By Rose Meily
Latinos and Asians are driving population growth in Silicon Valley and in the state of California, but a study shows that by 2040 Latinos will make up the largest population group in the region (San Mateo and Santa Clara counties).
Former San Jose mayor Ron Gonzales discussed this and other information about the Latino population at the June meeting of the National Hispanic Organization of Real Estate Associates.
Gonzales is president and CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. The findings he shared are from the Silicon Valley Latino Report Card project, initiated by HFSV last year. The project focuses on five quality of life areas: education, health, financial stability, environmental sustainability and housing.
Here are the findings and overall grades according to indicators used:
Education: C, in terms of kindergarten readiness, high school completion, college readiness and educational attainment;
Health: B, in terms of medical insurance, nutrition, physical activity, teen birth, mortality, and diabetes rate;
Financial Stability: D, in terms of employment, median housing income, economic self-sufficiency, labor force participation and occupation;
Environmental Sustainability: C, in terms of proximity to air pollution and other toxic emissions, asthma rate, pro-environment behavior and attitudes; and
Housing: D, in terms of home ownership (D), housing affordability (D), overcrowding (F) and homelessness (C).
Gonzales said Latinos were hit hard by the economic meltdown and many have lost their jobs and homes. He said housing affordability is beyond the reach of 61 percent of Latinos; Latinos spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent or mortgage payments; nearly a quarter of Latinos in Silicon Valley live in overcrowded conditions--six times the rate of non-Latinos; and homeless Latinos are more likely to have children with them than homeless non-Latinos.
"Too many Latinos are struggling to find decent and affordable housing," Gonzales remarked.
The report was undertaken because of the need to engage the Latino community, said Gonzales. "One in four residents is Latino, but despite the numbers, we're not engaged to the level we represent in our population numbers. It's time to get off the bleachers and get into the Silicon Valley game," Gonzales said.
Gonzales announced Phase 2 of the project is community engagement focusing on improving the five quality of life areas, so the entire region will be strong, healthy and prosperous. He invited NHORA members to take part in Phase 2 and get engaged.
"We are the tide and such a large factor of the population. It's time to prepare our population. If we go down, so will the whole region," said Gonzales.
"The mission of NHORA is to promote Hispanic leadership within the context of community building, commerce and transparency in the advancement of sustainable homeownership," said Jim Herrera, president of the association's Santa Clara County chapter. Herrera is also director of marketing at MLSListings Inc., the multiple listing service of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors.
Also at the meeting was Gene Lentz, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. "We're all components of different communities that make up the Bay Area community," said Lentz. "The goal of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors is to promote homeownership for everyone. We support NHORA's goals and continue to strengthen our ties with all ethnic real estate associations in the Bay Area. It's a challenging market and easy for consumers to be taken advantage of in this market, so it's important for us as professionals to take a lead."
Source: Mercury News