Uncategorized February 7, 2014

Cupertino Officials Present Overview of City’s Housing Program

Christopher “C.J.” Valenzuela, senior housing planner with the Cupertino Community Development Department, and Saron Savoy, West Valley Community Services BMR program manager, presented an overview of the City of Cupertino’s housing program to SILVAR members at yesterday’s Cupertino/Sunnyvale District tour meeting.

Valenzuela said Cupertino has a number of programs that help people live in Cupertino. The city receives money from HUD and also generates money for its housing program through its Housing Mitigation Program. This program has two sources of funds – office and industrial and residential development.

Valenzuela explained companies that seek more land for office space, like Apple, for instance, are required to pay fees currently set at $5.56 per square feet. The money received from these companies goes to the city’s housing fund.

Developers are the source of funds from residential development, said Valenzuela. Developers who wish to build for sale homes are required to designate a certain percentage of those homes as affordable housing units for moderate income and median income families. If a developer wishes to build rental units, the builder has an option of setting aside 15 percent of the units as affordable housing for low income housing or pay a fee of about $2.93 per square feet.

Savoy indicated Cupertino currently has 118 condominiums and townhomes in its BMR For Sale Program. Sale price for these units is priced below the current fair market value. Applicants have to meet certain requirements in order to qualify and meet income limits. Income is verified annually.

Cupertino has a 136 units in its BMR Rental Program. Rent levels for these properties are also priced below current fair market value, and like the city’s BMR For Sale Program, applicants need to meet certain requirements, including income levels.

A scoring system is used to determine who qualifies and gets priority. Valenzuela said those who live and work in the city get extra points, especially if they work for a “qualified public agency” like the schools. There is a waiting list for both programs, said Savoy, but she invited members to learn more about the programs at orientation meetings the city regularly conducts.

The city deposits monies collected from the mitigation program to its local Affordable Housing Fund (AHF). AHF agencies funded for FY2013/14 are the Project Sentinel Landlord/Tenant Program, the West Valley Community Services Below Market Rate Placement Program, the BMR Unit Preservation and Future Requests for Proposals (RFP).

Valenzuela also noted that the City of Cupertino annually receives federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement funding through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). The CDBG agencies for FY2013/14 are Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity, West Valley Community Services, and Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley.

Additionally, the City of Cupertino allocates funds annually from the General Fund to its Human Service Grants (HSG) Program. The HSG agencies funded for FY2013/14 are Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, Live Oak Adult Day Care Services, Maitri – MTH-Direct Client Service Program and Senior Adults Legal Assistance.

To learn more about the BMR programs and funded agencies, contact Valenzuela at (408) 777-3251 or email christopherv@cupertino.org or contact Savoy at (408) 255-8033 or email sarons@wvcommunityservices.org.