Assessing Rent Stabilization to Safeguard Affordable Housing

In a 2017-2018 annual report, only 6 percent of San Jose residents described availability of affordable housing as “excellent” or “good.” To that end, the San Jose City Council created a Rent Stabilization Program, and, to ensure the program’s success, Housing Department officials seek to evaluate the program and its impact on residents. To support this work, FUSE Executive Fellow Lorie Fiber led department-wide efforts to develop Room to Stabilize, the City of San Jose’s first strategic plan for its Rent Stabilization Program. The strategic plan outlines desired goals, outcomes, and measures of program effectiveness to ensure customers are provided necessary services. To inform the strategic plan, Lorie gathered best practices from local and national researchers and academics. She analyzed existing rent stabilization ordinances, programs and services, and evaluation methodologies from cities in California and across the country. Further, she engaged with the City’s Office of Innovation and its newly formed Office of Racial Equity to ensure broad staff support for a data-driven approach and to ensure that equity was centered in the plan from the outset. In addition to working collaboratively with staff from across the city, she engaged with community members to incorporate their voice into the strategy, including apartment and mobile home tenants and landlords as well as affordable housing experts and advocates. Initial implementation of the strategic plan will span the next three years, from 2021 to 2024.

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