Op-ed: Voting YES on Measure A for more affordable housing

Dear FCF Community:

I’m writing on a measure of critical importance that is the outcome of Full Circle Fund’s willingness to engage in public policy on the issues we care about. Fifteen years ago we launched with an Affordable Housing Circle. That circle was led by Ben Spero and Ted Wang. Over time that circle morphed into the Economic Opportunity circle but Ben and Ted stayed with the issue. The first project was funding a report that was used to create millions for affordable housing in Santa Clara County. Ben and Ted stayed in leadership on this issue over the years and personally provided most of the seed money for Measure A.

Measure A is a $950 million bond that will develop thousands of new affordable homes, including:

  • $700 million for our most vulnerable populations, including veterans, seniors, and supportive housing for the homeless;

  • $100 million for low income earners; and

  • $150 million to support workforce housing and help working families become first time home buyers.

The broadly-supported Community Plan to End Homelessness depends on placing the homeless into permanent housing, and we’ve run out of available housing in the region. Measure A will build 4,300 new, permanent homes for the most vulnerable populations, including the homeless, which will not otherwise be built. Combined with the other new housing funded by Measure A for low-income earners and workforce housing, the impact on our region will be unprecedented.

As you know, the crisis in our regional housing inventory has become a bottleneck that now threatens our economic growth. Measure A will add thousands of units of workforce housing. To help talented employees stay in the region as first-time homeowners, $50 million will be available for first time home buyers down payment assistance, which is more than the combined total of all local down payment assistance programs to date. As the rounds of loans are repaid, this program will keep helping first time home buyers decades into the future.

Polling shows that voters support Measure A, but with a 2/3 vote requirement, we know this will be a tight race. Every vote matters, and we need your help to support the campaign. Results from our aggressive phone banking campaign show that once we tell voters about Measure A for Affordable Housing, they easily become YES voters!

- Josh Becker; Founder and Board Member of Full Circle Fund

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