Partnering to Build More Housing for Extremely Low-Income Residents

In partnership with Facebook and the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), Destination: Home is announcing the launch of the Community Housing Fund–California’s largest private fund dedicated to creating housing for extremely low-income families. The $150 million fund will support the development of affordable apartments for households making less than 30% of our region’s median income, or about $47,000 for a family of four in San Jose. 

The Community Housing Fund is a critically-important source of private funding that will help us accelerate the development of more affordable housing that’s geared toward our lowest-income and most vulnerable neighbors.

Creating extremely low-income housing is an issue of racial equity, and is our best tool to help prevent homelessness

Extremely low-income (ELI) families–who are disproportionately people of color–are facing the most severe impacts of both our region’s housing crisis and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our ELI neighbors were already struggling to maintain housing before the pandemic, and due to the economic fallout this year, their housing insecurity is mounting. 

  • Approximately 70% of extremely low-income residents who’ve secured housing are severely-rent burdened, spending more than half of their income on rent and utilities. And now, as we move back into sheltering-in-place, back rent is accruing for many of these households, without the means or support to pay it. Applicants of our latest round of COVID-19 assistance–all extremely low-income households–are facing an average of nearly $3,000 in back rent owed between March and August, with a current average monthly household income of just $950.
  • Not surprisingly, these are the people who are at greatest risk of being pushed onto the streets. Data from the Homelessness Prevention System in Santa Clara County shows that extremely low-income households comprised 85% of those assessed as being at high-risk of falling into homelessness.

At the heart of this problem is an extreme lack of affordable housing for ELI households. The shortage of extremely low-income housing is higher than for any other income group in the San Jose metro area, with just 34 affordable and available homes for every 100 extremely low income households.

Housing affordable to extremely low-income households will not be built without a dedicated funding stream, which is why efforts like this are so necessary in addressing our housing crisis and preventing homelessness. 

How the Community Housing Fund will work

The new Community Housing Fund will invest critical private funding into new affordable housing developments that dedicate a portion of the apartments to ELI households. Facebook will provide the funding (as part of its previously-announced $1 billion commitment to affordable housing), and the fund will be managed by LISC, one of the largest community development organizations in the country.

As a part of Destination: Home’s involvement in this initiative, at least $50 million, or one third of the fund, will go toward developments in Santa Clara County that align with existing targets for extremely low-income and supportive housing production. 

The Community Housing Fund will fall under a family of funds held by the Partnership for the Bay’s Future. An advisory committee including community members with lived experience with homelessness will guide the Fund’s investments. 

Accelerating our local efforts

This new fund will play an important role in accelerating our collective efforts to build more ELI and Supportive Housing in Santa Clara County. Since March 2018, Destination: Home has invested more than $34 million to advance the development of extremely low-income and supportive housing in Silicon Valley. Through this effort, we’ve provided no- or low-interest acquisition and pre-development financing for 15 new housing developments with 1,330 supportive or extremely low-income units. This private funding has been critical to leveraging the public dollars made available to Santa Clara County’s groundbreaking Measure A housing bond, which has funded 27 affordable housing developments in the pipeline representing 2,900 deeply-affordable homes.

The additional resources provided by the Community Housing Fund will allow us to build on this progress and produce even more of the type of housing we need to ease our growing housing crisis and reduce homelessness in our community.

“Four years after voters overwhelmingly passed Measure A, Santa Clara County has seen 27 housing projects approved or opened, with many more in the pipeline,” said newly sworn-in CA State Senator Dave Cortese, who co-chaired the Measure A campaign. “The need for continued investment in housing and services for our unhoused has only intensified during this pandemic. This contribution will go a long way to addressing homelessness during the age of COVID-19.”

“For far too long, we’ve neglected the housing needs of our lowest-income and most vulnerable families,” said Santa Clara County Board President Cindy Chavez. “But by prioritizing the development of more extremely low income housing – first, through our Measure A housing bond, and now, with the Community Housing Fund – we are taking important steps to addressing our community’s growing inequities.”

“This new fund aligns perfectly with San Jose’s own affordable housing priorities and will channel sorely-needed private dollars towards building more ELI housing,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “I thank Facebook, LISC and Destination: Home for forging a partnership that will help safely house thousands of local residents and families with the dignity they deserve.” 

Read more about the acute need to prioritize housing for our lowest-income residents in our ELI Case Statement.