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2/3 support in reach for Santa Clara County housing bond, new poll says

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors is mulling whether to place a $750 million affordable housing bond measure on this November’s ballot, and results from a recent poll should make backers of the measure optimistic.

65 percent of likely county voters said they would “likely” support the measure, 26 percent opposed it and 9 percent had no opinion.

The poll, which surveyed 600 likely county voters, was commissioned by theSilicon Valley Leadership Group and carried about by J. Moore Methods Inc.

The measure requires a two-thirds supermajority to pass, something Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino sees as eminently doable.

“You don’t need all 9 percent (undecided) to get above 66.7,” he said. “You only need 2 to go your way.”

The new poll numbers are similar to an April poll done by EMC, which found that 62 percent of county voters would support a $750 million housing bond, while an additional 5 percent are undecided, but leaning yes.

Though the specifics have yet to be determined, the general idea is that bond money would fund housing for the chronically homeless, people with disabilities, very low-income residents and others.

The bond would be financed through a property tax increase. In an April Mercury News article, County Assessor Larry Stone said the average homeowner would pay an additional $84 a year.

The measure would likely get approval from a large swath of interest groups — labor, home builders, business groups, housing advocates and others.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Destination: Home Executive Director Jennifer Loving have spoken in support of the measure. The Leadership Group does not have a formal position yet, but the organization has a history of supporting past housing measures. Guardino said he thinks member companies, which include Google, Yahoo and Intel, would probably “enthusiastically” support the measure.

The County Board of Supervisors will likely meet in June to discuss final revisions of the language of a possible measure and have until August to decide whether or not to place it on the November ballot.

Guardino said the bond makes sense from a humanitarian perspective, as well as an economic one. He pointed to a 2015 study from Destination: Home, a public-private partnership designed to end homelessness in Santa Clara County.

The report states that the longest chronically homeless people on average use more than $62,000 a year in services, hospital and criminal justice costs, compared to less than $20,000 a year if the individual is permanently housed.