The Closing the Jobs/Housing Gap Task Force, a group of diverse stakeholders working to preserve and increase housing at all price levels in San Mateo County, held its inaugural meeting this morning with Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, as the keynote speaker.

The County of San Mateo Board of Supervisors convened the task force, which is co-chaired by Supervisors Don Horsley and Warren Slocum and includes representatives from cities and towns, business organizations and large employers, educators, housing developers, community-based organizations providing housing services and labor and community advocates.

Board President Carole Groom sent invitations to 55 community leaders with hopes of bringing a variety of experiences and perspectives to the table.

“San Mateo County is known for its culture of collaboration.  This task force gives us another opportunity to work together to address the housing crisis, which is already having a negative impact on many in our community,” District Three Supervisor Don Horsley said.

The goal of the task force is to identify the issues, strategize potential tools, solicit community input at a future date, and create a menu of options for participants to bring back to their constituents and communities for consideration. While the County and each of its cities and towns has unique needs, task force organizers believe consensus may be possible on a number of steps that could preserve and/or produce more housing in San Mateo County.

“The lack of affordable housing affects all of our communities in a wide variety of ways. The task force, representing people and organizations with varied opinions and constituencies, is an opportunity to turn this crisis into a defining moment by generating workable solutions that can translate into action,” District Four Supervisor Warren Slocum said.

Beginning with the Sept. 24 kick off, the task force will meet for eight meetings over nine months. A public input process is anticipated for Spring 2016.

Questions and comments about the task force should be directed to Peggy Jensen, Deputy County Manager, and Jessica Stanfill Mullins, Analyst in the County’s Manager’s Office, by emailing jobshousingtaskforce@smcgov.org. Information about the task force is also available at www.jobshousingtaskforce.com.