San Jose Rejects Free Teacher Housing

A wealthy landowner wants to build affordable teacher housing on her private land using her own money, but San Jose City Hall is pushing back.

Sarah Chaffin’s proposal to build eight to 16 new apartment units designated for teachers would help ease a critical affordable housing shortage in pricey Silicon Valley where even middle-income families struggle to find a place within their budgets. But it runs afoul of another city priority: preserving jobs and tax-producing businesses.

“I love the project idea,” said Councilwoman Dev Davis, who represents the area. “But the site is not a residential site. It’s not the right location for this project, unfortunately. We need to preserve lands that are available for employment in our city.”

San Jose is largely considered “jobs poor” — a bedroom community with more housing than jobs. The imbalance costs tax dollars because businesses generally pay much more in taxes than they require in city services, and residents leave the city during the day for work.

The so-called housing crisis is all due to Prop 13. City governments want jobs and businesses but not the bodies.

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Also, let’s be real. It won’t make a dent in the issue. It’ll just create a “lottery” type effect for the 8-16 winners while it does nothing to help all the other teachers. How do you fairly decide who the winners are?

Every little bit helps. We can’t help all doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help any. It lays bare what the real problem is with the housing shortage: the misalignment of incentives.