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City Priorities - affordable housing and housing affordability

From: domainremoved <Karen>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2018 09:01:27 -0800

Dear Mayor Ohtaki and City Council Members,


When I watched the video of the goal setting discussion at your last meeting, I was disturbed to hear nothing about affordable housing.


At Belle Haven school, in the last three years enrollment has declined dramatically, while homelessness has increased just as dramatically. This demonstrates that Menlo Park families are losing their homes, and it is unacceptable. 


We must solve this problem, and quickly. 


*High Density, Transit Oriented Affordable Housing on Public Land*


We have opportunities to develop high density affordable housing near our Cal Train station, and we should prioritize those potential solutions.  The parking plazas and the civic center are city-owned property and anything we do with those properties must give high-priority consideration to affordable housing.  


However, even in perfect circumstances, new transit-oriented multi-unit affordable housing will take years to build, so in the meantime, we must prioritize quicker solutions.


*Immediate Opportunity to Streamline Development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)*


According to the Bay Area Council, we have 1.5 million single family homes in the Bay Area, but far fewer than 1% include ADUs.  Barriers include lot size restrictions, setbacks, parking requirements and fees.  Menlo Park has all of these barriers, and we must prioritize removing them.  This morning, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story of the challenges one Menlo Park resident overcame in order to add an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to his property.  We must streamline this popular, win-win contribution to our housing crisis!


*Increase the Minimum Wage*


While ADUs have no guarantee of being rented at affordable rents, they can prevent displacement by helping families afford to stay in their homes by increasing their income. Another way to help families afford the rising cost of living in Menlo Park is to increase the minimum wage to $15, as our neighboring cities have done.  



Karen Grove

(housing commissioner, representing myself)

Received on Mon Jan 29 2018 - 09:04:31 PST

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