The Silicon Valley Voice

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100% Affordable Housing Development Opens Near Downtown Sunnyvale

It was a jovial atmosphere at Sunnyvale’s newest affordable housing development. City leaders and local developers gathered on South Mathilda Avenue, just across the street from Downtown Sunnyvale, on April 23 to celebrate the grand opening of Meridian.

It’s a joint effort between several different county and city agencies as well as a few local nonprofits to create a property that’s 100% affordable housing. Not only are units leased at a lower rate, but residents also receive services such as after-school programs, a computer lab and a teen center.

For resident and single mother Lissa Keyes, the housing is like a light at the end of a tunnel.


“Me and my babies, we have been through so much and the secret is not to look like it. But we’ve been through domestic violence; we’ve been through so many things. Homelessness, and even me almost passing away,” said Keyes. “They call me superhero mommy. And I try everything and I make everything happen. All the ways that I can.

“When you go to places, it doesn’t look like this. They don’t make it look like this. [Other places make] it look like you’re not worth it and that you’re still poor,” continued Keyes, commenting on the luxury look of the development. “When you have children with disabilities and autism and things like that, or when you are that yourself, it makes all the difference in the world.”

Consuelo Hernandez is the Director of the Office of Supportive Housing for the County of Santa Clara. She is one of the key county officials managing Measure A funds, which help build projects like Meridian.

She’s also had personal experience with Bay Area rents. Hernandez says when she first arrived in the Bay Area, rent increases outpaced her income. It was only through affordable housing that she was able to stay in the Bay.

“I ended up in this lovely rent-controlled apartment in the city of San Jose … and it was everything that changed for me here and in Santa Clara County,” said Hernandez. “Now I knew that there was a gap and how much rent I was expecting. At the same time, I was working to increase my income. When I joined the county, I took a six hundred per paycheck pay cut to go work for the county because the county was on this mission to build more housing. But I was able to do that because I had an affordable home to live in and still help my family in Los Angeles.”

Hernandez says more housing like Meridian is in the works, but funding is tough to come by.

“You know, the financing right now is probably the most difficult thing because the state has done a really great job of putting into place these streamlining bills for land use … You can get approval in like 90 days, but now our projects are stuck with the financing,” said Hernandez. “So, that’s really the hardest part is cobbling together enough resources to make a project like this happen.”

Meridian is centrally located within walking distance of Downtown Sunnyvale, Sunnyvale City Hall and the Sunnyvale Caltrain Station. There are one-, two- and three-bedroom units, designated for households with area median income (AMI) between 30% and 80%. Twenty-three of the units were set aside for 30% AMI households with family members who are living with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

More than 800 people applied to live at Meridian.

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Agrihood Eases Affordable Housing Needs In South Bay


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