Late last fall, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) took the first steps toward the development of a regional, nine-county Bay Area housing strategy with the approval of a new task force coined CASA — the Committee to House the Bay Area. With this action, MTC has stepped into a leadership role around housing, working to respond to supply, affordability, and displacement/gentrification, all issues of concern to the region.
MTC’s leader, Steve Heminger, is the author of one of our favorite quotes—“We have a transportation problem, but we have a housing crisis.” We agree. MTC data shows that there are 100,000 Santa Clara County residents who leave the County each day for work, and 200,000 who commute in—a net of 100,000 people. Now, even if you argue that people can choose to live wherever they want, and therefore it doesn’t matter if housing is near jobs, it is clear from this statistic that even if they wanted to, these 100,000 workers don’t have a choice. There is simply not enough housing to choose.
We also like to use the quote from Carl Guardino, the CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG), who says “houses are where jobs sleep at night.” You can visualize this, right? Really what that says is that we need to be thoughtful when we add jobs and don’t take steps to add homes where those “jobs” can live.
And we would be remiss if we didn’t point out the statistics from Joint Venture Silicon Valley, prepared by Stephen Levy, Director of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy. These statistics show that over a five-year period — between 2010 and 2015 — the Silicon Valley area (defined as Santa Clara County, San Mateo County and San Francisco) added 350,000 jobs and gained 220,000 residents. But over an eight-year period — between 2007 and 2015 — added only 59,900 housing units. So when you ask — why is traffic so bad? Now you know.
A key action from Plan Bay Area 2040 is bringing together a multi-sector group of partners to develop a strategy that forms a consensus around solutions for the region’s chronic housing challenges, focusing on supply, affordability at all levels, and preservation/anti-displacement. That’s where CASA comes in. The group MTC has pulled together includes for profit developers, non-profit developers, government partners, labor, business, equity, environmental, finance, and other experts. SV@Home’s Executive Director Leslye Corsiglia, San Francisco Foundation CEO Fred Blackwell, and President and CEO of TMG Partners Michael Covarrubias, will co-chair CASA. Steve Heminger, MTC Executive Director, and Ken Kirkey, MTC Planning Director, are providing leadership and coordination.
With a two-body format — a Steering Committee (SC) with 16 members, including the mayors of Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose, and a Technical Committee (TC) with 26 members — CASA will officially kick off in September, though the TC will hold workshops in June and July to do the groundwork for the work ahead.
CASA’s first Technical Committee Workshop will be held on Wednesday, June 28th from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at the Bay Area Metro Center.
SC members include:
- Bobby Alvarado, Executive Officer, Northern California Carpenters Regional Council
- Kofi Bonner, Regional President, Northern California, Five Point
- Keith Carson, Supervisor, Alameda County Board of Supervisors
- Julie Combs, Councilmember, City of Santa Rosa
- Dave Cortese, President, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
- Grace Crunican, General Manager, BART
- Matthew Franklin, President, MidPen Housing Corporation
- Edwin Lee, Mayor of San Francisco
- Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose
- Jake Mackenzie, Mayor, City of Rohnert Park
- Jeremy Madsen, CEO, Greenbelt Alliance
- Julie Pierce, Councilmember, City of Clayton
- Rebecca Prozan, Chief of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Google
- Dave Regan, President, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West
- Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland
- Ellen Wu, Executive Director, Urban Habitat
TC members include:
- Robert Apodaca, Principal, ZeZen Advisors
- Ophelia Basgal, Executive Board Member/Visiting Scholar, Terner Research Center
- Claudia Cappio, Assistant City Administrator, City of Oakland
- Jonathan Fearn, Vice_President of Development, Summerhill Homes
- Amie Fishman, Executive Director, Non Profit Housing Association of Northern California
- Caitlyn Fox, Chief of Staff, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
- Bob Glover, Executive Officer, BIA Bay Area
- Raquel Gonzales, Market President, Bank of America
- Rich Gross, Vice President, Enterprise Community Partners
- Jennifer Hernandez, Partner, Holland and Knight
- Lynn Hutchins, Attorney, Goldfarb Lipman LLP
- Janice Jensen, President and CEO, Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley
- Mark Knoll, Managing Director, Sares Regis Group Linda Mandolini, President, Eden Housing
- Dr. Jennifer Martinez, Executive Director, Faith in Action Bay Area
- Derecka Mehrens, Executive Director, Working Partnership USA
- Gabriel Metcalf, President and CEO, SPUR
- Jacky Morales- Ferrand, Director of Housing, City of San Jose
- Tomiqua Moss, Executive Director, Hamilton Families
- Mary Murtagh, CEO and President, EAH Housing
- Denise Pinkston, Partner, TMG Partners
- Ken Rich, Director of Development, City of San Francisco
- Matt Schwartz, President and CEO, California Housing Partnership Corporation
- Doug Shoemaker, President, Mercy Housing
- Abby Thorne-Lyman, Transit-Oriented Development Program Manager, BART
- Joseph Villareal, Executive Director, Housing Authority of Contra Costa County
- Bill Witte, Chairman and CEO, Related California
We have some top-notch assistance as well, including:
- Jennifer LeSar, Cecilia Estolona, and Rachel Ralston from Estolano LeSar Perez
- Carol Galante and Sara Draper-Zivetz from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UCB
- Karen Chapple from the Urban Displacement Project at UCB
- Duane Bay from ABAG
- Ken Kirkey at MTC
- Beba Sanchez, Chirag Rabari , and Vikrant Sood at MTC
- Pilar Lorenzana at SV@Home>
- Elizabeth Wampler at the San Francisco Foundation
The key to this group is that it is diverse. The voices at the table represent the supply side, the affordable side, and the equity side — three groups that do not always agree on the problem or the solution. We can continue to work in silos, and even work against one another, or we can come together to seek common ground. At SV@Home, we choose the latter. This is too important. We know that listening and compromising will be vital to the success of CASA.
At the end of the process, what we hope to see is a package of funding and legislative proposals for State action, a package of funding and policy measures for local and regional action, an advocacy platform and coalition to advance housing policies at the State and regional level, and a suite of commitments from institutional stakeholders. This could include proposals that direct MTC resources to housing.
For SV@Home, being a part of this effort is critically important. The South Bay voice is often lost in the Bay Area dialogue, with our neighbors to the North and West receiving most of the attention. We will work to engage voices from the South Bay to make sure that we are well represented. We will do this through communication, meetings, and roundtable conversations. We will encourage engagement and input. Please regularly check the SV@Home website to see information about upcoming meetings and opportunities to engage. We will also include meeting agendas and other information that will inform you about CASA and the conversation that is happening.
Our goal is that SV@Home works with all the CASA committee members to successfully develop a workable plan to tackle this crazy housing crisis. We know it is ambitious. But if we don’t try we won’t succeed. We are ready to give it our best.