Santa Clara County Helps Fund Affordable Housing in San Mateo County


“Our housing problems know no boundaries.”

SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $3 million today from its Stanford Affordable Housing Fund to support the development of two affordable housing projects in San Mateo County, which are in close proximity to Stanford University.

The Stanford Affordable Housing Fund was established in 2000 as part of the Stanford General Use Permit (GUP) to help mitigate the University’s housing impact on surrounding communities. In lieu of building affordable housing units on campus, Stanford can pay a fee, and the proceeds support the development of affordable housing within a six-mile radius of the Stanford University campus, including parts of southern San Mateo County.

“The housing crisis is a burden shared across our region, and one that Santa Clara County cannot address alone,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian, whose district includes the Stanford campus. “We know the University’s development has impacts across County lines, and the middle of an on-going housing crisis is no time to be parochial. It’s only right that our neighbors in San Mateo County receive some of the benefit these housing funds have to offer. Simply put, our housing problems know no boundaries.”

Over the years, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has allocated more than $34 million in Stanford Affordable Housing Funds for affordable housing within Santa Clara County, but this will be the first time funds have been allocated for projects in San Mateo County.

“Clearly,” said Simitian, “our housing challenges are regional, so our solutions have to be regional as well. Artificial boundaries like city limits or county lines shouldn’t preclude a sensible collaboration on efforts that benefit the entire region.”

The County of San Mateo, in collaboration with the cities of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, requested $1.5 million in funding for a 136-unit, all-affordable multi-family housing development in East Palo Alto at 965 Weeks Street, and an additional $1.5 million for a 12-unit development of townhomes for low-income, first-time homebuyers in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park.

“We’re so grateful for the Board of Supervisors’ support of our development project on Weeks Street,” said Patrick Heisinger, Interim City Manager for the City of East Palo Alto. “Although our city and co-developers have successfully secured some sources of funding for the project, there remains a small gap. Securing this additional funding from Stanford is a tremendous help to ensure the project can move forward early next year.”

“In San Mateo County, our county, our cities, and our nonprofit development partners have been working to create quality affordable housing in south San Mateo County for many years. We believe Santa Clara County’s $3 million allocation will go a long way toward achieving this goal,” said Mike Callagy, County Executive for San Mateo County. “More than that, it sends the right message about how we can and should work together. This is exactly the kind of partnership we need across jurisdictional boundaries.”

If for any reason either project is not completed, the funds would be allocated to another qualifying affordable housing project in south San Mateo County agreed upon by the two counties.

“This is a win for both counties,” said Simitian. “It makes all the sense in the world.”


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