Measure passed to develop affordable housing in San Mateo


By David Canepa

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors made history in May by voting to spend $43.75 million in Measure K funds, over two years, to develop affordable housing as many of our neighbors continue to grapple with unimaginably high rents.

I and my fellow board members voted unanimously on this significant increase in spending from the previous four years of Measure K spending. It was truly an honor to collaborate with the other board members to meet the promise of Measure K, the half-cent sales tax voters approved to be extended in the November election.

Voters passed the tax with nearly 70 percent support with a pledge by the Measure K campaign that more of this revenue would go toward battling the housing crisis.

Before 2012, funding for affordable housing mostly came from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development with much of it set aside to support Section 8 vouchers.

But since 2012, San Mateo County, coupled with May’s historic board vote, has pledged $99.75 million toward developing new units, preserving older units, assisting first-time homebuyers and providing legal aid to evicted tenants. Housing advocates are owed a debt of gratitude for helping to pass the measure but it is the voters who are owed the most thanks.

Now it is time to convince the elected family in our cities to make the same commitment this board did to end displacement and build more housing.