While activists claim that San Jose’s housing policy is inherently segregated, a study conducted by the city shows how deep the racial gaps are.
The city will discuss its preliminary assessment of fair housing at today’s city council meeting in order to give residents equal access to housing.
“San Jose and jurisdictions in the United States have a long history of housing discrimination and segregation,” a city memo read. “These patterns have affected the quality of life for generations in San Jose, denying them fair access to important opportunities such as quality education, employment, transport, health care, healthy eating, clean air, and parks to relax.”
A map of the racial data of the residents of San Jose. Image courtesy of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development / City of San Jose.
The city began its first Fair Housing Assessment (AFH) in 2019. She was supposed to be heard by the council in spring 2020, but COVID-19 forced housing authorities to divert its resources to responding to a pandemic.
The AFH’s draft shows that large patterns of housing segregation persist, with differences in race and income depending on which side of Highway 101 residents live on. Residents west of the highway are more white, with a high concentration of white neighborhoods in Willow Glen and Cambrian and some concentrations of Asian residents. East of 101, residents are typically Latinos and Asians, with high concentrations in Alum Rock.
Although black residents make up 2.5% of the population, they make up 17% of the homeless population. Native Americans make up 7.4% of the uninhabited population, although they make up less than 1% of the city’s population. Latinos make up 43.7% of the homeless population, although they make up just over a quarter of the city’s total population. In contrast, white and Asian Americans are underrepresented in the homeless population, according to the report.
“If you look at the story of 101, it was no coincidence that it went where it went,” Mathew Reed, housing policy manager for Silicon Valley at Home, told San Jose Spotlight. “They often went through poorer communities, so they ended up creating a line between richer and poorer. Many of the divisions we experience are political decisions that serve to separate people according to race and class. “
The city also found that it has 75% of the Racially and Ethnically Concentrated Poverty Areas (R / ECAPs) of Santa Clara County. R / ECAPs are neighborhoods where the non-white population is 50% or more of the total population and the percentage of people living in households with incomes below the poverty rate is either more than 40% or three times the average poverty rate. is the metropolitan area, whichever is lower.
According to the US Census Bureau figures for 2019, the poverty rate in San Jose is 8.7%. The data for 2020 will be available later this year.
“The city of San Jose must now take deliberate steps to reduce the displacement of working families,” said Peter Ortiz, a trustee with the Santa Clara County Board of Education. “For too long East San Jose has been plagued by absent landlords who have taken advantage of immigrants and color communities.”
A chart showing the general and homeless population of San Jose by race. Image courtesy of Destination: Home / City of San Jose.
The AFH noted that discrimination in the San Jose housing market remains an issue. Groups such as racial minorities, the disabled and the elderly suffer disproportionately from housing problems, displacement pressures and homelessness.
In a joint memo, Vice Mayor Chappie Jones and Councilor Magdalena Carrasco suggested extending the AFH schedule to November so that officials could gather extensive publicity on fair living and learn about measures to expand measures to prevent retaliation by landlords against tenants as well as measures How to increase home ownership by blacks and Latinos can inform opportunities.
“To achieve justice, it is imperative that we as elected leaders find the will to implement the necessary changes in our policies and institutions,” the joint memo reads.
The fair housing rating is based on a federal program created in 2015 by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by the Obama administration to better implement the Fair Housing Act of 1968. In 2018, under the direction of the Trump administration, the HUD made the completion of such a report optional.
In response, California passed Assembly Bill 686, which requires cities and counties to incorporate fair housing initiatives into local housing policies.
Today the Council will present its first results on the report. Members plan to gather community feedback through meetings and other activities in the summer, with a follow-up plan for implementing the guidelines in the fall.
“This is the first step in what will hopefully be an important discussion about how we as a city are responding and doing better work to create communities that are accessible to more people,” said Reed.
The San Jose City Council meets every Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. To see the meeting, visit the city council’s YouTube channel. To learn more about how to participate, click here.
Contact Lloyd Alaban at [email protected] or follow @lloydalaban on Twitter.