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SAN JOSE, CA-South Bay affordable housing advocates gathered on the steps of San Jose City Hall this week in support of federal affordable housing legislation.

The proposed National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act would allocate up to $27 billion for housing and create nearly 1.5 million new and rehabilitated housing units for low- and extremely low-income families across the country by 2010.

The groups that set up shop at city hall included Community Homeless Alliance Ministry, a homeless shelter at First Christian Church in San Jose. According to First Christian Church’s Pastor Scott Wagers, the group heard about the legislation during another march last week.

Wagers says the legislation has the support of 190 members of Congress. “This bill wouldn’t completely solve the problem, but it would certainly put a dent in it,” he says.

Saul Wachter of the Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County says the money would be great, but the real work needs to be done locally. “The city needs to come up with a comprehensive housing plan based on the actual needs of the community, what the available resources are and what additional resources are needed to accomplish that plan,” he says. “San Jose needs to do for housing what it did to get BART here; they didn’t have the (money), they made a plan to get the money and they got it.”

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