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Giving a voice to the voiceless in the conversations around housing.
The San Mateo Housing Stories Project is an ongoing project of One San Mateo.
Far too often, those affected most by changes in our communities are those who leaset have a voice in the matter. They lack a voice in the media, and they lack a voice in politics, one feeding the other in a vicious cycle.
Again and again, we hear powerful interests say that we lack the data to take action on housing. But then when we push for government to collect the relevant data, those very same powerful interests do an about-face and cynically stand in the way of the collection of data.
Only government can collect the necessary data on the full extent and nature of the housing problems we are suffering from. However, we will not standby and allow those affected by housing to be silenced by the inaction of others.
The San Mateo Housing Stories Project is aimed at gathering stories from and providing a forum for those being impacted by the continuing housing crisis. You are not alone. By raising our voices together we have power.
It’s not too late to raise your voice in favor of AB1506, the California Assembly bill to repeal Costa-Hawkins. Also, consider ways to participate in tomorrow’s committee hearing and future discussions. It’s long past time to repeal this corrupt law. Now is our chance!
From Tenants Together:
The bill to repeal Costa-Hawkins and let cities choose to close the loopholes in local rent control, AB 1506, has twice the number of official supporters than opposition going into the Housing Committee hearing tomorrow morning (take a look at the committee report). We expect a big showdown between the landlord lobby on one side and tenants and their allies on the other, so that support is a big boost to our campaign.
Why is it important to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act? Tenants Together has put together a brief explainer to read and share with friends and neighbors.
Be sure to join us tomorrow, whether in-person at the Housing Committee hearing, or online by following the hashtag #RepealCostaHawkins. That hashtag works on both Facebook and Twitter. The livestream will also be available starting at 9am on CalChannel if you will be watching from home.
No matter what happens tomorrow at the Housing Committee, we are dedicated to fight for renters rights, repeal Costa-Hawkins by any means necessary, and build tenant power for the long-term.
Half Moon Bay plans to clean up homeless encampment
By Samantha Weigel
Nestled in the brush against the Pilarcitos Creek, more than a dozen people have been residing in a homeless encampment behind a Half Moon Bay shopping center.
In the coming months, they will be forced to move as the city plans to clean up the environmentally-sensitive habitat.
Tents, wooden pallets, mattresses and even makeshift gates have been pieced together to form what the encampment’s residents say is some semblance of a home they call their own. With the region’s steep housing prices out of reach for many who’ve lived on the coast for years, as well as others who are just passing through, the encampment has been a known spot for the homeless on the coastside.
[I]t’s a diverse group and several of them even hold jobs but can’t afford the area’s high cost of living, said Bob Stebbins, leader of the Coastside Homeless Collaborative. Stebbins is working to help those at the encampment with the transition. With a dire lack of affordable units on the coast, he hopes to work with government officials to identify land or properties that can house the homeless.
Those tracking market downturn pessimistic renters will enjoy relief beyond winter season
By Austin Walsh
Rent analyst Chris Salviati with online database Apartmentlist suggested the downtick could be attributed to seasonal trends, as apartment hunters typically sit out the holiday season, leading to a regular listing price swoon.
Community discussion series to address housing crunch
By Austin Walsh
Burlingame officials concerned by a lack of local below-market housing options are interested in starting a conversation with residents about opportunities to lessen the pain brought by a lack of affordability.
The Burlingame City Council discussed a joint effort with San Mateo County’s Home for All initiative aiming to kick-start community conversations this year regarding ways to make the city more affordable. – See more.
What: Protest at landlord’s corporate office
When: Tuesday, January 9th at 5:30pm
Speculators impose rent increases of up to $800+ immediately after purchasing two apartment buildings providing homes for 20 families
Redwood City, CA – Residents of two apartment buildings near downtown Redwood City are protesting rent increases of up to and exceeding $800 imposed by their new corporate landlords. The twenty families living in the apartments received rent increases on the same day that the new owners informed the residents of the purchase. Many of the tenants have formed a tenants’ association and will demand that the new owners reduce the amount of the rent increases so they will not be displaced from their homes.
“Our family’s rent went up more than $850, which is almost a 45% increase, and it was a complete shock,” said Stephanie Gutierrez, a 15-year-old resident of one of the buildings who is leading the organizing. “My parents didn’t get an $850 raise, so how are we supposed to pay this? We love it here in Redwood City, but this rent increase may force us out of our own community.”
The two apartment buildings, located at 1207 Hopkins Avenue and 1404 Regent Street in Redwood City, were both purchased on November 29, 2017. Property records show the new owners as CREI, LLC and Menlo Gate Group Two Holding, LLC – each listed with the same address. Both corporations list Jesshill E. Love III as their registered agent, and both have hired Redwood Landing Properties to manage the buildings. The two buildings were purchased for a combined total of $8,550,000, or $425,500 per unit.
The purchases were financed in large part by two loans from First Republic Bank. First Republic previously faced criticism for financing Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco.
“We are committed to fighting back when speculators and corporations exploit our community like their personal ATM machine,” said Rafael Avendano, Director of the Siena Center of the St. Francis Center, who is assisting the tenants’ association with the protest.
“This case highlights the broader problem of speculation that is fueling displacement throughout the Bay Area,” said Daniel Saver, a Senior Attorney with Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto. “Officials in Redwood City have failed to adopt tenant protections that could have prevented this sort of displacement, especially in lower-income communities and communities of color. We need our elected representatives to prioritize homes for people, not profits.”
The protest will begin at 5:30 pm at the corporate office of the new landlords and management company, located at 1526 Stafford Street, Redwood City, 94063.
By Tatiana Sanchez
The cost of living across Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is so high that more than a quarter of people in the region struggle to pay for food each month, according to a new food insecurity study by Second Harvest Food Bank.
Nearly 27 percent of those living in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties — an estimated 720,000 residents — are food insecure, which means they’re at risk for hunger, the study released Tuesday said. An estimated 22 percent of those who are food insecure are families with children, including families who may not fit the stereotypical image of people who go hungry — a demographic shift leaders at the food bank called, “ the Silicon Valley hunger paradox.”
“These results are particularly surprising when you consider that unemployment is at an all-time low,” said Leslie Bacho, CEO of Second Harvest, in a statement. “Unfortunately, economic growth in Silicon Valley is creating immense wealth for a minority, while driving the cost of living up for everyone. As the economy propels expenses, like rent, higher, many residents are more at risk for hunger including a significant population of children in our community.”
Of those who are food insecure, an estimated 30 percent said their rent had increased in the past year and 13 percent faced eviction or foreclosure, the study said. Meanwhile, 26 percent lost their job in the past year, while 11 percent had their hours cut and 19 percent took on unexpected healthcare costs. – See more.
Of that total, 193,000 people had no access to nightly shelter and instead were staying in vehicles, tents, the streets and other places considered uninhabitable. The unsheltered figure is up by more than 9 percent compared to two years ago. – See more.
By Barbara Marshman
The Bay Area’s housing crisis was “On the Table” last Wednesday. To be precise, it was on 790 tables, with 7,000 people gathered around them.
People with ideas. People hoping to learn. People who face heartbreaking daily struggles to survive here and were just grateful for the chance to talk about it — sometimes in tears.
And sometimes bringing me to tears.
“On the Table” was a project of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Knight Foundation. The idea was to recruit individuals and organizations interested in housing to host a discussion group over breakfast, lunch, coffee or dinner: Nothing like food to make a gathering come alive.
Community Foundation CEO Emmett Carson says when they started planning this, 2,000 participants seemed like a reasonable target. Good thing they waited to order food.
And while their focus was Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, word spread. Groups in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley also convened discussions.
And the purpose of all this talking? – See more.
A recent column by Jonathan Madison mentioned the negative impacts of repealing the Costa-Hawkins provisions in California law. For those not fully briefed, Costa-Hawkins prohibits any sort of rent control of properties built after 1995, as well as any single-family structure or condominium of any age.
It is important to look at the problem from the point of view of protecting the enormous portion of our population who happen to be tenants — from rent gouging and arbitrary evictions for those whose leases have expired. Is there social value in protecting long-term tenants in our community? What about tenants with children in the midst of the school year? How about anyone who has spent cash and sweat in moving their worldly goods into an apartment and don’t relish having to do it all over again at someone else’s whim? – See more.