June 23, 2015   For More Information, Contact:
Christine Stavem, (415) 531-8124 or [email protected]   County Sets Aside $14.5 Million For Buena Vista: City Up Next     PALO ALTO – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to set aside a total of $14.5 million towards preserving the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, on a motion made by Supervisor Joe Simitian. In their motion, the County Supervisors made their allocation contingent on a match from the City of Palo Alto.   “Developers pay affordable housing fees for exactly this reason,” said Simitian. “We’re fortunate to have two potential sources of affordable housing funds on which to draw – Santa Clara County’s and the City of Palo Alto’s. If we can put those two resources together we have a real shot at preserving the 117 units at Buena Vista and, ensure they remain affordable in perpetuity.”   The vote builds upon a prior vote at the County to set aside $8 million to preserve Buena Vista, and allocates an additional $6.5 million. The funds all come from developer fees paid by Stanford University into an Affordable Housing Fund, and that must be spent within six miles of the University. The Buena Vista Mobile Home Park is home to approximately 400 low and very low income residents, and is the last mobile home park in Palo Alto. Last month, the Palo Alto City Council approved the owner’s request to close the park. Over the past several months, community leaders have developed a plan to purchase the park from the owner, and to have the site run as an affordable mobile home park by the non-profit Caritas.   “Something needs to come together if we’re going to be able to stay in our homes. We are encouraged and excited about the potential of the plan to preserve the park,” said Erika Escalante, President of the Buena Vista Residents’ Association.   In the board memo put forth by Simitian and Santa Clara County Board President Dave Cortese, the Supervisors reference the importance of preserving affordable housing in the region’s extremely competitive housing market.   “As housing becomes more expensive, more affordable housing is needed; but it is also harder and harder to find opportunities to develop affordable housing,” said Santa Clara County Board President and Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee Chair Dave Cortese. “Preserving the units in place at Buena Vista has got to be more cost effective than trying to replace them down the road.”   “In many ways this is a practical matter. If these folks are pushed out of their homes, we lose some of the workers that make our communities function, they’ll have to commute long distances to their jobs, and traffic congestion will get worse,” said Simitian. “But honestly, there is also value to preserving economic diversity in our community, particularly at a time when there are not enough opportunities to do so. If these folks are forced out, we’re a lesser place.”   ###

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