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

Who We Are

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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An alternative but reliable source for news you can use.

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Change Language / Cambiar Idioma / 改變語言 / …

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.



7 P.M. Wednesday
December 12


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

The next meeting of One San Mateo will take place this coming Wednesday, December 12 from 7 to 8:45 pm. We will meet in the upstairs library at the Congregational Church of San Mateo (CCSM), located at 225 Tilton Avenue.

This will be our last meeting of the year. Please come in a celebratory mood as we have lots to be proud of. As we begin setting the agenda for the coming year, there is much to be done, and who else will do it if not each one of us together?

¿Que Es Lo Que Le Preocupa?

La ciudad de San Mateo esta haciendo un plan por los siguientes 20 años.  Ellos quieren saber cuales son sus preocupaciones y sus ideas para la ciudad.

Habra actividades para niños y comida deliciosa gratis.

El evento sera solo en Español.

Este evento es copatrocinado por la Congregational Church of San Mateo y por la Ciudad de San Mateo.


Domingo, 2 de Diciembre de 4 a 6 pm


Congregational Church of San Mateo
225 Tilton Ave.

Por mas información, llame a Imelda Navarro a (650)636-6016 o Reina Gonzalez a (650)271-8163.

Volante en español

In keeping with One San Mateo’s focus on advancing just, equitable, and across-the-board housing solutions, One San Mateo recommends the following choices on this election’s housing-related propositions.

Yes on Propositions 1

According to statistics from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are 40,056 homeless veterans nationally, and 29% (or 11,472) of them are here in California. This a problem crying out for a robust solution. Proposition 1 would allocate $4 billion in general obligation bonds to be spent strictly on affordable housing programs benefiting veterans. It would represent a major investment toward tackling this intolerable situation.

Yes on Proposition 2

Proposition 2 would resolve litigation regarding 2004’s “Millionaire Tax” and thereby make available $2 billion already set aside for the purpose of helping people with mental illness maintain stable housing while receiving quality care. It is known that people with mental illnesses who can receive care in familiar housing environments fare better than those who cannot. Likewise, it is also known that people with mental illnesses are at significantly greater risk of becoming homeless. Together with Proposition 1, Proposition 2 is a step in the direction of addressing California’s soaring homelessness crisis.

No on Proposition 5

Proposition 5 would allow people over the age of 55 or who are severely disabled to transfer their current property tax rates any number of times and regardless of the location or value of the homes they are buying. This will be bad for housing in two respects. First, it will allow wealthy individuals ages 55 or older to engage in speculative home buying, which, in turn, will spur displacement and drive up the cost of housing. Second, it will blow a hole in local municipalities’ budgets, likely resulting in cuts to affordable housing funds.

Yes on Proposition 10

One San Mateo is an organization that grew out of the fight for tenants’ protections. It is our firm conviction that the housing crisis can never fully be addressed without rent stabilization and protection against no-fault evictions. Proposition 10 is about fairness and choice. By repealing California’s 1995 legislature-enacted Costa-Hawkins Act, cities will finally have the freedom to craft their own local rental regulations, and they will be able to do so in a fairer manner by being able to subject small and large, new and old landlords to the same laws. Repealing Costa-Hawkins, though, is not just about allowing cities to shape reasonable renters’ protections. More generally, it is about giving cities the freedom to innovate new solutions to the housing crisis, as Costa-Hawkins has also been an impediment to non-rent stabilization policies, such as the widely supported practice of below-market-rate mandates on new developments. Therefore, it is long past time we undo California’s harmful Costa-Hawkins Act.


By Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County

From 1/1/16 through 8/31/18, over a period of 32 months, a total of 420 tenant households in the City of San Mateo sought assistance from Legal Aid with a housing problem. Of these 420 tenant households, 294 were seeking assistance with an eviction. Demographic characteristics of these households facing eviction include:

  • 42% included at least one child under the age of 18
  • 21% had a disabled head of household
  • 18% had a head of household aged 62 or older
  • 4% included a veteran in the household

Reasons for eviction, in order of frequency included:

  • “No fault” terminations of tenancy: typically no reason was stated in the notice of termination served to the tenant, although some landlords gave reasons like sale of the home or renovation of the rental unit. Length of notice is most commonly 60 days, although tenants in occupancy for less than one year may receive only 30 days’ notice, and tenancies subsidized by a Section 8 voucher must be terminated with 90 days’ notice.
  • Non-payment of rent: failure of the tenant to pay rent due by the date required. 
  • Breach of lease and/or nuisance: failure of the tenant to comply with some obligation of the lease other than payment of rent; or actions by the tenant that violate the lease terms, disturb other residents, create a health and safety hazard or nuisance on the premises.
  • Foreclosure: involuntary transfer of ownership of the rental unit from the landlord to a lender or purchaser due to the landlord’s default.

Legal Aid 1

That “no fault” evictions comprised almost half of all evictions (48%) within this sample is consistent with the ratio observed for San Mateo County as a whole for the same time period, wherein 800 out of 1814, or 44%, of evictions reported to Legal Aid were “no fault.” However, San Mateo County’s high instance of “no fault” terminations is remarkable in the Bay Area and in the State. Typically non-payment of rent is the leading basis for termination of tenancy in other counties. For example, between 2011 and 2016, 75% of eviction notices served in Oakland were for non-payment of rent and less than 1% were “no fault” terminations (https://www.antievictionmap.com/evictions).

Legal Aid 2

Over-representation of households with children under 18 among those facing eviction issues has been climbing over the past year. In the first two quarters of FY17-18, 35.9% of the City of San Mateo households seeking eviction assistance from Legal Aid included children under 18. In the third quarter, this increased to 40%, and in the fourth quarter rose to 44%. Compared to the overall representation of households with children in the San Mateo population, which is 27.6% according to the 2010 Census, this indicates an alarmingly high frequency with which eviction activity is targeting families with kids, and a steady incremental increase in that frequency over the past year. Notably, this does not appear to be a trend that can be explained simply by families suffering disproportionately high rent burdens. Families with children are similarly represented in the sample of all evictions (42%), as in the “no fault” eviction group (41%), which indicates that property owners’ decisions to terminate the tenancies of these households at this disproportionate frequency is not driven by the tenants’ failure to pay rent.

Tenants who identified as Hispanic or Latino were also dramatically over-represented in the “no fault” eviction sample, at approximately double the percentage of representation in the population. Likewise, this apparent targeting of “no fault” evictions to Hispanic of Latino tenants has no obvious economic explanation, as such evictions are not related to the tenants’ ability to pay rent, and Hispanic-identifying tenants actually have a slightly lower representation among the “all evictions” sample that includes failure to pay rent cases.

Tenants identifying as Black or African American appear in the “no fault” and “all eviction” samples at more than double the percentage of representation in the population. Given that the Black/African American population in City of San Mateo is very small and steadily shrinking, it is not surprising that our sample size is also small. While it is hard to draw conclusions from this limited data, it is extremely likely that displacement by eviction is contributing to the steady decline in the city’s Black/African American population.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of renters in San Mateo County are “rent burdened,” meaning that they spend more than 30% of income on housing costs (http://www.gethealthysmc.org/healthy-housing-data). Our best estimate of what it would cost to eliminate this rent burden is based on the expenditures of the Housing Authority of San Mateo County, which administers voucher-based subsidies for 4,205 low-income households that are designed to bridge the gap between market rents and what the tenant can afford spending roughly 30% of household income. The Housing Authority spent in 2017 an average of $17,286 per year per household on rent subsidies, or $1,440 per month (https://housing.smcgov.org/sites/housing.smcgov.org/files/FY2018-19MTWAnnualPlanx.pdf).

(The above report was originally released September 4, 2018. The featured image for this post is from urbandisplacement.org.)

What’s going on with the Peninsula Health Care District? And why should people in San Bruno, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Burlingame, San Mateo and Foster City care? The District receives property tax money from those cities yet plans to use publicly-owned land at the site of the demolished Peninsula Hospital to build market rate housing few people can afford. This is happening while the biggest threat to public health and safety is a lack of affordable housing for medical workers and seniors.

Recently, Congresswoman Jackie Speier and State Senator Jerry Hill wrote letters to the District asking it to hold a hearing to explore affordable housing needs instead of what is planned. Congresswoman Speier wrote, “…it will be a loss to the community if primarily market rate housing is created on district property.” However, at its most recent Board meeting the District appeared to disregard the letters and maintain its course.

On October 9th, another letter outlining the legal use of public land was sent to the District by Community Legal Services for East Palo Alto, Housing Leadership Council and Public Interest Law Group. The letter warned that the District may be vulnerable to a lawsuit if it proceeds with a process that is in conflict with state law.

It is essential that the District change its course and work to provide affordable housing for the public good. The next District Board Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 25th at 6:30 at Burlingame City Hall. Interested members of the public should attend.

Cynthia Cornell

Please attend the important October 25th meeting and raise your voice for affordable housing.


7pm Wednesday
October 24


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

One San Mateo’s regular meetings have changed from second and fourth Sundays at 6 to second and fourth Wednesdays at 7. They will still be held at the Congregational Church of San Mateo. But instead of being held in a downstairs room, they will be held on the second floor in the library. We hope you will join us. As always, all are welcome. We will continue our work on advancing affordable housing solutions in San Mateo.

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.

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