Eviction of Elderly Couple Shows How Displacement Imperils Seniors, Disabled Tenants

Sickened by blood cancer, Dick Kavanagh should have done little more than rest and regain strength. Doctor’s orders. But a looming eviction left him no choice but to hustle.

In August, his landlord served him a three-month notice to vacate, which gave him until this week to leave the duplex where he lived for the past five decades.

As the deadline neared, the wiry 76-year-old handyman spent up to nine hours a day searching for a new home. A little more than a week ago, Kavanagh was hospitalized for a bowel blockage and has spent the time since in the intensive care unit recovering from surgery. On Monday, he regained consciousness, but was still wracked with anxiety about where he and his wife, 80-year-old Helen Kavanagh, would go.

“You know, he worried a lot about it,” says Helen, who suffers from her own ailments, including diabetes, vertigo and gout. “He was out every day from 7[am] to 4[pm] trying to find a place. I think it took a toll on him.”

Helen, seated on her couch in the couple’s south San Jose duplex, lets out a heavy sigh. She worries about their dog Rosie, a yappy little Maltese-Shi-tzu that eats only when Dick feeds her. “I don’t want her to die,” Helen says, choking back a sob. “I don’t know what to do about any of this stuff. He took care of all this.”

The Kavanaghs raised their four children in the duplex that they've called home for the past five decades. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

The Kavanaghs raised their children in a duplex they've called home for five decades. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

The Kavanaghs’ eviction is one of a myriad displacements in San Jose, where a booming tech economy has spurred among the worst affordability rates in the nation. But the city’s most vulnerable residents—undocumented immigrants, single parents, people of color—bear the brunt of Silicon Valley’s housing shortage. As do a growing number of seniors on fixed-income. With the rapid aging of the population, combined with soaring living costs and stagnant incomes, the elderly lie at the nexus of the crisis.

Because long-term elderly and disabled tenants tend to pay cheaper rent, the buildings they live in have lower purchase prices and higher potential profit margins for real estate speculators, according to the San Francisco-based Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. Deferred maintenance by the original owner makes the property cheaper as well, which also makes it more lucrative to evict older tenants from a run-down duplex—like the Kavanaghs’—compared with new tenants in a well-kept building.

Though no similar study has been done in the South Bay, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project found that in each year since 2012, roughly 70 percent of evictions from rent-controlled units in San Francisco displaced people who were elderly, disabled, or both.

Anne Sherman, whose nonagenarian father, World War II veteran Paul Mayer, was ousted from his apartment earlier this year to clear the way for a tenant with a profitable subsidy, calls the eviction of the elderly not only unconscionable, but also a health crisis.

“My dad just turned 93 last month and it was a birthday we never expected to see because since we moved him to his new apartment, his life turned into a downward spiral that he has never recovered from,” Sherman wrote to San Jose’s City Council on the eve of Tuesday’s vote to beef up tenant protections. “We don’t expect him to last much longer and I attribute 100 percent of his decline to his eviction.”

Marjaneh Hosseani, who works at Kaiser, bought the Carlton Avenue duplex a few years ago with plans to remodel the property. At the time, Hosseani told the Kavanaghs that she planned to move in her parents—ostensibly legal ground for eviction.

Even if the council expands its rent control ordinance to include duplexes, it’s unclear whether that would help people in a situation that the Kavanaghs face. If their duplex were under rent control, it would become subject to the Ellis Act, a controversial state law that grants only limited protection and still lets property owners remove longtime tenants from rent-controlled units under certain conditions. For example, seniors, who comprise a protected class under federal housing law, are allowed an additional year's notice to find new housing when being displaced under the Ellis Act.

Councilman Don Rocha, whose district encompasses the Kavanaghs’ neighborhood, says he doubts much could be done beyond ad hoc advocacy for the couple.

“This seems like one of those cases that’s just extremely unfortunate, but it happens,” he says. “Landlords can move folks out if they’re trying to move in a family member. That is allowed. But it’s true that in this market, it’s extremely precarious for folks to find housing at a cost they had in the past.”

Jacklyn Joanino, a policy aide for Rocha who recently transferred to the city’s Housing Department, says she suggested that the Kavanaghs enter into mediation with the property owner. “That’s one of the services that is available to them,” Joanino says. “And my understanding is that their health conditions may merit accommodation.”

Dick and Helen have lived at their south San Jose duplex for nearly 50 years. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Dick and Helen have lived at their south San Jose duplex for nearly 50 years. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Tenant advocates who spoke to San Jose Inside call it unethical for landlords to evict the sickly and elderly. Indeed, 100-year-old San Francisco tenant Iris Canada died this past March after a prolonged eviction battle. Fellow San Franciscan Carl Jensen died at the age of 93 after fighting for months to remain in his longtime home. The same city lost another evicted senior when 81-year-old Beatriz Allen died in April.

The AARP advises against evicting elderly tenants and urges landlords to find legal and social services to help deal with senior renters.

“Evictions or threatened evictions of elder tenants are often the result of a tenant’s deteriorating mental and/or physical capacity or from financial abuse or exploitation by others,” the nonprofit stated in a manual on the subject. “The mere threat of an eviction, especially for someone in frail mental and/or physical health, can be disastrous.”

With no comprehensive tally, it’s unclear how many seniors die during or after eviction. But advocates for the elderly say, based on the volume of cases they’ve been handling, that the number is vast and growing.

Thankfully for the Kavanaghs, an attorney from the nonprofit Senior Adults Legal Advocates named Beatriz Lopez urged the landlady to extend the move-out deadline. It also helped that Dick’s doctor, Jessica Nimjeh, wrote a letter to Hosseani about the severity of her tenant’s physical frailty.

“In light of the fact that he is currently receiving acute medical care, the issue of vacating his residence and relocating within the next few weeks would create undue physical and emotional challenges for him,” Nijmeh wrote.

Dick Kavanagh reviews his calendar, where he marked dates he witnessed construction work on the next-door unit. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Dick Kavanagh reviews his calendar, where he marked dates when he witnessed construction on the next-door unit. Some entries simply say, "BANG," to indicate an especially noisy work session. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

On Monday, Helen got a call from her husband at Kaiser, who was lucid again and eating broth and Jello. She got a second call from her landlady, Hosseani—who incidentally works at the same Blossom Hill-area Kaiser—announcing that she’d push back the eviction date to February.

Helen cried in relief.

While Dick’s illness bought him more time, it doesn’t prevent him from ultimately being displaced. Sherman suggests enacting a local policy that would curtail evictions for people over a certain age.

“These are the people on generally low fixed incomes that cannot readily or easily relocate,” she wrote to the council. “It’s horrific and heartless to expect someone over the age of 75 to have to find another home at this stage in their life where they have physical limitations and typically can’t even qualify to rent anywhere else.”

The lack of local age-based tenant protections could explain the sharp uptick in the number of homeless people over the age of 51 in San Jose, which grew by 175 percent from 2009 to 2015, according to the city’s census. Meanwhile, the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner found that the region’s elderly homeless death toll rose by 320 percent from 2011 to 2016.

“Too often, the result of elderly displacement is death,” Shaunn Cartwright, a housing activist for local grass-roots group Rise Up for Justice, tells San Jose Inside. “Are increased profits worth that?”

The Kavanaghs, who originally paid $250 a month when they moved in as 20-somethings, pay $1,500 a month for the home where they raised their four children. Because they pay in cash or money order, however, they never built credit and have a hard time finding a new landlord who would accept such a blank slate.

About a week-and-a-half before his hospitalization, Dick—wearing a blue button-down shirt advertising his business, Dick’s Sprinkler Repair, with the phrase “The Sprinkler Guy” on the back—glares in exasperation at one of the myriad applications he brought home to fill out.

“They want to know how much money you got in the bank,” he says, aghast.

“I don’t think they have a right to ask us that,” Helen replies.

Rosie barks in the background.

Cartwright nods knowingly from across the living room.

“It’s a different ballgame now,” she remarks. “But you shouldn’t even have to worry about these things at this point in your life.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Build more houses. You have a lot of places you can go that there. Maybe you should be sending this to the environmenltalist that won’t let people develop the area. Sorry as usual your blaming landlords when you can build.

    • Paving over any remaining open space, like Coyote Valley, and installing more housing isn’t some kind of magic cure. Many will be bought up by cash-rich overseas buyers who want to profit off the tech-bros moving into the south bay. I wish this knee jerk reaction of “build more!” would settle down. It’s a nuanced situation with lots of moving parts.

      • Yes it actually is a cure. I guess you missed the florida real estate bubble in 2008. Let me refresh your memory they had to many houses and the prices came down sharply. Its called supply and demand. Greedy homeowners won’t allow more building. Sounds like you are one of them ROBJ

  2. Sadly the majority wins.

    If you read the San Jose subreddit, it’s chock full of tech-bro’s that would say things like, “THEY NEED TO MOVE WHERE IT’S CHEAPER AND MAKE ROOM FOR US!” It’s sad really, none of these new citizens care about SJ’s history, and they view the indigenous population as “Taking up space”

    As San Jose continues pounding this housing drum, led on by the construction and real estate barons of the south bay, we will continue to gentrify. Thank god I own a house. By 2025 and the completion of the new google campus it should be worth enough to buy a nice place in Brookings Oregon (Or Astoria, Goonies never say die!) My daughter will be 18 and going to community college, my son will be just starting high school.

    So done with this town.

    • Oh to bad brookings and Astoria won’t allow new houses to be built just like SJ. So the houses there cost one million dollars. They don’t want to ruin the history of the town

      • Brookings just incorporated 1000 acres from the Borax Ranch, and is planning on building 1000 homes. The only house I see currently that is $1m is on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Even Astoria, the home values are way less than what we pay here, we can get a 5bd 3bath Victorian for 1/3 of what our house is worth here.

        • You miss my point. San Jose would be cheaper if they could annex all the open land there. Just drive on the 280 up to SF and all I see is land. But greedy home owners like you say you can’t develop it because if nature. So I’m saying Brookings should do the same thing to keep greedy people like you our if the area.

          • There’s a big difference between where I want to move and here. YOU don’t live there.

          • Well Robert point taken I don’t live there. Sad people like yourself are making San Jose to expensive then leaving it behind to do the same somewhere else.
            Your just out for yourself. Typical left wing GREED

          • What you call greed is my wife and I working our butts off the last 24 years to have what we have, and it’s not much. A house in the cheapest part of Cambrian, flanked by section 8 housing. 3 bedrooms, that’s enough for my wife and I to share a room, and the kids to get their own.

            We have 2 cars, slightly newer, nothing luxury. A basic no frills 2011 Chevy Truck and a 2013 Honda CRV.

            How did we manage to attain all of this averageness? We sacrificed. We watched our friends go on lavish vacations, buying new cars and things all the time. We stayed home. We watched our friends go out to nice restaurants, we made chili in a crockpot. We watched as our friends bought whatever designer outfit was being hocked by J-Lo or the Kardashians at Macy’s, while we shopped Target.

            Everything we did, falls in line with what used to be considered the American dream. We worked and sacrificed. We have friends in their mid-40’s still living at home with their parents. Like you, they cry “You’re privileged! You’re greedy! Let us move in!”

            I am so sick and tired of being criticized everyday by people like you Jeff. It’s a well known fact I’m not well liked by my own family.. Do you think unlikable people in wealthy family get handouts? We don’t.

            We’re not moving away because of the cost of living. We can afford to live out our lives here. Our house is 2/3rds payed off now. I just look at sick, entitled people like you who think you’re owed a free ride, because you failed to fly in life. It’s not my problem, it’s not my wife’s problem. It’s YOU.

            Despite being a tech, I hate working with 99% of them. I see the same faults in today’s young tech-bro’s that I saw in my own friends at 20. You didn’t plan for the future, you lived in the now. You watched all these stupid shows on Bravo about Orange County Housewives, the Kardashians, you think, “I want to live like that” and live your life maxing out your credit not even realizing that you’re own failed attempts at having a “Baller Life” is just frontin.

            No, I see no reason to stay here anymore. Not with people like you. Not with the taxes the way they are. Not with the roads having a never-ending stream of trash and graffiti. Not with our waterways being so polluted, so fished out that I can’t even eat the fish I catch, which is a nice metaphor for our lives here in San Jose.

          • Wow Robert you missed me by a long shot. I’m not in tech. I save a lot more then you. I eat ramon noodles. I don’t spend extra on chili like you do..
            If you build more houses then the prices will come down. That is great that your house is 2/3 paid off congrat. Guess what you probably couldn’t afford to buy that house now. Sorry your $2000 mortgage would be $6000. So your in your own little world. You don’t have a clue. And OR doesn’t want a idiot in its state.

          • > You don’t have a clue. And OR doesn’t want a idiot in its state.

            Oh I have a clue, which is why I’ll eventually move. Only idiots like you start a sentence with a conjunction.

          • Robert your greedy. Also you are a jerk calling someone a idiot shows how far San Jose has fallen. Jerks trying to keep roper out. Need to repeal prop 13 so you can pay your fair share

    • So what, you think “new citizens” should be blaming themselves for a housing shortage 40+ years in the making? (yes I know this is SJI, there is no housing shortage, just too many minorities…)

      • Build more houses use the space. Funny how Houston Texas and Dallas Texas can add more people. People that own in San Jose are just greedy.

      • San Jose has beared the burden of housing for the entire valley since the Dutch Hammond era. This isn’t about minorities. This is about recognizing key signs that you’re doing a terrible job of managing the city growth. I can stand on almost any freeway overpass in the morning, and what I see is one direction completely full, the other almost completely empty.

        Like the emptiness of these lanes, so are the brains of these planners. We keep hearing the same stupid regurgitated arguments time and time again from our elected officials, who are being prodded by the real estate groups, as well as the labor groups. BUILD BUILD BUILD will solve all our problems. Yes, in a way it will solve problems, but only if you take existing conditions into account and build around, or to compliment where needed.

        Sadly, if you nor anyone else can see these faults, much less hold people accountable in the way the city is being run, then we’re doomed to keep repeating these mistakes.

        The Cambrian Plaza rebuild is really going to mess with peoples commutes.

        • You need to build more roads. Greedy home owners won’t allow it and keep saying the same thing it can’t be done. Meanwhile other cities can do it. Sorry but Texas is kicking CA butt when it comes to helping people.

      • Does a city have a duty to the people that live there or to the people who want to live there? I lean strongly toward the former but I recognize that it’s kind of a philosophical question to which there is no clear answer.

        • John they have a duty to both. But greedy home owners won’t allow building to happen. They want to see new homes in Stockton. They when someone gets evicted the landlord can’t raise the rent. San Jose is falling apart.

          • Jeff,
            I agree with you. Please build on top of one another, expand and sprawl as far as humanly possible. But please, just stay in Santa Clara County. We dont need more of you in my area. Thank you, this has been a public service announcement.

          • Wow BOHICA sounds like your lucky the people before you didn’t have your attitude or you would be living in your car. Back in the day people had a acre lot with oranges on them and didn’t like breaking that up. It is happening all over cities are getting bigger the difference is some cities know how to grow and others DON’T. San Jose is having a tough time growing. Why can a city like Dallas grow and kick San Jose’s butt is really sad. The difference is greedy home owners saying don’t build. Now you have older people getting tossed out like trash Congrats Democrats. You talk one way then do another.
            The difference between a Democrat and a Republican is the Democrat and lie to you saying they are helping you while the Republican will just do it. Sorry they both aren’t the best but at least your honest BOHICA as you said stay away from my area. NO NEW PEOPLE.

  3. Very sad and disappointing. I hope SJI will explore senior housing options, spending priorities, and enforcement.

    The County Housing Authority’s Cypress Gardens senior housing complex is remarkable for the large number of elderly Asians that speak little to no English. Immigration law that requires fiscal responsibility, but it appears enforcement is lacking.

    Cypress Gardens prohibits pets, yet some of the homeless housing allows them. There’s abundant evidence that pets improve senior health and quality of life.

  4. “But the city’s most vulnerable residents—undocumented immigrants, single parents, people of color—bear the brunt of Silicon Valley’s housing shortage. As do a growing number of seniors on fixed-income.”

    What a sickening sentiment. Undocumented immigrants don’t belong here, single parenthood is inescapably challenging, and what constitutes “people of color” is so subjective as to be devoid of meaning. The only brunt worthy of concern is that which affects young professionals struggling to get into or stay in a place so they can take advantage of Silicon Valley’s unprecedented opportunities — opportunities which continue to expand due, in great part, to the efforts of courting local governments.

    These continued attacks on property owners are meant to deflect attention from the detrimental impact on housing availability caused by illegal immigration. Progressives, ever eager to foment class warfare, want us shedding tears for the unsuccessful and undeserving while scowling at those who’ve acquired their properties through hard work and risk-taking.

    SJI would have you believe it’s better to populate the neighborhoods around Google and Apple with “undocumented immigrants, single parents, people of color” than with bright and promising young engineers, programmers, and entrepreneurs. That’s because SJI would gladly turn Silicon Valley into a socialist swamp where everyone is equally hopeless and miserable.

  5. “They want to know how much money you got in the bank,” he says, aghast.

    “I don’t think they have a right to ask us that,” Helen replies.

    Helen, I agree you should have rights over your stuff, just like the property owner should have rights over her stuff.


  6. As I have said before Detroit is the ultimate American socialist success story, for Democrats. It’s votes 98% for democrats that want a free or cheap ride in housing, medicine, and food. All you have to do is wait in line.
    Detroit is socialist Shangri la, They even have a “Free Press”.

    You can get free rent and housing Buy your very own house for $1000 and up. Free land for growing your own medical marijuana, the only know medicine in the world a good socialist needs. I also understand they have gun control and gun free zones. Perfect for people who hate guns, gun owners, Police, and the NRA.

    You’d think that with all that free stuff people would be knocking down doors to get in. It’s a dream to die for!

    We should make San Jose, the richest city in America, just like Detroit, formerly the richest city in America.

    • Larry Stone has made the same prediction, and he is the County Assessor!

      Of course to be fair, he thought the San Jose A’s was a good idea…

  7. We don’t need to build the hills or open spaces, we can simply densify the cities. Unfortunately, the people who already live here generally oppose that as well.

    San Francisco doesn’t allow buildings taller than 40′ in more than 75% of the city: see this interesting colorized map in the below article: businessinsider.com/why-housing-is-so-expensive-in-san-francisco-2014-4

      • I bought my house here 26 years ago. Even then homes here were “unaffordable”. I was “cash strapped” but I “struggled” to save enough for a down payment and I “struggled” to make the mortgage payments and I never asked the government to intervene to force my fellow citizens to “struggle” more in order that I be allowed to “struggle” less. I accepted the challenge and the reality of the situation with which I was presented. I persevered and for 40 years have worked at a job that is physically demanding, dirty, and is considered to be one of those jobs that “Americans don’t want to do”, all the while competing in our “progressive” marketplace against workers here illegally and willing to work for low wages. Now I’m getting close to retirement and my home is my single most important financial asset. I’m now being self righteously preached to that I must shut up and accept government policies

        • How much did you pay for your house John? I can Zillow it but I don’t have the address. I bet it since tripled in value. Sorry houses aren’t met to do that at all. Only in the greedy bay area where they won’t build because it lowers the value. By the way unless you did no money down you really think you could come up with the down payment. You couldn’t save enough. I know I can’t. Even if I could the property tax would kill me. Get rid of prop 13

          • I DID “come up” with the down payment. And if I hadn’t been able to it would have been a clear indication that I wouldn’t have been able to afford the mortgage. It was a sensible system before the government stuck it’s nose in. But the whiners and the freeloaders got their lobbyists and bought their congressmen and got the time tested sensible rules that lenders had used to determine whether people could really pay off their home loans changed. That caused home prices to soar (and foreclosures) and initiated the pendulum swinging cycle to which we are now all subject.
            Rent control may have the ability to temporarily alleviate the situations of a limited number of tenants, and congratulations to them for being included among the lucky few, but in the big picture rent control magnifies these wild fluctuations in property values and will cause pain to others who weren’t as lucky.

      • designed deliberately to erode the value of my home in order to satisfy the demands of young would be, often illegal alien whiners who are unwilling to accept life’s challenges without the protection of your nanny state. My sympathies certainly lie with old, fixed income long time American residents who, thanks to progressive policies must compete in the supply and demand housing market with millions of working age aliens.
        Old fogies I feel your pain. All I can say is quit voting for progressives!

  8. I have been attempting dialogue with rent controllers for decades now.

    It’s like talking to the “cargo cult”.


    Conventional capitalistic market based analyses pass through their brain matter like a neutrino passing through the interstellar void.

    The “cargo cult” is certain that there are gobs of cheap wonderful apartments within walking distance of public transit and the government services agencies, it’s just that Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Russians are hiding them, and using them for storing bags of money that they didn’t report on their tax returns.

    We’ve seen this movie before. Lots of ugliness. Lots of conscienceless politicians lying to stupid people, But at the end, renters get a pie in the face, a knee to the groin, and everybody loses.

    Good news: rents are cheaper. Bad news: there’s nothing to rent.

    Sorry. Didn’t mean to give away the ending.

    • Maybe the cargo cult is a good model for the city to use to “solve” the housing crisis.

      Just have the city build a few wonderfully ideal apartments on the plaza by city hall, hire a witch doctor (or a socialist politician — same difference) to utter a few magical incantations, and then maybe other apartments will fly out of the sky and land in the city.

      Problem solved. Do I have to think of everything?

  9. When I was a kid, mid-late 50’s, grandparents often moved in with their kids and we’re a welcomed resource. Why not now?

    • That’s way to long an answer to put into a paragraph. Suffice it to say if someone falls down and can’t get up under your watch you could be charged with elder abuse. In our case both mothers refused to leave their homes, till authorities said they couldn’t be left alone any more after falling down. Trying to have in home care was costing $12000 a month.
      A nice assisted living place was about half that.

      In the end you don’t have to change your Mom’s dirty diaper several times a day and visiting for lunch is a much better experience.

  10. housing needs to be used more wisely. I work at a section 8 apartment complex for seniors and disabled in san jose. 80% of them are immigrants that moved here when they were seniors, most of them are “permanent residents” and not even full pledged citizens even though they qualify. The welfare system needs to cut back on immigration from other countries when we have our own senior citizens to worry about.

  11. ROBERT M CORTESE says:

    > You didn’t plan for the future, you lived in the now.

    From time to time, I’ve talked about “tribalist foragers” and their “ethos”.

    FWIW, this is it. Primitive humans, “before capitalism”, had no concept of time and no ability to think long term and plan for the future. They lived from one “consumption event” to the next.

    Academic pointy heads refer to this as an “immediate return” society:


    The sickness of California politics is that the overwhelming majority of voters are of the “here and now/immediate return” ethos AND politicians KNOW that they are who they have to pander to in order to get elected.

  12. Robert: You are behaving like an insecure narcissist who can’t admit when you are wrong.

    No one cares how hard you work or how many cars of what type you drive, that is completely irrelevant to the topic of supply and demand of housing.

    If companies had to go through the same government red tape to create JOBS as is required to create houses, California’s economy would be like Detroit. (Detroit of course has a different reason for its demise.)

    It is because residents are happy to have companies create jobs, (which means that they can have another company to go to if their current employer goes bankrupt) but do their best to block housing for those new employees, that we have this housing shortage.

    • > Robert: You are behaving like an insecure narcissist who can’t admit when you are wrong.

      You’re resorting to name calling when people disagree on how we came to this state of affairs? Usually when someone degrades to name calling, it’s because they feel this need to punish the person on the receiving end because they’ve got nothing else intelligent or reasonable to present in argument.

      The only thing I stated at the start was, I don’t see our city stopping this. It’s wishful thinking to think that our elected officials will suddenly grow angel wings with Halo’s, instead of running off to the bathroom in 3’s to maniacally laugh while rubbing their hands together in $100 dollar bills (This was witnessed at the rent control meeting.. Well synchronized bathroom break, no verification on maniacal laughing)

      What happened? Rent controls got voted down.


      Your elected officials are Lizard people. Deal with it. They don’t give a “F” about you, me, or these elderly folks. Their goal is to gentrify every crappy neighborhood in SJ filled with residents that generate little tax revenue, and replace them with well behaved brogrammers living in high rise hamster cages. Their other goal is to get people like you riled up for their cause without realizing it.

      John and I are the last defense against this. Average homeowners are not the enemy here. This is what you’ve been programmed to believe by the Lizard people. This is how they do it.

      They’ll get a HUD loan, requiring 20% low income occupancy for the 20 year duration of the loan. They’ll sell it to you by touting, “LOW INCOME HOUSING!” You’ll eat up up like candy. 20 years later, that requirement gets dropped as the loan is paid off. Management at this point can legally pull stuff to get the low income folks out and jack up rent. Worse, We lose 20% of our low income housing when the HUD loan is paid off in full. And the cycle starts all over again.

      The other issue here is speculative buyers. There are empty houses all over San Jose owned by foreign speculative buyers. Some are rented, but it’s a well known fact that many are just sitting emtpy. I think we even had to come up with an ordinance to make sure they kept their lawns clean.


      If you REALLY wanted to make a difference, there would no expiration of that 20% of units for low income upon HUD loan repayment. Speculative buyers with properties that have no occupancies must rent to the public.

      It’ll never happen though. Too many shills like you and Jeff astroturfing to really tell the public the truth.

      • Robert for someone saying name calling is wrong then going and doing it yourself shows what type of human being you have become. The fact is if you build more homes prices would go down. Also if you got rid of prop 13 schools would be better and older folks would be forced to sell and move elsewhere. Instead you have working families being forced out. Sorry getting 20% on a 800,000 house is a pipe dream for most people. Well they made weed legal so I guess it will make people fall into line. Also buyers from China wouldn’t be buying the homes. San Jose will just be like San Francisco a real crappy place to live….

    • JB- I do not disagree. Open space is socialism for the rich, as is weak immigration enforcement among other progressive tricks. If the left really cared about the poor, they would make it easy to build, like in Houston, ~$100/sqft, or Tokyo, studio apartments for around $100K, and easy to get a job. Even SJI and Mercury writers said for every new condo, it creates 3 service jobs, they argue that we should not build the condo or triple the inclusionary fees because supply increases demand (supply side econ). The left using trickle down to block development, can it get more absurd? I dont know which is worse, their callousness in blowing off the creation of 3 jobs, which may even stretch the labor supply so the poor would have more leverage, or the fact that they are using Reagan as an economic beacon.

      Price controls on labor and housing are just the latest trick that will end up hurting the poor. Either this is willfull ignorance or deliberate sadism, I can not say for sure. In a free society, we don’t get to write the ending, we can only hope to calibrate the incentives correctly.

      • > The left using trickle down to block development, can it get more absurd?

        I always get a big hypocrisy laugh at the expense of progressives when they wave their progressive bible and deplore “trickle down economics”.


        Ummmm. What if we just called it “Keynesian pump priming”?

        Same. Same.

        Progressivism 101: Trickle down – bad. Pump priming – good.

  13. John: What you don’t seem to understand is that you might not have needed to struggle so much to afford your house if the government hadn’t put so many restrictions on people’s private property which disallows people from building (for example multiple houses) on their own property.

    You likely overpaid for your home, compared to what you would have had to pay in a balanced housing market. And now, if your home has appreciated dramatically in value, it is NOT because of anything that you did that increased your home’s value, it is because of luck that you are in THIS housing market.

    You could have worked just as hard at the same job in Detroit, bought a home there for much cheaper, and then over time seen your home value go down.

    Homes are like any other commodity, they follow the laws of supply and demand…..and when demand is high, and supply is constrained by government policies, prices go up.

    • Of course I understand economic laws. If it is our intention that homes be cheaper then we need to either increase the supply (your preference) or reduce demand (my preference). I am not happy with the prospect of San Jose feeling as though it’s our responsibility to accommodate every person in the world who wants to live here. Unless we reign in immigration then it doesn’t matter how much housing supply we build it’ll never keep up with demand and we will have turned our city into a squalid slum for nothing.

      • John: How do you propose that we should reduce demand? Make it illegal for companies to hire new workers? The increased demand for housing is here because our economy is doing well. Between 2010 and 2014, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties added 183,000 jobs, but only 16,000 new housing units.

        People “immigrate” to California from other states in the nation because jobs are here, not in the rust belt. Also, tech companies are here, and they need workers who are both intelligent and educated, and there are not enough Californians sufficiently smart and educated to do those jobs, which is why tech companies import so many people, not just from all over the nation, but all over the world.

        • Stop being a sanctuary city would be a good first step.
          And stop kowtowing to tech companies. Limit the number of H1B visas.
          San Jose is not simply an economic engine that must at all costs continue to be fueled. It’s my home and part of a city government’s job is to make the city a nice place to live.
          I know there’s no political will to do the things I’ve suggested so the next best approach is to limit our population growth through zoning decisions. But our developer owned “representatives” won’t even do that. Everywhere I look I see new apartment complexes, new condos, new townhouses. You’ve been getting exactly what you want JB. But still houses are “unaffordable” in your eyes. So maybe consider that my analysis of the situation is accurate. Supply can’t keep up with demand.

          • Funny thing is NYC can handle it better so much then the San Jose. Maybe people need to stop driving cars etc.

  14. The high cost of housing due to the housing shortage is effectively a “WEALTH TRANSFER TAX” on new entrants to the housing market, which “PAYS” to current owners of homes.(when they sell their home) Any appreciation of housing value which exceeds inflation is attributable to this “TAX.” (New entrants to the housing market can be children who grew up here, as well as newcomers to the state.)

    I believe that this is what Jeff is referring to when he calls current owners WHO OPPOSE DEVELOPMENT “greedy,” because the combination of homeowners opposing new development, and job creation (attributable to a VERY SMALL subset of homeowners) is what is driving this housing shortage.

    Lastly, if people want to keep the hills and open-spaces free of development, than the trade-off associated with that choice is increasing densification of cities. Unfortunately, as a example, the citizens of San Francisco have opposed increasing densification because they didn’t want their city to become “Manhattanized.” Their choices are what has given them some of the highest “WEALTH TRANSFER TAXES” on housing in the nation.

  15. > The difference between a Democrat and a Republican is the Democrat and lie to you saying they are helping you while the Republican will just do it.

    Republicans feel guilty and ashamed when they take a bribe.

    Democrats fell jazzed and excited when they take a bribe because it’s a bribe Republicans didn’t get.

  16. A lot of talk here by people who are talking based on their assumptions. Housing pricing are leaping forward because overseas investors, the global 1% is buying property here as a hedge investment in case their home country turns against them and/or to make a profit. The business of owning residential real estate here is so much easier than actually investing or starting a business that hires employees. Desirable cities like Vancouver, Sydney, Singapore have instituted a Foreign Buyers Tax on purchasers of residential property by overseas investors.
    And cities like Cupertino and Santa Clara, etc. need to building housing to accommodate the commercial construction they have permitted in their jurisdictions AND also allow residential construction to accommodate workers at those new worksites instead of pushing residential construction off on San Jose, and Gilroy, etc. Very selfish of voters in those cities (include Saratoga, Los Gatos, etc.) to oppose housing construction in their towns.

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