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We are One San Mateo. Our dream is one San Mateo—a city of, by, and for all its people.

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We are a community coalition working for a fair & inclusive San Mateo.

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The San Mateo Housing Stories Project

Giving a voice to the voiceless in the conversations around housing.

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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.

Share your story.


All those interested in seeing San Mateo do more to help renters in this deeply challenging housing market should make sure to come out for the upcoming study session at city hall. A range of modest but valuable policies which One San Mateo and its allies have been working to highlight over the past year will be discussed. These include relocation assistance (coupled with but distinct from red-tag relocation assistance), data collection on the rental market, enhanced Section 8 usability, and a boost in the city’s below-market-rate unit mandate. We want the city to use every tool it can to keep people housed.

The agenda and meeting details can be found here.


Tuesday, September 4th at 5:30 p.m.


City Hall (in council chambers)
330 West 20th Ave.
San Mateo, CA

Dear friends and allies,

In recent months the community has risen up in a deeply felt reaction to the nearly unimaginable cruelty that has taken place at our southern borders. The sheer extremity of the things we have witnessed—families being separated, children being warehoused, asylum seekers being denied any prospect of hope—has laid glaringly bare the nature of the conditions our immigrant neighbors wake up to every day.

Two years ago, One San Mateo was born of the desire to create greater housing security for renters under pressure from brutal market forces in San Mateo. Many of the people who have been on the front lines of this housing work are the very community members who now find themselves living under siege from immigration authorities. In the interest of creating a more humane housing market, these immigrant neighbors of ours have collected signatures, knocked on doors, given testimony at City Council meetings, distributed renters’ ballots, and worked to get out the vote.

One San Mateo stands in full solidarity with all of our immigrant neighbors, adding our support to efforts led by the faith community to shield them from harassment and persecution. Most recently we joined a successful campaign to persuade the Board of Supervisors to allocate funds for badly needed deportation defense. At a time when our immigrant neighbors are being made to feel that they do not belong, we want to be part of the effort to assure them that they do.

All the while, One San Mateo has continued its advocacy for solutions to the problem of evictions and outsized rent increases—the other persistent pressure that threatens to uproot people from their homes. Many in the immigrant community have come to refer to this as “the other deportation,” given its potential for engendering fear, upending lives, and forcing families from their homes.

Our advocacy has progressed. In the coming months, the San Mateo City Council will consider a number of proposals that One San Mateo and other community allies have put forth to protect renters and help keep them in their homes. In future communications, we will describe these proposals and let you know what you can do to further their chances of being adopted. Considering the interests that will line up in opposition, the success of these proposals will require the applied energy of us all. 

We appreciate your past support and hope you will continue to be part of the effort to prevent community members from being forced from their homes.


Karyl Eldridge

Vice Chair of One San Mateo

Help keep our community whole. Follow this website for future updates.


August 26
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


The Congregational Church of San Mateo
225 Tilton Ave., San Mateo

This is to remind everyone that the next regular meeting of One San Mateo will be on August 26 at the Congregational Church of San Mateo. We will continue our push for affordable housing solutions in San Mateo.

All are welcome to attend!

Two recent articles reconfirm what many of us know all too well: the Bay Area’s housing affordability crisis continues unabated.

Local rents continue to climb high

Reports: Costs in San Mateo County jump, raising questions about economic impact

Rents in San Mateo — already among the nation’s most expensive — jumped again in July, marking the seventh straight month during which the cost of living locally increased, according a recent report. – See more.

Study: Majority of Bay Area locked out of home sales market

Potential homebuyers trying to break into the Bay Area real estate market without a high-paying tech job or financial help from family may find the American dream of home ownership slipping right out the window.

“Many younger residents are particularly affected, unable to buy in the very neighborhoods where they grew up, some real estate agents say.”

A California Association of Realtors study released last week showed that — with Bay Area median home prices soaring over $1 million and median incomes insufficient to carry such loans — fewer than 1 in 5 Bay Area residents can afford to buy into the local market. – See more.

We need to do more to address this out-of-control crisis. But no single policy by itself will sufficiently address the problem. What we continue to require are across-the-board solutions.

One San Mateo is a local community group whose overarching mission is to increase fairness and inclusion in San Mateo. As part of our efforts to craft affordable housing solutions, One San Mateo has recently completed a months-long deliberative process addressing the proposed extension of Measure P. This involved presentations from both sides, numerous conversations, and a structured discussion that culminated in a blind vote. The outcome of this process is that One San Mateo has decided against supporting the extension of Measure P. Below is a statement of our rationale.

San Mateo’s current height and density limits have been in effect for nearly 30 years.  They were first introduced in 1991 as Measure H and were re-authorized in 2004 as Measure P. Much has changed since they were first adopted. Our city and region have experienced extraordinary economic growth, adding jobs at a rapid rate. In comparison, the production of housing has been minimal, and the resulting imbalance has caused rents and home prices to soar.

The situation today, therefore, is very different from when voters previously enacted San Mateo’s height and density restrictions. We now face a full-blown housing affordability crisis impacting almost every aspect of our community. Many long-time residents are being forced out,  tearing families apart.  We are experiencing a shortage in vital workers, from restaurant employees to teachers and medical staff. And as people have been driven farther away, so have commutes lengthened and car-hours on the road increased. The housing crisis is a detriment to us all.

In light of the changes that have taken place, One San Mateo believes it is time to take a renewed look at the needs of our community. The city is about to embark on such a process with the upcoming General Plan update.  The General Plan considers a wide range of issues relating to the health and function of San Mateo—housing, land use, open space, noise, circulation, and more. Height and density limits are important components of the General Plan.  If Measure P is extended this November, it will lock in the current height and density limits for another ten years.  In so doing, it will foreclose on the opportunity to meaningfully debate these policies during the General Plan update.

To be clear, One San Mateo is not advocating for the elimination of height and density limits.  Rather, we are challenging the premise that standards adopted 30 years ago continue to best serve the needs of our community. In opposing the extension of Measure P, One San Mateo is calling for an open and inclusive General Plan process in which all voices and all issues have a fair opportunity to be heard.

To achieve this end, we encourage the City Council to ensure that the General Plan process is open, robust, and accessible to diverse voices in our community, including the most vulnerable. The members of One San Mateo look forward to engaging in this process in the interest of creating a fairer, more inclusive, more vibrant city for us all.  Together we can place San Mateo on a better footing for the future.


August 12, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m


The Congregational Church of San Mateo
225 Tilton Ave., San Mateo

This is to remind everyone that the next regular meeting of One San Mateo will be on August 12 at the Congregational Church of San Mateo. We will continue our push for affordable housing solutions in San Mateo.

All are welcome to attend!

This was the case that showed us why cities like San Mateo and Burlingame desperately need tenants’ protections. In memory of Marie Hatch, we will continue to fight for the basic right of all tenants to live lives of dignity.

Landlord who evicted Marie Hatch from Burlingame home agrees to pay $200K

lawsuit filed against the landlord who evicted Marie Hatch from her longtime Burlingame home settled with a $200,000 award to the son of the senior tenant whose displacement garnered international attention.

“In my opinion, the behavior certainly contributed to her death. They served an eviction notice to a 97-year-old,” he said. “How would you like to be 97 years old and be told that you have 30 to 60 days to leave?”

See more.

Bleak outlook offered to most home buyers, as prices continue to swell

By Austin Walsh

County Realtors are sending a simple message to potential home buyers not a part of the local high-tech, life sciences or other lucrative local job markets — good luck.

“If you are an average Joe, it’s very difficult for you to buy a house,” said Realtor Jeff LaMont. “If you are a school teacher or an auto mechanic, you are kind of screwed. It’s really, really tough.”

The bleak sentiment is borne out through the most recent figures offered by the San Mateo County Association of Realtors, which shows the county’s median home sale price last month reached $1.8 million. – See more.

Residents defend recently enacted rent stabilization protections, urge voters not to sign “Landlord Profit Protection Act”

Mountain View, CA—Today 18 residents of Mountain View filed a complaint with the City Attorney alleging that a recently proposed landlord initiative is rife with misleading statements and inaccuracies.  The complaint demands that the City Attorney reject the proposed initiative unless the landlord campaign corrects the falsehoods.

“They lost the election less than two years ago, and this is nothing more than an attempt at a sneaky repeal of the voters’ decision to protect the diversity of Mountain View.” 

“We know that the landlord lobby will stop at nothing to protect their profits, including by lying to voters,” said Trevoli Welsh, one of the signatories of the complaint.  “Our rent stabilization program is fully funded by a nominal fee on landlords and is actually expected to come in underbudget this year.  Yet the landlord campaign is based on using fear-mongering about the alleged cost of the program, when the truth is that it protects over 30,000 residents at no cost to taxpayers.  That’s a bargain price to ensure that teachers, nurses, first responders and our neighbors can afford to stay in our community and thrive.” 

In November 2016, Mountain View voters approved Measure V, instituting one of the first new rent stabilization programs in California in over 30 years.  Over 15,000 households in Mountain View have since enjoyed protections against massive rent hikes and no-cause evictions.  The complaint was filed in response to an initiative submitted by landlords that seeks to upend those new protections. 

“Let’s be clear, this initiative is the landlords’ attempt to kill tenant protections in Mountain View,” said Kara Sanchez, another of the signatories of the complaint. “They lost the election less than two years ago, and this is nothing more than an attempt at a sneaky repeal of the voters’ decision to protect the diversity of Mountain View.” 

Depending on the outcome of the complaint, the next step for the landlord initiative is to gather the signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot.  

Landlord campaigns to overturn rent control have faced widespread allegations of misconduct during signature gathering campaigns across the state in recent years.  Signature-gathering drives backed by landlord trade groups like the California Apartment Association have been criticized for employing paid signature-gatherers who have misrepresented petitions in order to obtain signatures in Richmond, Santa Rosa, Pacifica, and Alameda.  Just last month, the District Attorney of San Mateo County filed twenty-one felony charges against signature gatherers financed by the California Apartment Association for forging signatures in a Pacifica anti-rent control campaign.

“We want to spread the word to voters about the truth of this initiative,” said Heather Phipps, another person who signed the complaint.  “We urge voters not to sign this ‘Landlord Profit Protection Act.’  Our new tenant protections are an important part of the puzzle in addressing the housing crisis in Mountain View. The landlord initiative is an attack on the people who help make our town strong, it’s an attack on Mountain View as a Human Rights City.  Don’t sign the landlord petition!”

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