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Where is affordable housing located in San Jose?

San Jose squeezes more than half of its affordable housing in areas with some of the lowest household incomes in the city.

About 57% of all below market rate rentals in the city, including some in the development pipeline, are in downtown, central and east San Jose, a San José Spotlight analysis of city data shows. Six districts contribute less than 10% to the city’s affordable housing inventory. The data, published on the city’s open data portal, was last updated October 2020.

The analysis shows a staggering disparity in affordable housing distribution in San Jose—an ongoing crisis fueled by the lack of effective policies implemented over the past several decades, policymakers and advocates say. The San Jose metro area is the second most expensive rental market in the country....

The city is well aware of this issue, said Jeff Scott, spokesperson for the San Jose Housing Department. The City Council recently updated its housing dispersion policy to bring affordable housing into areas with low levels of poverty and crime, including affluent areas that contain a small percentage of affordable homes.

Disparities in distribution

Even in districts where affordable housing is being built, low-income units are over-concentrated in neighborhoods with lower median income, San José Spotlight's analysis shows.

For example, in the Spartan Keyes neighborhood in District 3, the median household income is approximately $53,050, about 45% of the area's average median income. Its census tract has four affordable housing complexes, totaling 490 units.

Disparities are even more evident in District 6, where 3,320 affordable housing units are almost exclusively located in low-income areas. Councilmember Dev Davis was not immediately available for comment.

The neighborhood nested between Highway 87 and Alameda Expressway, for example, has six below market rate housing projects, or 589 units, the analysis shows. Its median household income is about $47,636, according to census data.

Five other projects of 474 units are crammed in areas in and around the Buena Vista neighborhood, with median incomes between $75,000 and $83,500. That's just above 60% of the area median income for a household of two.

The neighboring census tract that includes Willow Glen, with a median income of about $128,889, has no affordable housing....


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