This week, the reality of the worldwide health crisis is hitting home for all of us in San Mateo County. As faith leaders across many traditions, we share the fundamental truth that our values are built on the foundation of the interdependence of all human beings––a truth that is becoming clear right now in painful ways.
In case you have yet to hear the news, the red tag ordinance, which many of us have come to refer to as the “anti-slumlord ordinance,” has at last been passed into law.
Tomorrow’s Menlo Park City Council discussion of relocation assistance is actually supposed to start at 5:45 p.m., not the previously reported 7 p.m. Get there early if you can and help us demonstrate solidarity with our Menlo Park peers as they attempt to move the ball forward on much-needed protections for tenants.
San Mateo, California — At its meeting on Tuesday, February 19, the City Council of San Mateo will consider adoption of an ordinance designed to ensure habitability of San Mateo apartments and to make provision for tenants who are forced to move as a result of extreme conditions threatening their health and safety. The idea for this ordinance was brought to the city by One San Mateo, a community group advocating for affordable housing solutions and a more fair and inclusive San Mateo.
In an effort to support at-risk tenants who find themselves in unsafe housing, San Mateo city officials are shaping an ordinance aimed at requiring landlords who don’t properly maintain their units to pay for the relocation costs of affected tenants.
Among the measures councilmembers considered at their Tuesday meeting was requiring landlords whose tenants are temporarily displaced by substandard living conditions to provide another unit or hotel room within a 10-mile radius. They also considered mandating those landlords whose tenants are permanently displaced provide them with three months of fair-market rent.
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.