U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


Action Plan

The County's Consolidated Plan is supported by $4.6 million in funds from the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), HOME and the Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG).

Citizen Participation

In addition to the notification of public meetings and hearings in the newspaper, the County also notified approximately 400 groups and organizations and other interested parties of these meetings and hearings through direct mail. Public comments were solicited during each of the meetings, sign-up lists maintained, and copies of the One-Year plan made available. The County also circulated a survey regarding perceived Urban County needs to various groups and individuals known to be interested in housing issues. During the 60-day review period, citizen comments were received and considered for incorporation into the plan, resulting in some modifications to the plan.


The County of Santa Clara qualifies for CDBG, HOME, and ESG funding as an "Urban County" and has developed a program for implementation in nine of fifteen cities in the County. The cities are Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, and the unincorporated area in Santa Clara County. The County Board of Supervisors established the Housing and Community Development (HCD) Council Committee (CC) and the Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC), in order to ensure that the non-entitlement cities are involved in the operation of County's HCD program.

Based on 1990 U.S. Census figures, the population of the Urban County is 349,640 which is approximately 23% of the total County population of 1,497,577.



Santa Clara County is the home of "Silicon Valley" and has one of the nation's strongest and most diverse economies. Its proportion of manufacturing jobs compared to other areas of employment is one of the highest in the country and its unemployment rate was 6.6% in the third quarter of 1994. Its workforce is technically skilled, highly educated, and well compensated. The average household income in the County is 50% higher than the national average household income. Despite its overall optimistic economy, the Urban County does contain a number of lower income areas that have significant housing and community development needs.

Housing Needs

The Urban County has a total of 37,908 rental households. Of that number, 46% have "housing problems" as identified by 1990 U.S. Census data. There are 14,808 households paying in excess of 30% of their income for housing expense and of those households, 6,159 are paying in excess of 50% of their income for housing expenses. An evaluation of the income of these 6,159 households, indicates that 3,736 households are at the lowest end of the income scale at 0-30% of the County's median income of $51,360. For the purposes of computing HUD low income benefit, however, the median income is set at the HUD cap of $40,200, leaving approximately 12,000 "low income" Urban County residents ineligible for HUD funded direct services.

The breakdown of the remaining households indicates 1,757 households with incomes at 31% to 50% of the County median income, 420 households with incomes at 51%-80% of the median, and 246 households with incomes at 81% and over of median. The cost burden for households paying in excess of 30% of their incomeaffects those at the lowest end of the income scale as well with 4,540 of the total 14,808 with a 30% cost burden within the 0-30% of median income level.

Homeownership data has identified 1,675 households out of a total 7,862 of homeowner households paying in excess of 50% of their income for housing are in the 0-30% of the median income category. Conversely, 4,494 households of the total 7,862 homeowner households paying in excess of 50% of their annual income for housing are in 81% or higher of the median income category.

Housing Market Conditions

In the last 15 years, housing prices for single family dwellings in the County, particularly in the Urban County communities, have increased dramatically from around $108,000 in 1980 to approximately $213,000 in 1995. This represents nearly a two fold increase in less than a 15-15-year period. In certain Urban County communities, the home price increases have been even more dramatic, for example, reaching a median price of around $500,000 in the Cities of Saratoga and Los Altos.

Rents have also substantially increased in the last 10-year period when from 1980-1990. The median rent for a two-unit apartment increased by nearly 140% from a low in 1980 of $350 a month to $830 a month by 1990. According to 1990 Census data, the County's vacancy rate was 3.5%. Regardless of what data source is used, it is clear that there is a very tight rental housing market in Santa Clara County as a whole, as well as in its constituent Urban County constituent Urban County cities.

Affordable Housing Needs

Many factors influence the supply of affordable housing in Santa Clara County, such as the well documented imbalance between jobs and housing. There is an inadequate supply of housing suitable to meet the needs of many current residents as well as persons employed in Santa Clara County. In addition, what housing is available is largely unaffordable to low-income Urban County households. Both rents and housing prices have escalated substantially in Santa Clara County over the last 10 years. The income group affected most by the rising costs in the rental market have been very low and low-income households paying in excess of 50% of their disposable income for their housing costs. In the homeowner category, there are two income groups most affected by the high cost of housing. They are the households that fall within the range of 0-30% of the median income and surprisingly households that are at the higher end of the scale with incomes are at 81% of median income or higher.

The Urban County establishes as its areas of highest priority for assistance, those activities that are directed to the very low income small and large family renters and the homeless. Of somewhat lower priority were housing activities directed to the low-income elderly and groups with special needs such as the disabled.

Homeless Needs

In January 1995, a survey of homeless individuals and families in Santa Clara County was undertaken with the following results. The length of time an individual remains homeless appears to be increasing. Over 38% of respondents reported being homeless for more than one year. The number of children who were homeless comprised 27% of the total sample count. Of the total number of homeless children, 54% were under the age of 12. The number of working homeless doubled from 12% reported in 1989 to 27% in 1995. Mental illness and substance abuse are problems that continued to be a significant factor for the County's homeless population. The County's homeless continued to be relatively well educated with 52% high school graduates and 9% college graduates and 2% had post graduate training.

An estimated 1,700 homeless people are without shelter on any given night in the County and approximately 9,000 homeless people receive assistance from Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) annually. The County's "Continuum of Care" includes Prevention Services; Emergency Shelter with outreach and assessment services; Transitional Housing with support services, and Permanent Housing. All of these programs already exist in the County, but not with sufficient resources to fully address the County's homeless need.

The County must continue to build additional transitional and permanent housing with service components, such as case management, alcohol and drug, and mental health services. Employment and training agencies need to be closely linked to transitional and subsidized permanent housing for homeless people. In the next cycle of federal funding, the County's emphasis will be to develop proposals that link housing to employment, job training and support services. Outreach to homeless youth is still under funded and needs to be expanded to all areas of the County.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

Rincon Gardens, located in the City of Campbell, is the only traditional Public Housing complex in the Urban County. Rincon Gardens has 200 units and serves seniors and disabled persons. Additionally, the Urban County has 813 units of Section 8, tenant based, tenant assisted. The Santa Clara Housing Authority annually inspects its inventory and requires that the units meet minimum Housing Quality Standards (HQS) as a condition of assistance.

In order to be more effective in meeting the housing needs of low-income County residents paying more than 50% of their income for rent and utilities, the Housing Authority has place this group on its preference list. Others placed on the Authority's preference list those low income residents who have been or are about to be involuntarily displaced and County low-income residents, who live in substandard housing.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

The Urban County has identified zoning ordinances, building codes, residential development fees, inadequate public infrastructure, development review process, and rent controls as potential constraints to the development of affordable housing. Also, listed is the State's Housing Element approval process; State Proposition 13; the requirement that local voter approval be obtained to develop low-income housing (State Article 34), and the inconsistency between the State earthquake and disaster relief standards, as constraints to affordable housing.

At the Federal level, the Urban County has identified the constrains to affordable housing to include the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements, CDBG regulations limiting the involvement for-profit housing developers, the conflict between County and Federal procurement standards, and the HUD "cap" on the County's median income for HUD low-income benefit.

Fair Housing

The Urban County has certified that it will affirmatively further fair housing and has provided funding to four local fair housing organizations assist in that effort. Oalso, in keeping with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) the County has provided funding for a number of activities benefitting handicapped residents, such as retrofitting community facilities with wheelchair accessibility. In support of its certification, the County has included as one of its major housing objectives the elimination of illegal and unwarranted discrimination in the Urban County through specific strategies addressing a broad range of activities which define discriminatory housing practices.

Lead-Based Paint

During a 1992 study on lead-based paint, the Urban County screened 3,627 children and found that 233 children had exceeded the minimum acceptable level of 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. The Center for Disease Control has determined that the level of lead present in the blood should not exceed 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. Of this group of 233 children, 36 or 15% had levels that exceeded 20. A large segment of those children were Hispanic. Currently, the State provides funds for case management of individuals found to have high levels of lead in their blood.

Community Development Needs

The Urban County has determined that it needs to improve its local public facilities (especially eliminating barrier to the disabled) and increase public services as well as economic development opportunities for low income persons.


As part of the development process of the Consolidated Plan, staff of the Entitlement Cities of Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Gilroy, and the Urban County are meeting on a regular basis to discuss data resources and to coordinate requests for information to public and private Countywide agencies. Importantly, these jurisdictions have cooperated the joint funding of numerous projects of common interest and this coordinated and cooperative effort will continue.


Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

The Urban County's highest housing priority is to prove assistance for activities targeted to very low income small family and large family renters and low income large family renters. Community development objectives range from activities that ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act to improvements to the provision of additional childcare facilities for low-income families.

Housing Priorities

Within the Urban County's highest priority to prove assistance to very low income renters, and low-income large families, the County also includes assistance to programs and activities targeted to the homeless, persons with very specialized needs. Another, but lower priority, is the implementation of housing activities directed to the low-income elderly. The County's lowest priority is to assist low income existing homeowners and first time homebuyers.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

Planned Activities to help achieve the Urban County's priority to improve public facilities and improvements include the installation of new park facilities; the rehabilitation of existing facilities occupied by service programs serving the low income and special needs population; public services which primarily serve lower income clients, such as counseling for the homeless and services that address the low-income elderly and children's needs.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

The Urban County will utilize a wide array of social services agencies and their related programs to undermine the poverty that exists in Urban County neighborhoods. One such agency is Santa Clara County's state designated and locally certified community action agency. This agency focuses available resources on assisting low-income people to become self-sufficient through center and home based child care, subsidized meals for child care participants, vocational training, counseling, case management for at-risk pregnant women and minor home repairs. Other examples of County programs that have a positive impact on the elimination of poverty are the Family Self-Sufficiency Program and Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

Housing and Community Development Resources

The primary federal resources supporting the Consolidated Plan projects are the CDBG, HOME, ESG and the Shelter+ Care program. Other resources that the Housing and Community Development Program manages are the Santa Clara County Density Bonus Program which provides revenue for the County's Low and Moderate Income Housing Fund and funds from the State of California for the California Housing Rehabilitation Program for Owners. Examples of other resources that may be available to Urban County residents are the 20% setaside for low-income housing and the Mortgage Credit Certificate Program for eligible first-time homebuyers.


Description of Key Projects

For Fiscal Year 1995, the Urban County received approximately $4.6 million through three HUD programs, CDBG, HOME, and ESG. The following are examples of the projects that will be undertaken with these funds.


The planned projects are located in the 9 communities and unincorporated areas that are part of the Santa Clara Urban County.

Lead Agencies

As an Urban County consisting of the 9 cities and the County's unincorporated areas, the County of Santa Clara's Department of Housing and Community Development is the lead agency.

Housing Goals

The highlights of the Urban County's goals for the first year include increasing the supply of affordable and decent housing for approximately 927 low-income households. This will be accomplished through shared housing projects; screening for placement in decent & affordable rental units; housing rehabilitation and new construction, and code enforcement. The homeless and the elderly with special needs also receive a large share of the Urban County's Fiscal Year 1995 resources which will be used for housing activities, including the construction of homeless facilities and shared elderly housing, and for a wide array of supportive and human services.


MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.

MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.

MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.

MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.

MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects; in addition, a table depicts information about the project(s).

MAP 6 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point.

To comment on Santa Clara County's Consolidated Plan, please contact:
Bill McWood
Management Analyst
Phone: 408-441-0261
FAX: 408-441-0365

Return to California's Consolidated Plans.