Published June 5th in the Sam Mateo Daily Journal here.
If the Peninsula Health Care District proceeds with its current plans for the redevelopment of the old Peninsula Hospital site, the community will have lost out on a unique opportunity to extract as much affordability as we might have. Of the 475 senior homes planned, 184 — approximately 39% — are to be designated as “affordable.” However, these affordable units are becoming less and less affordable by the day.
Under the current plan, the affordable units would be “low income” and “moderate income.” Last year, “low income” for a one-person household was defined by federal guidelines as $71,170. This year, under the revised federal guidelines, it has risen to $73,080. Meanwhile, “moderate income” now ranges from $97,440 to $146,160.
This makes a travesty of the very concept of “affordable.” Community advocates have clamored for PHCD to lower the affordability levels to “very low” and “extremely low.” As federal guidelines are adjusted upward, the case for this intensifies, and the community will continue to press this case. Only by lowering the affordability levels can PHCD restore meaning to its claim that it is providing “affordable housing.” As it now stands, the plan comes nowhere near to reaching the people of limited means whose affordability challenges are most severe.
The letter writer is the secretary of communications of One San Mateo.