands who participated in the Master Plan process.

·        The Fairgrounds is currently being used for its core purpose – as a public events space.

·        No entity in the region has surpassed the County in building housing for the homeless at locations which are not already in public use.

In September, I plan to bring a Board referral regarding the Fairgrounds Master Plan, based on the Guiding Principles already approved by the Board and consistent with our public engagement process.

Meeting History

Aug 13, 2019 9:30 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting

Two individuals addressed the Board.

At the request of Vice President Chavez, the Board approved the referral to Administration to report to the Board within 90 days with options for consideration relating to development of new Measure A housing on County-owned properties, with the exception of the Fairgrounds.

MOVER:Cindy Chavez, Vice President
SECONDER:Dave Cortese, Supervisor
AYES:Mike Wasserman, Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese, Susan Ellenberg, S. Joseph Simitian