San Jose residents rally against affordable housing changes – San José Spotlight

San Jose residents rally against affordable housing changes - San José Spotlight  San José Spotlight

San Jose residents rally against affordable housing changes – San José Spotlight

San Jose residents rally against affordable housing changes - San José Spotlight

San Jose Activists Rally to Protect Affordable Housing Funds

A group of activists in San Jose gathered outside City Hall to protest a plan by officials to divert affordable housing funds to shelters and sweeps. The rally took place just before the San Jose City Council meeting, where two spending proposals were to be discussed regarding the reallocation of funds for affordable housing towards clearing homeless encampments and providing temporary shelters.

The REAL Coalition Opposes the Proposals

The REAL Coalition, a consortium of community groups, including SV@Home, is strongly opposed to the proposals. SV@Home highlights the fact that there are 70,000 rent-burdened families in San Jose who are struggling to make ends meet. Peggy Elwell, a member of the South Bay Progressive Alliance’s steering committee, expressed her distress over the diversion of funds from permanent affordable housing.

Potential Impact on Affordable Housing Funds

According to the draft budget for fiscal year 2024-25, under the proposed scenarios, the reallocation of Measure E funds would leave either $11 million or no funds at all for affordable housing. The focus of the property transfer tax is currently on affordable housing construction (75%) and homelessness prevention, rental assistance, and shelters (25%).

Commissioners Reject the Proposals

The San Jose Housing and Community Development Commission rejected both proposals for reshuffling Measure E funds. Commissioners criticized the proposals for neglecting long-term homelessness solutions and betraying the trust of voters who supported the property transfer tax with the goal of creating more housing.

Mayor’s Budget Message Shapes the Proposals

Mayor Matt Mahan’s budget message in March influenced the Measure E proposals. Last year, he attempted to divert affordable housing dollars but was unsuccessful. This year, city leaders are considering reallocating Measure E funds to address homelessness in the short term.

Residents Speak Out

Debra Townley, a formerly homeless resident, urged the mayor not to cut funding from Measure E and to prioritize permanent supportive housing over shelters. She emphasized that shelters are not suitable for individuals struggling with mental and physical health conditions.

San Jose’s Response to Water Quality Control Orders

San Jose plans to spend $27 million to clear out homeless encampments along creeks and rivers due to orders from the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. Failure to comply by June 2025 could result in litigation and daily fines. However, the water board clarified that the city’s claim of paying $60,000 per pollutant in daily fines is inaccurate.

Allocation of Measure E Funds

Under the current proposal, $15 million in Measure E funds could be used for homeless services, while the remaining amount would come from the general fund and other special funds. The allocation for affordable housing is projected to decrease in future budget cycles.

Other Funding Sources for Affordable Housing

Although Measure E is critical for affordable housing development, the city has identified six other funds that can support such construction. Additionally, the potential sale of Vermont House and the construction of the Monterey-Bernal emergency interim housing site could generate more funds for affordable housing.

Budget Approval Process

The San Jose City Council will hold budget study sessions and public hearings throughout May, followed by a June mayor’s budget message that will require council approval. The formal adoption of the budget is expected on June 18.


The rally outside San Jose City Hall highlights the concerns of activists regarding the diversion of affordable housing funds. The proposals to reallocate Measure E funds have faced opposition from community groups and housing commissioners. The city is grappling with the challenge of balancing the need for affordable housing with addressing homelessness in the short term. The allocation of funds and the potential impact on affordable housing construction remain key issues in the ongoing budget discussions.


  1. San Jose Spotlight – San Jose Mulls Diverting Measure E Affordable Housing Funds, Money Again
  2. Silicon Valley at Home – Action Alert: Help Keep Measure E Funding for Affordable Housing in San Jose
  3. City of San Jose – Draft Budget for Fiscal Year 2024-25
  4. San Jose Spotlight – San Jose Commissioners Oppose Diverting Housing Funds, Measure E
  5. San Jose Spotlight – San Jose Mayor’s Budget Plan Saddled with a Shortfall
  6. San Jose Spotlight – San Jose Passes Budget, Mayor’s Housing Plan Fails
  7. San Jose Spotlight – San Jose Housing Commissioners Oppose Diverting Measure E Funds
  8. San Jose Spotlight – San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan Touts Plan to End Homelessness
  9. San Jose Spotlight – “Absolutely Stunned”: San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan Inflates Costs of Homeless Sweeps

This story will be updated.

Contact Brandon Pho at


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