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SB 9 & Opportunity Housing

Senate Bill 9 is state legislation that does much of what we have collectively been advocating for with Opportunity Housing. Most importantly it eliminates exclusionary, single-family zoning and allows 2-4 units to be built throughout San Jose, and across the state, starting January 1st, 2022.

This is a tremendous step forward, and the debate in Sacramento echoed most of the reasons many of us feel this is important to San Jose – promoting opportunity for racial and economic inclusion rather than exclusion all across the city, creating desperately needed new homes, providing new pathways to homeownership, and promoting environmentally sustainable development to prevent more sprawl.

The new law (SB 9) looks a lot like what we were pushing for from Opportunity Housing here in San Jose: 

  • it opens up neighborhoods citywide, 
  • it allows two-to-four new homes to be built where only one is currently allowed, 
  • it provides displacement protections for tenants of single family homes, 
  • and it addresses issues of historic homes. 

This is a tremendous victory and will expand opportunities for racial and economic inclusion throughout the city and across the state.

The one remaining General Plan 4-Year Review Task Force recommendation not addressed by the state law is looking at additional programs and incentives to expand affordability opportunities, the greatest remaining concern of San Jose Neighborhoods for All members. Since the beginning we have known that ending exclusionary zoning barriers alone would not make this new housing affordable to lower-income families. Now we must push Council to direct staff to separately study and propose measures to expand affordability, including both affordable homeownership and homes for rent. 

Join us on October 28, 2021 at 1:30 pm for San Jose City Council’s study session on SB 9 & SB 10, and their implications for the Task Force’s Opportunity Housing recommendation.

Here are some suggested talking points:

  • I am ____ from (your organization), a member of the San Jose Neighborhoods for All coalition
  • SB 9 has created the opportunities we have been supporting – promotes inclusion over exclusion, promises to provide much needed new homes, prevents more sprawl through sustainable development, and responds to the risk of displacement. 
  • This is a victory for those committed to undoing the exclusionary mistakes of the past.
  • Now Council must direct staff to separately study and propose measures to expand affordability, including affordable homeownership and homes for rent.
A Duplex in San Jose’s Almaden Country Club neighborhood

Older duplexes already play a role in San Jose’s vibrant neighborhoods.

There are more than 5,500 of these properties in San Jose with duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes, with examples in every council district. New opportunity housing type homes are legal now in many West Coast cities, blending into neighborhoods where they provide a greater range of affordability and housing choices. To solve our housing shortage, we will need to use a range of solutions to create more affordable choices of all shapes and sizes for all our neighbors.

See maps of where opportunity housing already is in San Jose

Learn more or join the opportunity housing movement today!