Since May 2014, Urban Habitat has been working with the San Mateo Anti-Displacement Coalition to address the housing crisis in San Mateo County. The County is one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation and, in line with regional trends, continues to experience deepening inequality that’s linked to the growth of the technology and service economies. According to research done by the California Housing Partnership Corporation, the County faces a shortfall of almost 24,000 homes for the County’s very low and extremely low-income households. While rents continue to increase, incomes have declined, leading low-income households to spend more of their income on rent. At the same time, new affordable housing construction is at a virtual standstill and does not appear to be a priority for many local governments.
The growing burden of housing costs is putting pressure on lower-income households, who face overcrowding, displacement, and threats of eviction from property owners seeking more affluent tenants. The Anti-Displacement Coalition is working in and across multiple jurisdictions in the County to mobilize residents, put pressure on elected officials, and draw attention to the increasing challenge of housing insecurity. We’ve also added our voice to the growing call for rent stabilization across the County. Both the scope of the policy demands and the coalition’s geographic range mark an exciting development in regional movement building