'Affordable housing crisis' on county supes agenda


In the realm of problems without ready answers, it's hard to top the scarcity of housing on the Peninsula that is reasonably affordable to households with less than six-figure annual incomes.

The standard of affordability is defined as monthly rent or mortgage payments of no more than 30 percent of the household's income, according to a white paper published in January by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

With the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment on the Peninsula now at $2,648 a month, a household needs an annual income of $106,000 to meet that 30 percent standard, the white paper says. In 2013 in San Mateo County, according to the U.S. Census, more than 35,000 renting families were paying more than 30 percent.

"San Mateo County is experiencing an affordable housing crisis," the supervisors say in the white paper. "The demand for housing affordable to all but the wealthiest residents far exceeds the available supply."

The board is holding an afternoon study session Tuesday, March 17, to examine how to keep current occupants in their homes and add to the available stock of affordable housing. The session will run from 1:30 to 5 p.m. in the board chambers at 400 County Center in Redwood City.

HIP Housing, the go-to agency in the county for finding shared-living situations, has 10 applicants for every offer of housing, the county says in an email update on the study session.

In unincorporated communities, the county has "contributed to the development of 1,554 affordable housing units," the update says. The county's Affordable Housing Fund, created in 2013, has awarded $18 million to date.

Click here to read the white paper. Supervisor Don Horsley recommends the white paper to anyone wanting to participate in the study session.

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