Coming soon to Menlo Park: new apartments for low-income seniors


Low-income seniors will soon have a new place to live in Menlo Park.

Sequoia Belle Haven, a "below market rate" senior-living complex of 90 apartments under construction at 1221 Willow Road, is on the lookout for tenants.

When the complex is completed, there will be 86 one-bedroom apartments and four two-bedroom apartments.

The application period is expected to open in the next couple of weeks, according to Beth Fraker, spokesperson for MidPen Housing Corp., the nonprofit housing developer that is building the apartments.

The site previously had 48 apartments that were built in the 1960s and lightly rehabilitated in 1987, according to MidPen Housing.

Seniors who lived there previously will be given the first chance to move back in. Of the remaining apartments, preference will be given to new renters who already live or work in Menlo Park, said Ms. Fraker.

The units are for households with at least one person age 62 or older. The seniors must also have an income that falls below 50 percent of the area median income, Ms. Fraker said.

For a single person, 50 percent of the median income is $43,050 and for two people it's $49,200, according to San Mateo County thresholds.

Rent will be $619 to $949 for a one-bedroom apartment and $736 to $1,132 for two bedrooms.

By contrast, the market-rate apartments that opened Nov. 2 at 777 Hamilton Ave. have monthly rents of $3,100 to $6,100 for one- to three-bedroom units.

The maximum number of people who can live in each one-bedroom apartment is three, and five for a two-bedroom apartment, said Ms. Fraker. Under those assumptions, the complex could accommodate up to 278 people.

The development will have a community room, a lounge, a computer lounge, an exercise room and two laundry rooms, according to MidPen Housing. There will be social activities and classes on computers and financial literacy, meditation, life skills, nutrition, arts and crafts.

The project was funded with $5.1 million from the city of Menlo Park, about $1.7 million from San Mateo County's Department of Housing, and loans and other funds from MidPen Housing, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and Wells Fargo.

Go to the MidPen Housing web page on the project for more information.

See related stories:

Menlo Park: Walls rise on 90 affordable housing units for seniors

Work starts on 90 affordable housing units

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6 people like this
Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 4, 2016 at 5:26 pm

This is great news. Thank you MidPen Housing Corp! Do you have any other housing opportunities planned in Menlo Park?

Like this comment
Posted by Stats
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 6, 2016 at 11:40 am

I believe that Facebook has an agreement with MidPen to build additional housing with the 6.5M Facebook committed to housing as part of the next stage of Bayshore development:

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo gal
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 7, 2016 at 6:18 am

Five people in a 2 bedroom apartment is a lot. Is that number correct? Whether that number is correct or not, senior low-income housing often brings their adult children and grandchildren whatever the restrictions. A neighbor of my sister's rented out their house as low-income senior housing, but the property is heavily used by adults of working age. During the warmer weather,adult males of working age would be drinking on the lawn at 11:00a.m. on a weekday. The property gets rented as low-income because of the one senior, but you get their adult children and their adult children friends, who don't work. Thanks for the property devaluation neighbor. Senior housing restrictions should be tighter about who and how many adults and children under 18 can be living in a complex. These restrictions should also be enforced.

2 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 7, 2016 at 1:14 pm

Instead of throwing a fit about people gaming a bad system (housing set-asides for 'special' groups), how about we work towards fixing the Peninsula-wide supply and demand imbalance?

The people who get these apartments are essentially lottery winners. We're creating winners and losers due to the truly insane level of under-building over the last few decades, and the only reasonable longer term fix is to build more housing.

Your property values may slow down if there's enough supply, but the alternative is worse.

Like this comment
Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 7, 2016 at 1:27 pm

@MP Resident

I agree with you that we need to fix the supply-demand imbalance by drastically increasing the supply. However, I don't see the Bay Area ever solving this problem. This is a fundamental case of tragedy of the commons. No municipality wants to add more housing, especially dense and lower income housing. It would put pressure on congestion, the schools, and city services without adding the same percentage to the tax base.

This small smattering of low-income housing is enough so that the politicians look good for doing "something" without having to deal with actually solving the problem.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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