How many residents in Menlo Park have been displaced due to rising housing costs and evictions? Considering the number of development projects in the works, how many will be displaced?
The short answer: No one knows. Landlords don't have to report to anyone when they raise rents or evict tenants.
It's "functionally impossible" to get accurate data, said Daniel Saver of Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, which has called on the city of Menlo Park to take action on the housing crisis.
Agencies that have tried to measure the problem use different metrics. Some databases track rent amounts for multi-family housing complexes, but that doesn't give the full picture for communities like Menlo Park, where many residences are single-family homes. Other databases track asking rates for rent but not actual rates.
U.C. Berkeley's Urban Displacement Project has an online interactive map showing indicators of displacement, broken down by census tracts across the Bay Area. The data, though, measures changes between 2010 and 2013 only. The data shows several census tracts in western Menlo Park had undergone or were undergoing displacement, but less displacement was reported in eastern Menlo Park.
Go to urbandisplacement.org to see the map.
Since 2013, however, anecdotal information from residents, school administrators, police officers and others indicates residents of eastern Menlo Park face increasing threat of displacement.
A more recent and local study by MidPen Housing, a nonprofit housing developer, conducted in consultation with real estate analysts from the Concord Group, says that from 2010 to 2016, Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood lost 133 households that had annual incomes of less than $100,000, and East Palo Alto lost 699 households with incomes of less than $100,000.
Many of those households were replaced by residents with annual incomes greater than $100,000, the study said. One limitation of the study is that it does not account for combined households or households that had income increases that put them over the $100,000 annual income threshold.