Q1 What is Measure A?
A1 Measure A is a ballot measure passed by Santa Clara County voters in November 2016 to provide $950 million to finance housing in Santa Clara County, with $800 million targeted to finance affordable rental housing for “vulnerable populations”.
Q2 Is housing for people with developmental disabilities an eligible use of Measure A funds?
A2 Yes, the Measure A ballot measure listed people with disabilities as a category of vulnerable population, including people with developmental disabilities.
Q3 Why are County Measure A funds needed for housing projects that include people with developmental disabilities?
A3 In the two years since the voters approved Measure A, state and federal investments in affordable housing have declined, while construction costs have shot up. Affordable housing projects that include units for people with developmental disabilities need additional local funding to get built, above and beyond what the cities and developers have already committed. Without access to county Measure A funds, cities and developers will be unable to create housing that is affordable by people with developmental disabilities.
Q4 What’spreventing developers from applying for Measure A funds to create inclusive housing for people with developmental disabilities?
A4 So far, the Board of Supervisors has adopted funding application guidelines only for projects that create housing for the homeless. This is a vital housing need and should remain a priority. But hundreds of millions of Measure A dollars remain uncommitted. Some of it could be used to house other vulnerable populations named in the ballot measure, such as people with developmental disabilities.
Q5 What change is needed so that Measure A funds can be used to help build affordable housing projects that include some units for people with developmental disabilities?
A5 On September 11, 2018, Supervisors Simitian and Wasserman will recommend that the Board of Supervisors change the Measure A funding guidelines to allow up to $40 million to be used for housing for people with developmental disabilities. This is 5% of the $800 million targeted for “vulnerable populations."
Q6 Who are people with developmental disabilities?
A6People with developmental disabilities have a disability severely affecting at least three of seven areas of daily living—for example, their communication, their ability to be financially self-supporting, their social skills, their physical ability, their cognitive ability, their ability to provide basic self-care, etc. The disability must have emerged before age 18 and be likely to continue for the rest of the person’s life. It must be severe enough that the person needs supportive services to live in a non-institutional setting. Examples include autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, epilepsy, intellectual disability, and similar disabilities.
Q7 How many people with developmental disabilities live in Santa Clara County?
A7 Santa Clara County has 10,324 people with developmental disabilities who receive services from San Andreas Regional Center, the organization funded by the state of California to provide services that allow them to live outside institutional settings. 4,081 are under age 18, and 6,243 are adults 18 and older.
Q8 Is the population with developmental disabilities growing?
A8 Yes, Santa Clara County’s population with developmental disabilities has grown by more than 42% in just the last ten years, with much of the growth in the adult population. Two factors are contributing to “tsunami”-like growth in the number of adults with developmental disabilities. First, a tremendous increase in the autism diagnosis began 30 years ago, and this is reflected in the doubling of the number of adults with developmental disabilities now entering their 30s. Secondly, people with developmental disabilities are living longer, and the population olderthan 52 has doubledin the past ten years. Many more adults with developmental disabilities will outlive their parents than did so in prior generations.
Q9 Where do Santa Clara County’s people with developmental disabilities live now?
A9 Most minors with developmental disabilities live in the family home. Many adults continue to live in the family home past the time when they or their family would like the adult to have another place to live. Currently, 3,811 Santa Clara County adults live in the family home, 1,696 live in licensed care facilities, and 735 live in their own apartment with independent living and supportive living services.
Q10 Why aren’t there more licensed care facilities for adults with developmental disabilities?
A10 The supply of licensed care settings for adults with developmental disabilities in Santa Clara County has declined by 3% in the past decade.Licensed facilities are closing faster than new ones are openingfor many reasons, including Santa Clara County’s red-hot real estate market and shortage of low-wage workers who can afford to live here. In addition, new state and federal policies promote people with developmental disabilities living in community housing instead of facilities.
Q11 Why do so many adults with developmental disabilities remain in their parents’ home?
A11 Sometimes adults continue to live with their aging parents by choice, but often it is because of the lack of other housing options. The number of Santa Clara County adults with developmental disabilities living at home with aging parents has almost doubled in just the past ten years.
Q12 Why is it important to create housing alternatives to the parents’ home?
A12 With aging, parentsof adults with developmental disabilities experience many changes that affect their ability to house and care for their adult child with disabilities. Many parents are of modest means even before they retire, and most see a decline in income at retirement. As parents age, they begin to have more health and social service needs of their own. Many parents want to create an alternative living arrangement for their adult child while they are still healthy and active enough to be involved in making the transition a success. Older parents are especially aware that they have an “expiration date” and that they are unlikely to outlive their adult child with developmental disabilities.
Q13 What is being done to increase housing options for adults with developmental disabilities?
A13 For more than twenty years, San Andreas Regional Center has partnered with cities and developers to include some housing for people with developmental disabilities in their housing plans. Cities like Santa Clara, San Jose, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Mountain View and Palo Alto have contributed to create inclusive housing for people with developmental disabilities. These public-private partnerships have been very successful, with more than 90% of the residents with developmental disabilities retaining their housing for more than five years. This model works but is difficult to replicate without access to Measure A funding. There are currently five pending projects in various cities in Santa Clara County that would benefit from Measure A funding.
Q14 What can I do to support Measure A funds being used to finance housing for people with developmental disabilities?
A14 Attend the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on September 11 at 11a.m. at 70 West Hedding, San Jose.
Endorse the 5% on Measure A Campaign here
Email and call the individual Supervisors urging a vote for Supervisor Simitian’s proposal: