On February 8th the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance that expands access to affordable housing by requiring that the prospective tenants who receive a housing voucher, subsidy, or other housing assistance be given equal consideration when seeking rental housing in unincorporated Santa Clara County. The ordinance prohibits landlords from rejecting a prospective tenant solely because he or she would use a voucher or other subsidy to pay rent, and also prohibits landlords from including statements such as “No Section 8 Accepted” in advertisements for rental housing. The ordinance will take effect in January 2018.
“Homelessness and lack of access to affordable housing are a crisis in our county,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese, President of the Board of Supervisors. “This ordinance helps veterans, homeless families, and other community members use Section 8 vouchers and other subsidies to access the affordable housing they need and deserve.”
On any given night, over 6,500 county residents are homeless, and over 2,000 have been homeless for a year or more. Despite an extreme need for housing solutions in the county, existing housing resources are underutilized. In a recent month, 826 federal housing assistance vouchers in the county went unused, and 217 federal housing vouchers for homeless veterans went unused.
“The ordinance will help ensure that more county residents are securely housed,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D., J.D. “It makes sure that residents who have the ability to pay for housing will be considered by prohibiting discrimination based on a renter’s use of a housing subsidy or assistance.”
In enacting this ordinance, the County joins 13 states and dozens of local jurisdictions nationwide that have already passed similar ordinances improving access to affordable housing. Similar ordinances adopted by other jurisdictions have been shown by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to increase the use of housing assistance funds by up to 11%. Such ordinances have also been shown to increase geography of opportunity by helping promote diverse, inclusive neighborhoods and communities.
“Santa Clara County is proud to take this step toward ensuring access to affordable housing for some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez. “We look forward to working with other communities that seek to enact similar ordinances, using our ordinance as a model.”
At Project WeHOPE we continue our programs that help our clients connect to affordable housing resources and stabilize successful financial habits in order to create permanent enabled residents. We also teach several courses that will give skills to clients that will provide opportunities that can lead to stable jobs in our H.O.P.E Jobs program. That’s just some of the ways we help the problems that face homelessness, for more information or ways in which you can help to please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by giving us a call at 650-330-8000.
Information from an SCC Press Release