The San Jose City Council voted Tuesday afternoon to move forward with a study to determine if a new builders fee is warranted. Money from the fee would be used to build more affordable housing. The need is great.
At Eden Palms off Monterey Highway, 435 people are on the waiting list for an affordable unit.
Regina Moreno is a single mom of three who can't find housing she can afford. She lives with her kids in her mom's living room.
"It's very tough right now. I work two jobs but I still can't afford to rent a place for my family," Moreno said.
Silicon Valley Leadership Group and several other organizations are supporting a plan to charge developers a fee for every new square foot they build. The goal is to raise more than $20 million to go toward bulding affordable housing in San Jose.
"We have an imbalance of supply and demand and the market doesn't supply lower-income housing so the government needs to step in and providing housing for lower-income families," said Shiloh Ballard of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
The goal is to bridge the gap, since the city lost $40 million in affordable housing dollars when state redevelopment funds were slashed.
The Building Industry Association is against the proposed fees and in a statement said "it would unfairly put the burden of subsidizing affordable housing disproportionately on builders of new housing." Instead the association suggested implementing a new parcel tax.
The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce also opposes the fee claiming it would hurt the very people it is designed to help. Both Mountain View and Fremont already require developers to pay a housing impact fee.