Carolyn Gonot speaking at press conference
VTA Signs Deal for 100% Affordable Housing Development

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is creating the first of four housing developments with 100% “affordable” units. This effort helps address the housing needs of our community’s most vulnerable residents.

On June 23, 2023, VTA entered into a formal lease option agreement with the Affirmed Housing Group (AHG) to build 195 affordable units on a currently vacant lot next to the Berryessa Transit Center. The agreement allows AHG to lease the land from VTA on a long-term basis for the housing.

The agreement was announced at a public event at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 23, 2023, at the Berryessa Transit Center.

“This development is important not only for the critically needed affordable housing, but having it so close to multiple forms of public transportation will enable easy access to jobs, schools and other important destinations,” said Carolyn Gonot, VTA General Manager/CEO.

In 2020, VTA entered into a cost-sharing agreement with the Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing, leveraging Measure A tax funding and VTA land to build four 100% affordable housing developments.

 “This development will not only boost much-needed housing inventory, but it also promotes seamless, sustainable living and supports the health and wellness of the entire community,” said Affirmed Housing’s President for Northern California Rob Wilkins.  The Berryessa development is expected to break ground in 2025, with apartments ready for move-in by 2027.

apartment design

The VTA Board increased its Affordable Housing Policy goals to ensure that 40% of its residential Transit Oriented Development portfolio will be developed as affordable units (up from 35% previously.) In addition, the affordable set-aside in each market-rate project was increased from 20% to 25%. Transit Oriented Development refers to housing, retail or commercial development in close proximity to public transit.

“This project is an example of how impactful agency collaboration is,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor and VTA Board Vice Chair Cindy Chavez. “Through this great partnership, we were able to create a solution that provides essential housing that seamlessly connects to affordable public transportation.”

All VTA's affordable units must serve households earning 60% of Santa Clara County's Area Median Income (AMI) or below, and half of VTA’s affordable units must serve households earning 50% of AMI or below.

“This project is a perfect example of how the right partnerships can maximize our resources and boost our efforts to make Santa Clara County a more livable place for everyone,” said Consuelo Hernandez, Director of the County of Santa Clara’s Office of Supportive Housing. “Every new affordable housing development means more opportunities to improve the quality of life for the people and families who live and work here.”

VTA has 29 property sites throughout Santa Clara County eligible for development. Recent projections indicate that VTA’s current projects and future development sites will create approximately 2,600 affordable units throughout Santa Clara County. The projects have the potential to generate millions of dollars in leasing revenue for VTA to use on transit services.

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