Opportunity Housing: 10 Reasons to Support

The 4-year review Task Force recommendation for a study of Opportunity Housing citywide calls for taking our time and getting the details right with robust public input, measures to prevent displacement, incentives to increase affordability, mechanisms to protect historic homes, and environmental review.

Why do we support Opportunity Housing?

  1. By sharing the cost of land among multiple smaller homes, Opportunity Housing can create the next generation of starter homes for middle-class families to save on rent or buy into the city they grew up in in a neighborhood they love.
  2. Allowing a greater variety of housing in our neighborhoods will create more opportunities for our children with safe, stable places to call home, improving their chance of succeeding in school, getting a job, and building their own strong families here.
  3. Opportunity Housing empowers homeowners with choices to convert their own home to a duplex, triplex, or fourplex, giving them, and generations of future owners, options for adult children, for parents to age in place, or for other families in residential neighborhoods.
  4. Currently, 94% of San Jose’s residential land is restricted to single family homes, while only half of the city’s residents live in a single family home, leaving only the remaining 6% of the land for everyone else. 
  5. Older duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes already fit seamlessly in neighborhoods throughout San Jose, from the decades before we made them illegal through Exclusionary Zoning.
  6. Exclusionary Zoning continues to reinforce the unequal patterns of racial and economic separation in the city, and belongs with the other tools of 20th century housing segregation like redlining, lending discrimination, and block-busting: in our past, not our future.
  7. High-density homes are ideal near major transit centers, while lower-density options like Opportunity Housing are a more appropriate way for the rest of the city to help with our housing crisis.
  8. Opportunity housing will follow the same local review and standards for heights, tree removal, and design that the city has for single-family homes. 
  9. Opportunity Housing is a climate-smart tool to keep modest growth on currently developed land, prevent sprawl, use water and power more efficiently, preserve natural and agricultural land, and reduce long commutes that burn greenhouse gasses.
  10. Opportunity Housing is fiscally smart because providing services like police, fire, roads, and utilities to a few new homes in a neighborhood where the infrastructure already exists is more efficient and less expensive than extending those resources to sprawling new neighborhoods.
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