Economic Justice

Mountain View votes to raze rent-controlled apartments, displace dozens

MOUNTAIN VIEW — Despite hours of impassioned pleas from residents who will lose their homes, the City Council voted early Wednesday morning to allow the eviction of more than 70 tenants and the demolition of their rent-controlled apartment building to make way for new town houses.

Council members voted 4-3 to approve a proposal by Morgan Hill-based developer Dividend Homes to raze the 20-unit rent-controlled Royal Viking Apartments on Rock Street and replace the complex with 15 new town homes. Just after midnight Wednesday, they approved a plan that gave residents an extra six months to vacate the building — requiring them to move out by the end of 2019.

San Jose moves toward ordinance limiting Section 8 discrimination

San Jose took a step toward making it harder for landlords to turn away would-be tenants who use vouchers to help pay the rent.

This week, the San Jose City Council directed the city attorney’s office to draft an ordinance aimed at giving renters with subsidies, commonly known as Section 8 vouchers, a fair chance on the private rental market. The so-called source of income ordinance would not force landlords to take the vouchers, but it would ban them from judging potential tenants who use subsidies differently from those who don’t and from explicitly advertising “No Section 8” on apartment listings.

If everything goes according to plan, the council will vote on the ordinance in the spring.

‘I don’t want to leave:’ South Bay renters displaced to make way for buyers

MOUNTAIN VIEW — Rocio Carrillo was taken aback last summer when 5-year-old Johnatan asked about the new sign in front of their apartment building.

Carrillo didn’t want to tell her son the truth about the placard bearing the official-looking title: “notice of development proposal.” But since she hadn’t prepared a story, she didn’t know what else to do. “I did end up telling him that someone wanted to take our house away,” she said.

The result was heartbreaking. Johnatan, whom his family affectionately calls Johnny or Papá, went through a phase where he didn’t want to go to school, because he worried someone would come to his room and take away his toys and clothes while he was gone.

Mountain View residents push back against proposed housing developments on Rock Street

Residents of two Mountain View apartment complexes that developers are looking to replace with luxury housing say they won’t be able to stay in the city if they’re forced out of their homes.

Tenants of 2005 and 2310 Rock St. say the relocation assistance that the developer offered them — an equivalent of three months rent, according to a city official — won’t be enough to cover what residents expect could be at least a $1,000 per month increase in rent long-term.

Plans to raze apartments spur outcry

Securing affordable housing in Silicon Valley can be a lottery. In one case, a group of tenants is literally hoping the lottery will save their homes. 

The homes are the 59 apartments located at 2310 Rock St. Each week, the residents -- including bus drivers, teachers and nurses -- are pooling their money to buy Powerball tickets with the distant hope of hitting the jackpot. It started as a joke, they said, but if they win, their plan is serious: Buy their apartment property, giving everyone free or very low rent for life. It's the American dream tempered for the realities of Mountain View housing.

The Movement for Housing Justice Continues!

Thank you to everyone who attended Tuesday's San Jose city council vote - we may not have achieved the strongest possible renter protections from displacement + discrimination, but we did achieve some key victories, including showing up in strong spirit + massive numbers, with approximately 200 tenants & allies across our coalition & community.

Your stories and passion sent a clear message: 

The housing + economic injustice crisis is not going away; This issue is clearly tied to race; We WILL be back! 

#TenantPower #SJWeBelong #1People1Fight

**Special shout out to Councilmembers Sergio Jimenez, Raul Peralez, Donald Rocha and Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco for standing up for renters throughout the night!**

San Jose makes changes to housing policy

SAN JOSE — As development in San Jose explodes and housing prices continue to soar, the City Council on Tuesday night adopted changes to the city’s housing polices that could benefit renters and provide protections for landlords.

At the Housing Department’s recommendation, the council agreed to prohibit landlords of rent-controlled apartments from dividing utility costs based on how many people live in each apartment and the unit’s size rather than how much gas or electricity they actually use. So the council is asking property owners to install sub meters at each apartment so families are charged only for what they actually use.

Grappling with soaring housing costs, San Jose again enacts new rules for apartment landlords

As San Jose struggles with its piece of Silicon Valley’s housing crisis, its City Council tinkered Tuesday night with the city’s apartment rental regulations in hopes of protecting residents most vulnerable to the vicious market without encouraging landlords and developers to take their business elsewhere.

It’s the third time in 13 months the council has made changes to the city's rental laws.

As frustrated Councilmember Johnny Khamis — who acknowledged that he comes across as heartless because he views the conundrum from what he calls “a business point of view” — told his colleagues: “We keep creating new laws, we keep creating new regulations, but what we’re not creating is affordable housing. I think our (housing) department is tasked to work on … ways that we can micromanage businesses and we don’t focus as hard on creating new housing.”

Downtown San Jose’s Google village takes major step forward with government property deals

SAN JOSE — Google’s planned village in downtown San Jose has cleared a major hurdle, reaching agreement on proposed prices for selling several government-owned properties to a development venture led by the search titan.

The proposed price for the combined property sales to Google is $67 million for nine parcels at six addresses in downtown San Jose, according to a city staff memo. The properties are owned by a government agency created to unwind the assets and operations of the now-defunct San Jose Redevelopment Agency, which once owned them.

San Jose Councilman Wants to Re-Cast Vote on Controversial Google Advisory Committee

San Jose Councilman Johnny Khamis wants to take back a vote to expand the scope of a hotly debated 38-member advisory board, which will provide community feedback to the city as it works on a proposal to bring a Google HQ to downtown.

The City Council voted unanimously last week to add three more members to the Station Area Advisory Group: People Acting in Community Together, the Minority Business Consortium and the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. But Khamis said he meant to approve the original makeup of the 30-plus-member committee, even though it was criticized for excluding religious groups and people of color.