To date, the biggest donor to the campaign is the Palo Alto-based Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, with a contribution of $250,000 to the fundraising committee Affordable Housing Now. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is a limited liability corporation funded with the personal shares of Facebook founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his spouse, Dr. Priscilla Chan.
The proposition is also gathering support among area elected officials and organizations, and has been endorsed by Menlo Park City Councilwoman Kirsten Keith, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Dave Pine, Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, the town of Portola Valley and the cities of Redwood City, San Mateo and Mountain View.
Listed endorsers of the proposition also include a number of housing agencies that operate locally, such as Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley, EAH Housing, and MidPen Housing Corporation, among many others.
Keith cited statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which show that there are around 40,000 homeless veterans in the United States — more than 11,000 of whom live in California. She noted that the state has seen a 17 percent rise in homeless veterans since 2016.
"All of our veterans should have a home," she said in a written statement. "It is the least that we may do for them. Please vote in favor of Prop 1 this November so that we may build more housing in Menlo Park, and across the State, for our beloved veterans."
Pine shared similar sentiments in an interview. "More state and federal funds are required to leverage the investments in affordable housing that we are making at the local level," he said.
Jan Lindenthal, chief real estate development officer at MidPen Housing, a nonprofit housing developer, said that her organization recently completed 66 new affordable housing units in Sunnyvale and now must hold a crushing lottery to decide who will live there. MidPen received over 3,500 applications in two weeks.
"We're endorsing Proposition 1 because the only way we are really going to move the needle on this housing crisis is if every sector of government from the federal, local and and state level is prioritizing investment in affordable housing," she said in a written statement. "This public investment is critical for us to leverage private capital. The last time a state affordable housing bond came before the voters was in 2006. Prop. 1 is long overdue."
The measure, called the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018, would create a $4 billion general obligation bond to fund affordable housing and promote veteran homeownership.
According to a report by the League of California Cities, the measure would provide:
• $1.5 billion to a multifamily housing program to build, rehabilitate and preserve permanent and transitional rental homes for lower-income households.
• $1 billion to the CalVet Home Loan program, which helps eligible veterans get home loans with below-market interest rates and few or no down payment requirements.
•$300 million to a farmworker housing grant fund to build, rehabilitate and acquire housing for agriculture workers.
• $300 million to an infill incentive grant program to promote infill developments (projects in areas considered already "built out") by helping to fund infrastructure rehabilitation and improvement to enable more housing density.
• $300 million to a local housing trust fund matching grant program, to finance affordable housing with matching grants, dollar-for-dollar, for local housing trusts.
• $300 million to the CalHome Program to provide grants to public agencies and nonprofit developers that help low- and very low-income households buy or keep their homes; to provide loans for people in co-ops and other mutual housing situations to acquire property; and to offer direct loan forgiveness for projects with multiple ownership units.
• $150 million to a transit-oriented development program to give low-interest loans to develop housing and provide mortgage help to buy homes at higher-density developments near transit stations that have affordable units. Cities, counties and transit agencies would be eligible for grants for needed infrastructure improvements to allow such developments.
• $150 million to a "self-help housing fund" to help low- and moderate-income families get grants to build their own homes.
The programs would be administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development with the exception of the CalVet Home Loan Program, which would be administered by the California Department of Veterans Affairs. Supporters say the measure is expected to create 137,000 jobs and pump $23.4 billion into California's economy.
According to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, its donation of $250,000 is just the latest in a series of contributions toward affordable housing on a local, state and national level.
It also isn't the first ballot measure the organization has thrown its weight behind: In 2016, it supported local sales tax extension measures in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties that dedicated further funding toward affordable housing.
Locally, it has provided funding to nonprofits that help people with housing such as Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto and Project WeHope and through its community fund program, giving grants to the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County, Habitat for Humanity-Greater San Francisco, Rebuilding Together Peninsula and New Creation Home Ministries.
It also donated $5 million to Landed to create a down payment fund to help teachers in the Ravenswood City, Redwood City and Sequoia Union High School districts buy homes. In addition, according to the organization, it contributed funds to help the city of East Palo Alto secure new water allocations to enable affordable housing construction.
This story contains 951 words.
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