Lower the affordability levels

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.

Justin Alley

San Mateo

The letter writer is the secretary of communications of One San Mateo.

One thought on “Lower the affordability levels

  1. Justin – a very important point with which I strongly agree. Especially when the project is using publicly owned land to provide that housing. One San Mateo is doing a great job of educating the community on the subtleties of the words “affordable housing.” The devil is always in the details.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s