Jessie Brennan

Jessie Brennan

Sue Serrone Puts the Sun in Sunnyvale: Fighting for a Thriving Community

Sue Serrone has lived in Sunnyvale, CA for a long time. Long enough to raise a family; long enough to become a vital member of the community. And as her daughters quickly grew into young women, Sunnyvale grew just as fast. The South Bay’s expanding workforce pushed housing and rent prices higher and higher, straining the working class and moving Sue to action. Before she knew it, Sue was leading Livable Sunnyvale, a coalition of individuals and organizations that work together to create a more vibrant, inclusive, and people-friendly Sunnyvale.

It all started with a volunteer-based committee commissioned by the Sunnyvale Democratic Club to address the city’s affordable housing issues. During frequent meetings around the Serrone family dining room table, the committee would discuss the issues community members were facing and brainstorm ways to address them. Learning about the hours-long commutes people were forced into because they couldn’t afford to live close to where they work, coupled with the experience of her own daughter and so many others not being able to keep up with the soaring cost of housing, fueled Sue’s determination to make a difference. “I got more passionate about it the more I found out about it. I started advocating and getting more and more people to come to the monthly meetings at my house.” Out of this grassroots organizing came a more official coalition—Livable Sunnyvale.

“Greenbelt Alliance was the first organization to step up and say they would help with the coalition, specifically in two areas: advocacy and educational outreach.”

Greenbelt Alliance saw what Livable Sunnyvale was doing and wanted to collaborate with them to achieve a more inclusive and sustainable city. Sue explains, “We decided to focus on Sunnyvale because as Sunnyvale residents, we can have more of an effect and see the results of the work we do. Greenbelt Alliance allows us to think regionally, but act locally. It’s very empowering.”

By joining forces, we can come up with solutions that address the community’s long-term health. To keep Sunnyvale livable, homes must be provided for people across the income spectrum. And it can’t stop there. Development needs to benefit all of Sunnyvale’s residents—providing options to walk or bike to shops, offering convenient transportation choices, and adding access to nature.

“Our geographic location [Sunnyvale] does not allow for us to sprawl any further. No one really wants this, especially when thinking about the consequences environmentally: the commutes, greenhouse gas destruction, and loss of farmland. We must combat climate change for future populations.”

Get involved with Livable Sunnyvale to create thriving neighborhoods for all by joining the community-led coalition whose doors are open to everyone. Learn more about what we’re doing in Sunnyvale here.


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