How One Local City is Working to End and Prevent Homelessness

The City of Mountain View has recently embarked on several efforts to increase affordable housing production and help extremely low-income residents maintain financial stability. We wanted to highlight these initiatives, which are rooted in collaboration and demonstrate Mountain View’s commitment to help end and prevent homelessness in Santa Clara County.

Building Hundreds of New Affordable Homes

Through a partnership with the County of Santa Clara, $80 million is now available to Mountain View to create up to 250 new homes for currently unhoused residents. The funding is allocated from the County’s Measure A affordable housing bond, supporting four housing communities in development, and earmarking additional funding for more projects to be added to the pipeline.

Here’s a closer look at the new developments already in the works, which include a significant number of affordable units in addition to the dedicated apartments tailored to the needs of currently unhoused households:

  • City Lot 12 (pictured below), with 120 100% affordable apartments, roughly half dedicated to extremely low-income and supportive housing.
  • La Avenida Apartments, with 100 apartments, including 30 homes reserved for currently homeless individuals with on-site support services.
  • 1265 Montecito Avenue, with 85 apartments, including several reserved for veterans and rapidly rehousing currently homeless households.
  • Crestview Hotel, a hotel conversion creating up to 67 100% affordable apartments, including approximately 45 supportive units.

The City of Mountain View and County Office of Supportive Housing have been working closely to develop this batched approach to provide funding for affordable housing in the city, which benefits all involved by streamlining the funding negotiation process, providing greater financial clarity for projects, and better enabling the City to help advance the goals of the countywide Community Plan to End Homelessness, which Mountain View endorsed in 2020.

A dramatic shortage of affordable housing is fueling our homelessness crisis, with just 32 affordable and available rentals for every 100 extremely low-income households in our community. It’s local collaborative efforts like this that enable our community to meet housing development goals with the urgency we need.

Protecting At-Risk Households

In another important move that will help prevent homelessness, Mountain View is also piloting a guaranteed basic income initiative. The Elevate MV Program will help approximately 166 extremely low-income (ELI) households bridge the growing gap of monthly income needed to maintain stable housing in our community.

We’re all navigating the rising costs of living in Silicon Valley, but for our lowest-income neighbors, rising rents are increasing the risk of homelessness. According to California Housing Partnership, a renter in Santa Clara County needs to make $46/hour – or 2.8x the minimum wage – in order to afford median rent. With such a huge gap between wages and rents, low-income families in our community face dire housing insecurity and are often one unplanned expense away from losing their home.

Especially with an acute focus on ELI households, guaranteed basic income programs can play an important role in addressing this challenge, and the Elevate MV Program joins a growing local movement. Later this year, Destination: Home will be partnering with the Si Se Puede Collective to launch a Guaranteed Income pilot that will provide $1,000 per month to 150 ELI households experiencing or at-risk of homelessness and another program serving foster youth will be launching in Santa Clara County.

Fostering Collaboration Across our Community

We’re proud to call the City of Mountain View a partner in our collective efforts to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring. We began a 3-year capacity-building grant with the city last year, in an effort to support their ability to develop deeply affordable housing and spearhead initiatives such as these that will help end and prevent homelessness.

Similar partnerships have proven successful in removing barriers and speeding up the production of much-needed housing. In San Jose, for example, a capacity-building grant to the City’s Planning, Building and Code Enforcement (PBCE) Department shaved an average of two months off project timelines. We’ve also made a grant to the City of Morgan Hill in support of their ramped up efforts to help combat the homelessness crisis, and look forward to updating you on their progress.

What Inspired Mountain View Leadership?

We sat down with Mountain View Mayor Lucas Ramirez to hear what inspired city leadership to take this action and learn more about these exciting initiatives. What motivated the city to partner with Santa Clara County, how is Mountain View overcoming some of the barriers to the development of affordable housing, and why was it important to endorse the countywide Community Plan to End Homelessness? Find out the answers and more in our Q and A with Mayor Ramirez.

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