San Jose Receives IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant

Photo Credit: Pixabay

IBM sending experts here to help San Jose develop new technological tools in support of the City’s affordable housing and homelessness initiatives

San Jose, Calif. – The City of San Jose has announced that it is one of five cities across the globe who have been awarded an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The Smarter Cities grant will provide consulting services in support of some of the City’s affordable housing initiatives. This could include two technology projects currently being developed by the City of San Jose’s Housing Department:

1.    Development of aRental Unit Registry” in support of the City’s rent stabilization program.

The City currently lacks a robust tool for tracking rent and occupancy information for apartments that fall under the City’s rent stabilization ordinance. The goal of this project is to create a new Rental Unit Registry that will allow the City to better collect data on apartments, track changes in when tenants move and their new rents, and monitor compliance with the City’s rent stabilization provisions. The Rental Registry would also include predictive analytic tools to help predict turn over, identify “bad actors”, and automate notification processes.

2.    Development of a new web application that seamlessly connects individuals with affordable apartments for which they qualify.

The current housing match process can be quite lengthy due to many different government agencies, non-profits and housing programs involved. However, through this project, the City will aim to develop a single, scalable platform that provides an automated process for matching individuals with any of the affordable housing options for which they meet the relevant eligibility criteria – with the goal of significantly reducing the time it takes to place individuals into a home.

“These projects represent the latest effort to embrace technology and new digital tools to improve city services and tackle many of the critical issues facing our community,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo, who launched San Jose’s Smart City Vision last year. “I’d like to thank IBM for their commitment to helping us implement these solutions as part of our broader strategy to address our region’s growing affordable housing crisis.”

“With the cost of living continuing to soar and an insufficient supply of housing, residents of Silicon Valley desperately need the City to provide tools to navigate a complex and often challenging rental market,” said Jacky Morales-Fernand, Housing Director for the City of San Jose. “Support from the IBM Smart City Challenge will help to build a technology infrastructure that matches people with the housing they need, while also ensuring that the existing rental stock is monitored and well maintained.”

IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge is a pro bono initiative that helps cities with critical issues ranging from jobs creation, transportation, and public safety, to healthcare, revenue, social services, and public works. Later this fall, IBM will be sending a team of five or six experts to San Jose for three weeks to work closely with city staff to help develop the new rental registry and homeless housing web application.

The City of San Jose was selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 100 cities around the world that applied for a grant of consulting services from IBM. By the end of 2017, IBM will have made such Smarter Cities Challenge grants to more than 135 cities worldwide chosen from more than 700 applicants, with nearly 800 of IBM top experts delivering pro bono services valued at more than USD $66 million. Each consulting engagement has a commercial value of USD $500,000.

 Jennifer Crozier, IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & President of the IBM Foundation, congratulated the winners, saying, “With the help of our experts, cities around the world are now able to better use data and transform the way they engage citizens, deliver services, and make their cities more livable. We thank all those who have applied and feel fortunate to be in the position of providing IBM’s best talent, innovation, and resources to help so many cities improve. In the coming months, we’re eager to work with this new group of leaders to make their cities smarter.”

 You can read IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge announcement by visiting: Additional information about the program and its many successes can be found at