Approaching my first-year anniversary with Housing Trust Silicon Valley, I reflect on the challenges and opportunities of joining the organization at such an extraordinary time. My transition to this role has been supported by multiple stakeholders, our committed and growing team, a dedicated board of directors, and diverse partners – all sharing a common vision of how together we can ensure residents can access stable and affordable housing to serve as a foundation for their lives.
In the greater Bay Area, a region with a desperate need for affordable homes, a nearly unfathomable wealth gap, and a critical need to create racial equity and justice in housing, we create partnerships that grow beyond their original scope and purpose to do even more.
Our TECH Fund campaign – an investment vehicle to enable philanthropic organizations and large employers to be part of the affordable housing solution created in 2017 – has helped finance thousands of homes and inspires even more investment, like that of our Apple and Google affordable housing funds.
When the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber wanted to create a fund to help rebuild Sonoma County after the devastating Tubbs Fire, we created the Sonoma County Housing Fund – an initiative which was modeled on our earlier and ongoing collaboration with the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership that helps us lend in the Monterey Bay region.
With creating and preserving affordable housing, there is no year like the one which preceded it and there are constant reminders about the cumulative impact of the work we do. My own life was positively impacted by having access to affordable housing – enabling my single mother to afford safe and stable housing for our family as she worked to support us. The chain reaction of opportunity that followed me through adulthood is traced back to having a safe, stable and affordable home to grow up in – and that’s an impact we can duplicate tens of thousands of times over here in the greater Bay Area.
It’s a goal worth pursuing every day – and we see the milestones often. We see it when Housing Trust’s multifamily team underwrites new loans the same day residents and supporters celebrate the grand opening of new affordable housing. When a longtime renter attends an Empower Homebuyers SCC webinar the same moment a first-time buyer gets the key to their own home. And when one of our unsheltered neighbors here in the Bay Area moves into an apartment thanks to not just our work, but the work of counties, cities, voters and private organizations that are stepping up right along with us to pursue housing justice. None of us can do this alone, and I’m privileged to do this work alongside all of you.
Noni Ramos, Chief Executive Officer, Housing Trust Silicon Valley
invested in affordable housing
housing opportunities created
leveraged by our partners
We believe our communities are more diverse, sustainable, and vibrant when everyone has a safe, stable and affordable place to live. To make this possible, our programs support a range of regional affordable housing needs.
"I felt safe - like no one was going to come and take anything from me. Nobody was going to come pick me up, harass me, or nothing like that. I feel very secure here."
—Sandy, who broke a years-long period of being homeless in San Jose, describing what it was like to move into Villas on the Park
Three years ago, Housing Trust started our diversity, equity and inclusion group and it continues to be a work in progress. With the support of our Board of Directors and executive leadership, we’ve taken steps in our commitment toward becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization – and know there is still much more to be done.
"We definitely feel blessed to have a home of our own. My son has told me many times, 'Thank you, Mama, for buying this house, it is so big and I have more room to play in.'"
—Marcela, LCSW, after purchasing a home in Santa Clara County with the Empower Homebuyers SCC program
Great minds tackle big challenges in the greater Bay Area, and if we can solve affordable housing here, we can lead the way for solving the housing crisis anywhere. By maximizing investments in safe, stable and affordable housing, we can collectively sustain our workforce, which strengthens communities.
"Thanks to the investments by Google and Housing Trust, McEvoy Apartments will be our best example of high-density, transit-oriented development yet, located right in the heart of Silicon Valley to allow 365 households economic opportunity in a thriving, service enriched community."
—Geoffrey Morgan, President and CEO of First Community Housing
Over the summer, we announced a $1 million construction loan made to Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay. In late August the organization scheduled a socially distanced groundbreaking in the Live Oak neighborhood of Santa Cruz County. Habitat CEO Satish Rishi, Representative Jimmy Panetta, Susan True from the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County and others were there to commemorate the eleven new affordable homes that will be built because of this partnership.
"Our new house has twice the space than our old apartment, which we really appreciate now, especially during quarantine times when most of our family's time is spent at home. I think we bought at the perfect time. This impacts the wealth of our family now, but also our future generations."
Carlos and Katie, who became first-time homebuyers in Santa Clara County with Empower Homebuyers SCC, updating us during the COVID pandemic