In partnership with the League of California Community Foundations, SVCF hosted its first Northern California legislative briefing on July 28 here at SVCF. At this convening, leaders from five community foundations from Napa Valley to Monterey County shared data and research on the housing crisis, and legislators shared potential legislative solutions.
Attending the briefing were California Senators Jerry Hill and Bob Wieckowski; Assembly members David Chiu, Kansen Chu, Kevin Mullin and Mark Stone; and legislative staff from the offices of state Senators Jim Beall and Bill Monning. We were honored to host them.
It is no surprise that our region faces a severe housing crisis. Silicon Valley has the highest share of high-wage, high-growth jobs and some of the highest overall economic growth in the country. But the region’s economic prosperity is not widely shared among residents, and because of an extremely limited housing supply, it is becoming harder and harder for people here to find affordable places to live.
According to a recent poll conducted by the Bay Area Council, one-third of residents are considering leaving the Bay Area because of the high cost of living. And our local experience is not unique – we know that communities throughout California are becoming unaffordable for many people, and the cost of housing is the major factor.
We need to address this crisis if we are to build stronger communities. That is why SVCF has made addressing the affordable housing crisis an institutional priorities. We also know that we have to go beyond our region and beyond making grants if we are to find systemic solutions.
The chance to share ideas and collaborate on problem-solving with our lawmakers during our legislative briefing was valuable. We even took our guests on a walk through part of our surrounding neighborhood, where many RVs are parked - the vehicles are home to many Silicon Valley workers and their families who cannot afford other housing near their jobs (see photo).
Our briefing resulted in conversations about how philanthropy can provide lawmakers with research and metrics on effective practices to build more affordable and inclusive communities, how we can partner to find regional sources of investment for affordable housing and how to convene non-traditional constituencies around the issue of affordable housing.
We look forward to continuing work with our partner community foundations as well as our represented officials to create stronger, more inclusive and affordable communities throughout California.