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How Santa Clara County’s Housing Market is Failing to Meet the Needs of Low-Income Families

Santa Clara County has the fifth largest shortfall of homes affordable to low-income families in California. Many of those families live in unhealthy or unsafe conditions, crowd multiple people into each room, and still pay more than 50 percent of their income in rent. The following report describes the magnitude of the shortfall, highlights those who are affected by cuts to housing programs, and recommends local policy solutions to help mitigate the impact of Santa Clara County’s affordable housing crisis.

Rent is considered affordable when it consumes no more than 30 percent of household income. In Santa Clara County there are homes with affordable rents for fewer than three out of ten extremely low-income (ELI) renter households—those earning 30 percent or less of the metro area’s median income. There are 53,020 ELI households in the county. Very low-income (VLI) households, those who earn up to half of their area’s median income, fair only slightly better: there are homes with affordable rents for fewer than four out of every ten VLI households in the county.