Housing A Growing Challenge

Last Tuesday the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on affordable housing. The Board chambers overflowed with interested citizens including property owners and managers as well as tenants. From the information provided by staff it is clear that the supply of affordable housing at present and in the future will be one of the more significant issues facing San Mateo County. And there are no easing solutions.

We are all familiar with the reports in the media on the rapidly rising costs for rentals and homes. While watching a newscast about a month ago there was a report of a person who paid, up front, 4 years worth of rent at above the asking price for a small two bedroom home.

This is not encouraging news for our clients/consumers who seek an opportunity to live in the community, it is not good news for our efforts towards breaking down the isolation that many of our clients/consumers face and supporting a more inclusive life for them in the community.

Over the past 7 years, through funding provided under the Mental Health Services Act, we have created 50 units of high quality supportive housing. For those individuals and families fortunate enough to have been chosen it has significantly increased their quality of life. But 50 is just a “drop in the bucket”.

Within the past year the Health Plan of San Mateo has ventured into the housing issue implementing a program to move people living in skilled nursing facilities into the community. Thus far the results are very promising.

We have funding remaining in our MHSA housing account and will be exploring the best way to maximize these funds to support consumers/clients in permanent housing.

I would be interested in receiving your ideas on how we can better meet the housing needs of our consumers/clients. If you have any ideas to share please respond to this post  and we will certainly include that as we continue to develop our plans. To share your ideas, click “leave a comment” at the top of this post and use your facebook or twitter login.