February 13, 2017

Greetings from the Housing Division!
HOUSING NEWS
Homebuyer Program News
BMR Resale Home Available Now. No Waiting List, No Lottery.
A single-story BMR condominium flat built in 2016 and located within a five-minute walk to Downtown Sunnyvale and the Caltrain station. This unit is located on the second floor and is served by an elevator. This listing is available on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible BMR buyers.

538 S Mathilda Avenue
BMR Resale Price: $390,000
3 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
1,134 sq. ft.
underground parking
HOA: $431/month

BMR homes are available, for a limited time only, through the City of Sunnyvale Below Market Rate Home Ownership Program. Moderate- and lower-income, first-time homebuyers who currently live or work in Sunnyvale receive priority to buy these homes.  

To learn more about the City of Sunnyvale's Below Market Rate and First-time Home Buyer programs and how to apply, visit our web page at BMR.inSunnyvale.com or call (408) 730-7250. City staff is available weekdays 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. to answer questions and accept applications.
New BMR Homes Coming Soon
Housing staff expects several new 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom BMR homes to be listed for sale between March and June, 2017 at Sandalwood by DR Horton and Found8tion by Taylor Morrison.

Browse our interactive map to view all BMR homes that are currently under construction, or will be under construction soon.
UPCOMING EVENTS
Mobile Home Owners: Know your Rights
Tuesday, February 14
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Senior Center
550 E. Remington Drive

The Sunnyvale Senior Center, in collaboration with Project Sentinel, will be hosting a lecture on the rights and responsibilities of mobile home residents in California. Project Sentinel is a local nonprofit agency whose mission is "to develop and promote fairness and equality of housing for all persons and to advocate peaceful resolution of disputes for community welfare and harmony."

Come learn the importance of understanding how to handle a variety of issues, including space leases, notices and rent increases. Hear from experienced housing counselors and receive materials to take with you! Guest Speakers: Sandra DeLateur, Director Dispute Resolution Programs, and Martin Eichner, Independent Facilitator and Consultant to Project Sentinel. For more information or to register, call 408-730-7360.
New Kartma Coffee Cart at the Sunnyvale Library Plaza
Downtown Streets Team (DST) and the City of Sunnyvale have collaborated to bring DST's "Kartma Street Café" to the Sunnyvale Library Plaza. Kartma is a social enterprise created by Downtown Streets Team.  

Kartma trains and employs individuals transitioning out of homelessness while building marketable skills and serving the best coffee. Kartma employees earn living wages. DST is a non-profit agency based in Silicon Valley that has been providing workforce development and supportive services to homeless and at-risk clients in Sunnyvale for several years in partnership with Sunnyvale Community Services, a local non-profit agency.  That program, known as "WorkFirst Sunnyvale", has been funded in part by federal grant funds provided by the City of Sunnyvale.

DST holds team meetings for anyone interested in DST programs every Tuesday at noon at the Trinity Church, located at 477 N. Mathilda Avenue in Sunnyvale. 

For more information please see DST's website or contact Maegan Lillis, DST staff, at  maegan@kartma.com.
Kartma will begin service in Sunnyvale with a soft opening on: 

FEBRUARY 14
Sunnyvale Public Library
665 West Olive Avenue

HOURS
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
The menu includes coffee, tea, various specialty beverages, and light snacks.  During the soft opening period, menu may be limited. 
Sunnyvale Housing Division First-time Home Buyer Presentation
  March 9, 2017 at 6 p.m.
City Hall Council Chambers
456 W. Olive Avenue

Open to the general public.

The prospect of buying one's first home is exciting, but it can also be an intimidating process. The Housing Division offers monthly presentations to help prospective first-time buyers learn more about local home buyer programs.

Come to learn about the below-market-rate homes and down payment assistance loans available to lower- and moderate-income first-time home buyers who live or work in Sunnyvale. During the presentation, you will also learn about programs offered by other local agencies, such as the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley, other public agencies, and private lenders.

Real estate professionals and lenders are also encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact the Housing Division at (408) 730-7250, TDD (408) 730-7501, or by e-mail at housing@sunnyvale.ca.gov
UPCOMING MEETINGS
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City Council Meetings
February 17, 21 and 28
 
Special Meeting on 2/17:  Study/Budget Issues Workshop at 8:30 a.m. 
City Hall, Council Chambers at 456 W. Olive Avenue

Special Meeting Only on 2/21:  Study Session at 6 p.m.
City Hall, West Conference Room, 456 W. Olive Avenue

Special Meeting on 2/28: Closed Session at 4 p.m.
Study Session at 5 p.m.
Study Session at 6 p.m.
Regular Meeting at 7 p.m.

City Hall, Council Chambers and West Conference Room 456 W. Olive Avenue

Meeting materials are available by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the meeting.
Housing and Human Services Commission Meeting
February 22 at 7 p.m.
City Hall, West Conference Room
456 W. Olive Avenuie

Meeting materials  are available by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the meeting
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AFFORDABLE HOUSING GRAPEVINE
Is Your Home in Need of Repairs?

If it is, the Housing Division Home Improvement programs might be the answer. The Housing Division offers grants and low interest loans to eligible, low-income home owners for repairs that include deferred maintenance, emergency repairs, paint, accessibility and energy retrofit. 

Visit our Housing Assistance for Home Owners page, or contact our Sr. Rehabilitation Specialist Richard Gutierrez at (408) 730-7459, for more information.
FAIR HOUSING
IS ATHEISM PROTECTED UNDER THE RELIGION FAIR HOUSING RULES?
By Project Sentinel

QUESTION:
I own four single family homes that I rent out.  I am a strong Christian, and would like to rent to others who have similar faith-based values.  Also, in my experience, renting to tenants who have a strong sense of faith has resulted in the best tenancy situations I have had.  These tenants, whether Christian, or Jewish, or Muslim, have kept their homes very clean, been pleasant to deal with, and always paid their rent on time, in full.  I believe this is because these tenants have some sort of God in their lives, even if it isn’t the same God I know.  Recently, though, someone applied to rent one of my houses.  In the course of meeting him to consider him as a tenant, I discovered he was an atheist.  I have mixed feelings about renting to someone who doesn’t believe in any God at all.  My wife told me I should be careful because she thinks atheists are protected under the anti-discrimination laws.  Is she correct?

ANSWER:
The short answer to your question is yes, atheists are protected against discrimination under the fair housing laws. Atheists are protected under the same protected category – religion –  that protect people of faith.  The Fair Housing Laws prohibit discrimination against a person or group of people based on their religious beliefs, even if that person’s religious belief is that there is no God/ higher being at all. Your responsibility as a housing provider is to screen tenants based on their objective qualifications as tenants.   

The second issue that your question raises is due to your general perception that people of faith are better tenants than non-religious people.  Despite your prior experiences, this generalization is no guarantee that a particular applicant will be a good tenant and it might not be based on an accurate and complete picture. We suggest you consider applicants as individuals, and assess their qualifications based on solid business criteria such as  prior rental and credit history

Finally, while you do not indicate how the topic of religion came up in your conversation with this prospective tenant, we suggest you refrain from discussing personal matters unrelated to a person’s qualifications to be a tenant, like religion.  You could find yourself facing a claim of religious discrimination in housing because you discussed this subject - something no landlord wants to experience.

For more information, contact Project Sentinel at 1-888-324-7468, info@housing.org , visit www.housing.org or contact your attorney or local Housing agency.
TIP OF THE MONTH
What is HMDA?
Want to learn more about the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA)?
HOUSING DIVISION HIGHLIGHTS

HOUSING DIVISION SERVICES

The Housing Division of the Community Development Department offers various affordable housing programs, such as the Below Market Rate (BMR) Rental and Home Ownership Programs, and the First-time Home Buyer Downpayment Assistance Loan Program.

The Division publishes a list of apartment complexes with affordable units for rent, and a current list of BMR homes available for sale.

The Home Improvement Program offers several options for low-income home owners and renters to finance deferred maintenance, accessibility, energy-efficiency, and/or emergency home repairs through low-interest loans and/or grants.

As part of our goal to affirmatively further fair housing, the Division provides information on foreclosure prevention, tenancy rights, financial education, and other fair housing related topics. 

Housing staff also provide information and referrals for a variety of housing and human services needs, such as legal aid, landlord/tenant mediation, services for homeless residents, seniors, people with special needs, and at-risk youth, and rental assistance.

For more specific information about the programs and services offered by the Housing Division visit our Housing and Community Assistance web page or call us directly at (408) 730-7250, TDD (408) 730-7501 during regular business hours. Se habla español.

QUICK LINKS
We welcome your feedback on this newsletter at housing@sunnyvale.ca.gov.
Sincerely,
Housing Division
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Equal Housing Opportunity