Letter to the Editor: City Manager Responds to Article on Recent Home Eviction Cases

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Below is a letter from City Manager of Milpitas Julie Edmonds-Mares in response to the recent article “Families in Milpitas are being Evicted from their Homes.” The actual, original letter from the City Manager’s office is embedded below the text…

 

October 30, 2018 

Eric Shapiro, Editor

The Milpitas Beat

MilpitasBeat@gmail.com 

 

 

Dear Mr. Shapiro, 

As indicated in the recent article entitled, “Families in Milpitas are being Evicted from their Homes,” by Rhoda Shapiro, this region is suffering from a housing crisis. The article includes reference to Milpitas families who are working with City-sponsored, Project Sentinel, on landlord-tenant disputes within the Selwyn area. At the City’s request, Project Sentinel is currently reviewing three cases in this area and will continue to provide information and assistance to Project Sentinel as requested. Due to the sensitivity of the issues and to protect the privacy of those impacted, the City is only able to provide a brief update. Yesterday, City staff did participate in a meeting with Project Sentinel, who have indicated they will continue to work through their fair housing division on potential reasonable accommodations between the tenant and the landlord, while also recognizing the legal rights of both parties, before the effective date of the eviction notice, November 30, 2018. 

Additionally, while the article touches on some efforts of the Milpitas City Council, this letter is intended to provide assurances and factual information that tenant protections and affordable housing opportunities are at the forefront of City Council’s priorities. Recognizing that affordable housing is a key driver in quality of life, the City Council aims to balance the need for affordable housing with a desire for continued economic growth. With a substantial deficit in affordable housing availability, coupled with the high cost of living in this region, the Milpitas City Council recently initiated a number of policies and proposals to help meet the critical need for homes that local residents can afford to rent or purchase and for tenant protections. 

Recently approved Council policies and affordable housing projects: 

New Affordable Housing Ordinance: A tool to increase affordable housing inventory, this Ordinance requires that new residential construction projects with 10 units or more must include 15 percent affordable units, which is an increase from the previously required 5 percent. 

Residential and Commercial Impact Fees: Through the new Affordable Housing Ordinance, the City is allowed to raise funds for affordable housing through residential and commercial impact fees. Staff has been conducting a series of community outreach meetings and will present a draft Resolution to Council tentatively set for November 20. Note: A community meeting will be held this evening, October 30, at 6:00 p.m. in the Committee Conference Room at Milpitas City Hall. 

Affordable Housing Project located at 355 Sango Court: An 100 percent affordable rental project will be built at 355 Sango Court, which will also include open space areas and private open space for each unit. 

Montevista Apartments on South Main Street: Due to an innovative loan restructure for this 306 unit apartment complex, 50 market rate units converted into new affordable homes, resulting in the total project having more than 50 percent affordable units. In addition, the existing 163 affordable units will all be rehabilitated. 

Tenant Protection Task Force: The Task Force is comprised of both tenant and landlord representatives with the purpose of bringing community, tenant and landlord representatives together to discuss solutions to housing affordability directly related to potential tenant protection in Milpitas. A series of community outreach meetings have already been conducted and will continue in the upcoming months. In the December/January timeframe, it is anticipated that the Task Force will be able to develop tenant protection recommendations for staff to present to the City Council in early 2019. 

The regional housing crisis is an issue that necessitates all communities to come together and collaboratively work towards solutions, particularly since federal and state affordable housing funding has dramatically declined annually over the past several years and with the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies in 2012. As referenced above, the Milpitas City Council has already taken actions to help begin to address these issues and in the coming months, will specifically consider residential and commercial impact fees and recommendations from the efforts of the Tenant Protection Task Force. Regular updates will be provided on the City’s website at www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov and the community is encouraged to participate and provide feedback by contacting the Building and Housing Department at (408) 856-3275. 

Sincerely, 

Julie Edmonds-Mares

City Manager

City of Milpitas 

cc: Milpitas City Council 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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