San Jose Councilman Raul Peralez and his family were priced out of their home in late April and forced to relocate after living in their neighborhood for nearly 10 years.
Peralez represents District 3, encompassing downtown and central San Jose. He and other council members have grappled politically with a mounting housing and homelessness crisis in the Silicon Valley, but Peralez has often shared personal struggles with soaring costs and income inequality in the city where he was raised.
Earlier this year he was given a 90-day notice to vacate his three-bedroom, single-family home in the Rosemary Garden neighborhood of San Jose. He was paying $2,500 in rent at the time, and said his landlord offered his family the option of buying the house, but he couldn’t afford the $1.3 million price tag.
His family was forced to move to a smaller, two-bedroom townhouse for $3,000 after deciding between roughly three places that could accommodate their dogs, as well as Peralez’s requirement of living in District 3.
“In 17 years of being a renter this was the first time I’ve had my tenancy terminated and it was a humbling experience, especially having to house hunt in the middle of this unprecedented housing crisis,” he said in a statement, adding that he harbors “zero resentment” for his previous landlord.
Peralez and the rest of the City Council faced enormous backlash in November after unanimously voting to approve a $110 million land sale to Google.
Community advocates argued that housing prices around the area would skyrocket and amplify the consequences of gentrification, but Peralez said April 29 that his vote is not at odds with his commitment to affordable housing.
“I will now bring along this personal experience as I continue to champion policies that encourage affordable housing and strengthen rent protections,” he said, emphasizing his support of commercial linkage fees, displacement protections and stronger rent protections.
He said that in the coming weeks he also will vote to maintain local tenant protections in the Ellis Act, which provides legal freedoms for landlords.
“Approving new development and job growth, like Google, doesn’t conflict with my priorities, and it actually is imperative that we increase job opportunities in our bedroom community, jobs-poor city,” he added.
During a contentious vote to align mayoral elections with presidential elections in April, Peralez was one of five all-Latino council members who faced opposition from Mayor Sam Liccardo and the remaining members who were against the change.
He said during the discussion that his family had never been able to attain the financial security of owning a home, and either had he.
Peralez attended San Jose State University, and was notably the first active police officer to be elected as a public official in San Jose.
He makes roughly $100,000 annually, but reiterated Monday that he is not in a position to own property in San Jose.
“We would absolutely love to own a home, but we are acutely aware of how fortunate we still are in being able to afford the lovely townhome we’re in now,” he said in a statement.
“In our current situation, considering our income and my requirement to live in District 3 (downtown area), we could not afford to purchase a home.”