Affordable Housing

801 Alma: Affordable Housing

Housing and Renter Protections

I’ve spearheaded funding and promoting affordable housing, leading to a pipeline of nine projects—our most significant progress in decades. Through initiatives like Measure K funding, streamlined development processes, and robust renter protections, I'm committed to ensuring Palo Alto remains a diverse and inclusive community, offering vital housing and stability for all residents.

Affordable Housing

I have long been an effective advocate for affordable housing to support a socially and economically diverse population. 

Since rejoining the Council in 2021, I’ve worked to reinvigorate our focus on affordable housing resulting in the largest increase in affordable housing in over 30 years, with one completed, three projects under construction, and six more in the pipeline. This housing will be adjacent to transit, serving moderate and low-income residents including teachers, essential workers, and individuals transitioning from homelessness. I am committed to leading these projects across the goal line over the next four years.

“While others talk about affordable housing, Pat makes it a reality by bringing together the people and funding needed for success - from Wilton Court and Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, to projects in the pipeline now like Project Home Key transitional housing, to Mitchell Park Place for disabled adults and Grant Avenue teacher housing, he delivers.” 

--Winter Dellenbach, Affordable Housing Advocate

Measure K and Local Resources

Affordable housing requires local resources. In 2022, I was a leader in the success of Measure K, which dedicates $3 million per year for affordable housing that will be leveraged against state and federal funds for years to come. I’ve also successfully pushed to provide underutilized public lands for affordable housing. And, I supported initiatives to streamline the development process and reduce barriers to new housing.

Our Housing Plan

The city is now awaiting approval from the state of our Housing Plan for the next eight years, the largest increase in over 60 years. This plan provides for over 6,000 new units for families and individuals of all income levels throughout the city, from ADUs to high-density developments. 

But some local housing advocates are opposing state approval of our ambitious plan under unrealistic demands that it must meet their definition of perfection. 

Shockingly, they support radical proposals, based on the Builder’s Remedy, that ignore all local zoning like the 17-story proposal at the Molly Stone’s site (nearly twice the height of Palo Alto Square) and a 400 foot tall megaproject at the former Sunset Magazine site within a low-density residential neighborhood at our Menlo Park border. 

As we move forward, I will pursue additional housing locations in the Stanford Research Park, El Camino Real, the Stanford Shopping Center, and our downtowns. We can meet our housing needs and the state mandates while enhancing rather than destroying the human scale and livability of Palo Alto. 

Infrastructure Needs

Comprehensive planning is critical to ensure housing developments are well-integrated into the community with infrastructure such as parks, bike paths, transit, retail, and community services. I’ve been a leader in pursuing critical infrastructure improvements such as additional bus service and improved bike and pedestrian corridors that are critical to ensuring kids get to school safely. My colleagues, Julie Lythcott-Haims, Lydia Kou, and I are leading the negotiations to finally resolve the Cubberley issue by acquiring additional acreage from the school district needed to transform that community center.

Current Affordable Housing Projects

Recently Completed

Wilton Court for low income and disabled adults: a 59-unit development, completed in 2022, for single and two person households earning from 30% to 60% of the area median income (AMI), with 21 apartments reserved for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Under Construction

231 Grant Avenue Teacher Housing: 110 units of affordable housing complex for teachers and school staff scheduled for completion in 2025. 

Transitional Housing: 88 units in partnership with the state, the county, Sobrato Philanthropies, and LifeMoves to reduce our homeless population by serving over 100 individuals and families annually, providing full on-site support services to help homeless residents transition to permanent housing scheduled for completion in early 2025.

Mitchell Park Place at 525 Charleston Road: 50 units of affordable housing in collaboration with the county, including on-site services for disabled adults scheduled for completion in 2025.

Projects In the Pipeline

Charities Housing Project on 3001-3017 El Camino Real for very low income residents: known as the Charities Housing project, it will provide 129 units for extremely low- and very low-income residents, including units for formerly homeless individuals and families. 

Two Downtown Parking Lot Developments: the City is now developing two affordable housing projects on surface parking lots in the downtown area. 

Renovation and Permanent Housing at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Site: 61 units of new apartments and common area amenities will be added for the current mobile home residents while providing 44 new mobile homes on the balance of the site.

Affordable Housing at the Former Fry’s Site: the city negotiated 1.1 acres for 75 units of affordable housing next to a future 2-acre neighborhood park serving the Ventura neighborhood.

Teacher Housing at 3265 El Camino Real : 44 units for low and moderate income public school teachers. 

 

Renters

Renters make up almost half of the city’s population and I’ve consistently been a strong supporter of renter protections because I believe that these actions are crucial for maintaining the diversity and stability of the community, especially for moderate- and lower-income residents who are vital to the city's social fabric.

Here are some key policies I supported to help renters:

Just Cause Eviction Protections: In 2023, we lowered the occupancy requirement for just cause eviction protections from 12 months (as mandated by state law) to 6 months. This means renters are protected from no-cause evictions after just half a year of tenancy.

Security Deposit Cap: I fought to cap security deposits at 150% of the monthly rent for unfurnished apartments. This is more stringent than the state law, which allows deposits up to 200% of the monthly rent.

Relocation Assistance: As a result of my advocacy, landlords are now required to provide financial relocation assistance or a rent waiver in cases of no-fault just cause evictions. This helps mitigate the financial burden on tenants forced to move through no fault of their own.

Permanent Protections: While California’s state eviction protections are set to expire in 2030, Palo Alto has made its just cause eviction protections permanent. This ensures long-term stability for renters in the city.

Rental Registry: Our new registry will gather data on rental properties to better understand the needs of both renters and landlords. This program will enhance transparency, and help us continue to plan for the needs of renters in the future.