Los Gatos Weekly Times and Saratoga News

Like many residents of Los Gatos and Saratoga, I don’t think much about the issue of affordable housing in Santa Clara County. Our affordable housing problems are having to pay more than $2 million for a 1600 square foot cottage.

However, as the weather gets colder, it’s difficult to ignore the problem of homeless families living in cars, not to mention the many people living outside or under overpasses. Our county is fourth in the nation for the number of unhoused people (6500) and the number of unsheltered people living outdoors (4500).

 

Next Tuesday, I’m voting for Measure A, the $950 million affordable housing bond. It will help build more than 5500 housing units, primarily for homeless individuals and families, veterans, disabled people and low-income seniors.

When I first heard about Measure A, I thought, “That’s just a drop in the bucket.” Then the parable of the person throwing starfish back into the ocean came to mind. A passerby asked, “Do you really think you’re making a difference?” The starfish thrower said, “It makes a difference to this one.”

 

We can make a difference for thousands of people—our less well-off neighbors—and what’s so great about this measure is that provides supportive housing to many. That means those residents, many with substance abuse or mental health issues, will get the counseling and support they need to be healthier and become more productive citizens. I’m all in favor of that, because it breaks the cycle; it helps people get better while they live in safe surroundings.

I know this will mean a small increase in my property taxes. I can afford it. We all can afford it.

The real question is, can we afford not to create more affordable housing, not just for homeless people, but for the many low-income workers who have to commute for hours to get to their jobs, adding to pollution and crowded roadways? It’s not the complete answer, but it’s a start. 

 

Measure A does all that, and I’m proud to ask my neighbors to support it.

Teri Hope, Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company