Addressing Residential Displacement Through Tenant Engagement

August 8, 2022

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FUSE Corps

The San José residential displacement crisis is disproportionately affecting low-income Black, Asian, and Latino residents from historically marginalized neighborhoods. The City is committed to producing policies and funding priorities to help alleviate the problem in both the short-and long-term. The FUSE Executive Fellow will advocate for, develop, and implement anti-displacement and displaced tenant preferences to ensure fair and equitable affordable housing opportunities for all San José residents.

Fellowship Dates: October 24, 2022 – October 23, 2023

ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP

FUSE Corps is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.

PROJECT CONTEXT

The San José metropolitan area has one of the top five most expensive housing markets in the USA. Although approximately 44% of the city’s population is considered lower income, the market does not adequately supply affordable housing for these residents. Between 2010 and 2016, over 500,000 Bay Area residents were at high risk for displacement. These displacements are disproportionately occurring in Latino, Asian, and Black neighborhoods that also experience more overcrowding and poverty than citywide averages. For most of these historically marginalized communities, today’s wave of displacement is a continuation of a multi-generational housing crisis, intertwined with other problems created by systemic racism such as historical redlining.

While displacement is a complex market-created phenomenon, San José is taking a leading role in producing policies and funding priorities to help alleviate the problem in both the short- and long-term. In September 2020, the City Council approved the Citywide Residential Anti-Displacement Strategy. This Anti-Displacement Strategy is a multi-year plan with 10 recommendations to help the city grow more equitably and to help mitigate low-income residents’ displacement. City staff are now working to address Recommendation #2: Establish a Neighborhood Tenant Preference for Affordable Housing. The Housing Department is charged with creating two types of preferences – an Anti-Displacement Tenant Preference and a Neighborhood Tenant Preference. Both preferences will set aside a portion of new or newly available affordable apartments in buildings covered by the program to prioritize residents being displaced or who are at risk of displacement that live in low-income neighborhoods undergoing rapid displacement and/or gentrification.

San José will partner with FUSE Corps to advocate for, develop, and implement these anti-displacement tenant preferences. The FUSE Executive Fellow will pair holistic thinking and creative problem-solving with rigorous quantitative analysis to support sound policy recommendations to Departmental and City leadership as well as advance legislation to address the city’s most pressing displacement challenges. This work will ensure fair and equitable affordable housing assistance, supporting San José in reaching its goal of reducing and mitigating the effects of residential displacement on its residents.

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.

Beginning in October 2022, the FUSE Executive Fellow will orient to work already completed by conducting extensive research, reviewing State guidance and national best practices and models for anti-displacement and neighborhood preferences in other cities. This will include working with City Attorney’s Office to create legal findings on the need to support a draft City ordinance for the tenant preference programs.

Next, the Executive Fellow will conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis of the proposed programs’ parameters to support the City’s establishment of an anti-displacement tenant preferences. This will include fair housing disparate impact analyses of the proposed populations, given the specific definition of who is to be assisted, the geographic areas involved, the proposed housing production programs that will incorporate the potential preferences, and current affordable housing portfolio demographics.

The Executive Fellow will be a key author of the decision memos for approval of the programs, and will work with the City’s Residential Development Division staff and external audiences to implement the new tenant preferences program(s). After the programs’ legality are determined, the Executive Fellow will help finalize how to define, prioritize, and administer different preferences, create outreach materials, and organize and conduct community outreach and education to ensure public knowledge and support of the new program. Lastly, the Executive Fellow will work with external partners to give feedback on the new multi-jurisdiction online renter portal to obtain applicant data and screen applicants for preference eligibility.

In addition, depending on the outcome of State legislation in the 2021-22 session, the Executive Fellow may work with relevant stakeholders to help draft or gain support for new co-sponsored State legislation to support acceptance of anti-displacement tenant preferences by bond and tax credit counsels.

By October 2023, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:

  • Develop a final framework for Tenant Preferences and provide recommendations for City policies – Model quantitative disparate impact analyses using Census data and City-collected data on renters’ protected class characteristics to determine the legality of the proposed preference; research and write analyses supporting the rationales for creating such preferences per the State’s draft framework and City Attorney requirements; translate complex analytical concepts and findings for a variety of audiences to support policy and program recommendations; conduct community outreach and key stakeholder meetings on draft tenant preferences programs, incorporating stakeholder input and finalizing program details for public review
  • Engage stakeholders to support approval of local ordinance – Meet with stakeholders to get input and gain support for drafted program(s); conduct research and analyses in support of the proposed program; help to explain analysis and findings to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, as needed; co-author draft City Commission and City Council approvals to advance the proposed recommendations; and work with the Office of Intergovernmental Relations staff and other co-sponsors to achieve approval of legislation at the local and state level, as needed
  • Begin program implementation – Prepare and define step-by-step implementation guidelines on new program parameters for property owners, managers, the public, and agency staff; design and oversee educational meetings for housing stakeholders; design and conduct community outreach, public webinars, and website communications; track and advise on implementation of the new regional online renter portal to get applicant data and screen applicants for preference eligibility; and ensure that all relevant stakeholders are engaged and supported during program rollout

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Kristen Clements, Division Manager; San José Housing Department
  • Project Supervisor – Josh Ishimatsu, Senior Development Officer; San José Housing Department

QUALIFICATIONS

In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in public policy, affordable housing, and/or statistical analysis is strongly preferred for this project.

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
  • Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing, and excels in both active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.

FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.

FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives into our work at every level. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.