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San Mateo to develop first sub-regional housing allocation in California

"There is just such a huge need for affordable housing"

By Caitlin Cassady

December 16, 2007

At a public hearing Monday regarding affordable housing in San Mateo County, representatives will vote to adopt the first Sub-Regional Housing Needs Allocation in the state, which will take control of allocating housing throughout the county.

The housing initiative will allow all jurisdictions in the county to work collaboratively for housing planning rather than following regional mandates that assign housing quotas to individual cities and the county.

By taking control of the distribution of housing, the county can develop areas near transit-oriented hubs, and do a more comprehensive job of distributing housing to regions that really need the development, said Matt Jacobs, legislative aide to San Mateo County Supervisor Richard Gordon.

"There is just such a huge need for affordable housing in San Mateo County," Jacobs said.

With a regional approach, housing is more likely to be built for all income levels, according to the county. Representatives from the 20 cities in San Mateo County along with county officials are expected to adopt the agreement, which will have a strong foundation for housing planning efforts on the Peninsula.

A second part of the hearing will be for developers, non-profit groups and city planners to discuss how to access state funds to build affordable housing, Jacobs said.

Speakers at the hearing will include state Department of Housing and Community Development Director Lynn Jacobs, state Assemblyman Gene Mullin and San Mateo County Supervisors Rose Jacobs Gibson and Gordon. A panel from the Department of Housing and Community Development will inform local leaders how they can access funds from Proposition 1C. The proposition was passed in November 2006 and permits the state to sell $2.85 billion in bonds to support a variety of housing and development programs.

The hearing "will allow people here (in San Mateo County) access to state officials who are in charge of distributing funds," Jacobs said. By establishing how developers and other residents can apply for funding dedicated to affordable housing, the county believes that the amount of housing will increase.

Studies have shown that San Mateo County needs to expand the supply of affordable housing and workforce housing, according to the county.

Having available, affordable homes for nurses, retail workers, librarians, service workers and other middle-income residents will create a successful community.

At the final part of the hearing, participants will be asked for ideas on how to create an ongoing dedicated source of revenue to finance affordable housing. State funds will not last forever and the county should have funds specifically dedicated to providing affordable housing to its residents, Jacobs said.

Recent figures from the California Association of Realtors who say that the percentage of households in San Mateo County that could buy an entry-level home was 17 percent in the third quarter of 2007. The minimum household income needed to purchase an entry-level home of $816,000 in San Mateo County was $168,280.


Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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