San Jose Councilperson Attempts End-Around to Bring in Controversial "Crime Free Housing Plan"

Today at the City's Rules Committee there will be a vote for the controversial Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program - a program that would facilitate the evictions of entire families for an arrest, not even a conviction of a crime through a new partnership between landlords and SJPD. While the housing department will be recommending that the program not be adopted after a community input process where the majority of the public said no to this program, they are also recommending that the biggest proponents of the program initiate a pilot program in Khamis's District 10.

With all the community input from crime free multi-housing program outreach meetings in, an overwhelming number of residents including landlords have made it clear: Crime free multi-housing program does not fit San Jose. The program would create a relationship between the police department and the owners of multi-family apartment complexes that would facilitate the eviction of everyone in the unit if anyone living in the household or guests are arrested – without a conviction. But as the issue heads to the city's Rule Committee today, the District 10 Councilperson Johnny Khamis is attempting an end around to the community input process.

Despite the overwhelming city-wide opposition to the plan, and the housing department's recommendation to not move forward with the initiative, Khamis is proposing a pilot program for his district called the Safe Communities Multi-Family Housing Program. While the specifics of the program are vague, it is clear that Mr. Khamis is intent on leveraging an already beleaguered police department to help landlords evict families from their homes.   

The reality is, without a version of the Crime Free Housing Plan, San Jose tenants are already at the mercy of landlords. We have rent control on paper, but without proper enforcement nor eviction protections, landlords can evict tenants without giving a reason. Adding additional weight to a significantly unbalanced landlord/tenant dynamic will only cause further suffering for families in the form of disparate impact discrimination, domestic violence sufferers being afraid to call police for help and an uptick in displacement.

The police department in its research of nuisance abatement programs in other cities failed to study how many of these cities have had to retool or abandon such ordinances. This was the case in Surprise, Arizona. A city which repealed their six year old nuisance abatement ordinance, after being sued by a domestic violence survivor.

If Mayor Sam Liccardo is serious about our city being one San Jose, then “We Are San Jose” can not just be a slogan. It must be an all encompassing blanket, one that covers all its residents, especially those in the lower socioeconomic spectrum. It can not be a shield for those with the wherewithal to buy political access.

The Safe Communities Multi-Family Housing Program and any incarnation thereof should be abandoned. New and innovative ways should be explored to make all of the communities in the “heart of silicon valley” healthier, stronger and thereby safer.

Related Media:
Santa Clara County Public Defender Voices Strong Opposition to the "Crime Free Multi-Housing Initiative" 

The Crime Free Multi-Housing Program is Wrong Fro San Jose

San Jose's Process for Controversial "Crime Free Multi-Housing Program" Gives Community the Runaround

About Anthony King

Anthony King is a homeless advocate, formerly homeless himself and now actively working to end homelessness in San Jose. He is also part of Silicon Valley Renter’s Rights Coalition working to create rent stabilization in San Jose.

This article is part of the categories: Business  / Community  / Economy  / Law & Justice  / Politics  / San Jose//South Bay 
This article is part of the tags: Crime Free  / Crime Free Multi-Housing Program  / Criminalization  / Displacement  / Domestic Violence  / Eviction  / Homelessness  / Public Saftety  / Santa Clara CountyPublic Defender 


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