Affordable housing unit in San Mateo

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors today strongly endorsed an affordable housing plan that would spend $30 million in Measure K sales tax revenue on projects and programs over the next two fiscal years.

The Board stopped short of voting on the recommended plan to allow an existing Measure K ad hoc committee of two supervisors the time to review other ongoing and proposed Measure K allocations to determine if additional funds up to $20 million — $10 million per year — could be redirected to affordable housing needs. The Board wants to explore what options are available up to that $20 million mark.

The Board of Supervisors considered the affordable housing plan at its April 11 meeting in tandem with proposals for financing eight major new capital projects, a five-year information technology plan and a plan for allocating funds raised by Measure K, the half-cent sales tax passed by county voters.

The Board unanimously approved the capital project financing plan but left the other three items open pending the ad hoc committee’s review and recommendations at a future meeting. The move came at the suggestion of Supervisor Dave Pine who proposed the additional $10 million for housing and a reminder from County Manager John Maltbie that spending more on housing also means spending less elsewhere. Measure K revenue is projected to be $81 million per year of which $42 million is committed to continuing initiatives.

The Measure K housing recommendation is guided by a desire to complete affordable housing projects under development, implement and enforce new ordinances and continue programs with proven results.

Since 2012, the County has spent $56.5 million on housing for both new development and rental housing preservation. Over the past four years, the County has contributed to the development of 16 housing projects with a total of 908 new units. Of those units, 268 are complete, 73 are under construction and 567 are in the pre-construction stage. The County has also contributed $13.1 million toward the preservation of 86 affordable rental units in four apartment buildings purchased by nonprofit organizations.

In addition, the County has increased housing availability through partnerships with HIP housing which placed 375 clients in 160 new home shares, adopted ordinances like the mobile home conversion moratorium which keeps units in place, and created other tenant assistance programs.

The proposed Measure K housing recommendation for Fiscal Year 2017-2019 includes

·         $22 million for the Affordable Housing Fund (AHF);

·         $5 million for a pilot revolving loan fund through AHF or the Housing Endowment and Regional Trust for teacher housing or pre-development costs;

·         $1.4 million to continue existing tenant assistance programs;

·         $1.6 million in ongoing programs and staffing.

An additional $4 million in federal funding that was previously provided to the County is not currently in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development budget. However, if that changes, the recommendation is to use it for additional pre-development needs.

The Board will consider its entire recommended two-year budget for Fiscal Year 2017-19 in June and adopt the final budget in September.