U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


Redwood City, incorporated in 1867, is located 25 miles south of San Francisco and is the San Mateo County Seat. The current resident population is approximately 71,000. Redwood City combines residential, industrial and commercial elements in a largely urban environment. The City's waterfront provides a yacht harbor and the only deep water port in the South Bay.

Action Plan

The Redwood City Consolidated Plan presents a strategy committed to pursuing all available federal, state and local resources in order to meet its housing and community development needs. The Consolidated Plan includes a One-year Action Plan for spending $1,175,084 of CDBG and CDBG carryover funds in 1995.

Citizen Participation

Redwood City's Consolidated Plan was developed in conjunction with the public pursuant to an adopted Citizen Participation Plan. Needs assessment hearings and various approvals of the process (nineteen public meetings) involved all levels of health, education, employment, housing, homeless and service providers, as well as various levels of appointed and elected decision makers beginning in October 1994 and ending with approval of the Consolidated Plan in May 1995. The Plan represents the affordable housing and service needs of the City's population of 71,000, particularly those households with family incomes below the median income for Redwood City.


Redwood City has a population of approximately 71,000 people. In 1990 the City had 25,493 households. Over half (50.4%) of all households consisted of families headed by married couples. An additional 14.6% of the households were families headed by single parents. Some 29.7% of the households consisted of single persons living alone.

The average household size has increased in the last decade from 2.08 to 2.52 persons. Lower income tracts in the City showed a significantly higher occupancy rate than the more affluent tracts. The tracts with higher occupancy rates also have a higher minority concentration and contain more overcrowded units.

The citywide breakdown by ethnicity is as follows: White-65.8%, Hispanic-24.1%, Asian/Pacific Islander-6.1%, Black-3.4%, American Indian/Alaskan Native-.04% and Other-.02%. Minority residents are generally concentrated within the Census Tracts that also have a concentration of low income households, tracts 6101, 6102, 6104, 6107, 6108 and 6109. Minority households make up an estimated 6,101 households or 24% of all Redwood City's households. Census data indicates that approximately 47% of the Minority households in the City are very low and low income.

According to the 1990 Census, 49% of the housing stock in Redwood City is renter occupied. Approximately 60% of the housing units were constructed prior to 1960.



While housing prices are high throughout the Bay area, Redwood City's central location on the Peninsula is attractive and housing costs remain lower than in most of the surrounding communities. However, housing is not affordable to a large percentage of Redwood City residents. The increasing number of low paying jobs result in an increasing number of people who cannot afford housing at the market rate. Many people employed in Redwood City cannot afford to live in Redwood City and therefore commute each day, adding to traffic congestion and environmental pollution.

The 1990 census shows that 50.4% (12,848) of the dwelling units in Redwood City were constructed prior to 1960. These units are now over 30 years old and in need of rehabilitation. Ten percent (2,586) of the dwelling units were built prior to 1940 and require various amounts of rehabilitation to keep them in good condition.

Redwood City has estimated, based on U.S. Census and survey data by the City staff, that there are 3,937 substandard units with 2,975 suitable for rehabilitation. The cost of housing in Redwood City has little correlation with the condition of the units. Rents for substandard housing in target concentrated neighborhoods is often equal to or greater than the cost of standard rental units in other areas of the City.

Ethnic minority owner occupied households and larger families with incomes below 30%, 31 to 50%, and 51 to 80% of the area median income occupy a disproportionately high percentage of substandard housing, when compared to all households.

Housing Needs

In determining the need for housing in an area, the California State Legislature requires that the regional council of government consider the need for housing at all income levels. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has made a housing needs determination study for all jurisdictions in the Bay Area. Those needs are determined by the use of three categories: 1) existing need, 2) projected need and 3) alternative zoning need. The ABAG projected total housing need for Redwood City and its sphere of influence (unincorporated county areas under the City's jurisdiction) is for 4,741 units for the period 1988-1995. During the past seven years Redwood City has produced 1,372 units or 29% of the identified need. There has been a dramatic decrease in the number of units built since 1990. Market conditions and lack of financing are responsible for the sudden change. Residential property is available for development, but the changing market conditions make it too risky for most developers.

Housing Market Conditions

Redwood City's central location on the Peninsula is attractive and housing costs remain lower than in most of the surrounding communities. The average selling price of any house sold between January and April of 1995 was $332,000. Inspite of the relative affordability of housing in Redwood City, there are many who cannot afford housing at the market rate. Additionally, overcrowding becomes a way of life for low income households with incomes sufficient to own their own units.

As the demand for rental housing increases, so do rents; as extended families occupy undersized units, the rate of deterioration increases and so do the number of substandard units. Many of Redwood City's housing problems would be solved if there was a balance between the supply and demand of affordable housing and if incomes kept pace with the cost of living.

Affordable Housing Needs

Very low income renters: Large related families are forced to endure overcrowded living situations and single individuals must choose shared housing arrangements or both groups fall into the state of homelessness. Census summary data indicates that 97.4% of those large related rental households at or below 30% of area median income live in an overcrowded situation. An analysis of the entire rental market indicates that as income increases the incidence of overcrowding diminishes slightly. However, the rate of overcrowding for large related households (78.4%) is relatively unaffected and remains three times that of the market norm of 23.4%.

Despite a significant increase in income, households at or below 80% of the area median income experience a comparably high incidence of overcrowding in rental housing, similar to that of very low income households. Secondly, and also similar to very low income households, the percentage of large related households experiencing overcrowding is more than 3 times greater than the percentage of all renters within that income group.

Very low income owner occupied households: Approximately 18.6% of the 13,646 owner occupied households, are owned by households whose income is at or below 80% of the area median income, however, only 6.7% are owned by households at or below 30% of the area median income.

There is a low incidence of overcrowding (6.2%) in owner occupied households at or below 30% of the area median income, however, the incidence of overcrowding more than doubles when households other than the elderly (14% in this category) are considered. This results in a disproportionate number of Black and Hispanic households residing in substandard housing which is also often overcrowded.

Other low income owner occupied households: Low income homeowners at or below 80% of the median income have a much lower incidence of overcrowding (12.5) than those homeowners below 51% of the median income (31.5%). By excluding elderly homeowners, the percentage of overcrowded households more than doubles.

Homeless Needs

The homeless situation is a challenging crisis in San Mateo County which boasts the second highest average cost of living in California. The 1990 Census has counted the visible homeless population of Redwood City to be 216 individuals. An estimated 125 of these were visible from the street and 91 were staying in emergency shelters. This figure is considered to be inherently low by the various professionals providing shelter and social services. The Hunger and Homeless Coalition 1990 report on the homeless estimates the San Mateo County homeless population to be approximately 8,665. At 11.2% of the County's 1990 population, Redwood City's homeless are estimated to account for at least 970, 398 (41%) being homeless children.

The difficulty of counting the homeless residents of Redwood City is attributable to several factors. A number of homeless may be temporarily staying with friends or family, or sleeping in cars and garages. Others, usually single homeless, choose to say on a transit bus for the night to keep warm. Another factor for the low representation of homeless is the number of illegal immigrants in Redwood City who do not wish to be counted but who comprise a significant percentage of the homeless population.

The homeless population of Redwood City is diverse in terms of ethnicity, race age and background. According to the study conducted by the Emergency Hunger and Housing Coalition in 1990, 41% of the surveyed homeless are children, leaving 59% adults, 48% of whom have children, and 15% of whom are single mothers. Veterans contribute to 8% of the homeless and people who have been in prison comprise 10% of the homeless surveyed.

The Consolidated Plan lists available support services to homeless and non-homeless persons with special needs. These services range from the provision of transitional housing to the substance abuse programs, food and housing services, education and long term case management. However, these shelters and programs combined are unable to meet the growing needs of the very low income population deprived of sufficient housing. A priority of the Redwood City Housing and Redevelopment Division and Fair Oaks Community Center, as well as of the many non-profit agencies servicing Redwood City residents, is to concentrate resources towards transitional housing and services which will enable the poverty level resident to become economically independent and sufficient. Half the homeless surveyed said the service they needed the most was transitional housing, while 35% said emergency shelter would be a higher priority.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

PUBLIC HOUSING: There are four projects in Redwood City which have federally assisted very low income housing units which will become eligible for conversion to market rate at a future date. Redwood Court, 365 Spruce Street, is a 27 unit family housing project. Heron Court, 350 Gunter Lane is a 104 unit elderly and family limited equity housing cooperative. Casa de Redwood, 1280Veterans Boulevard, is a 136-unit senior housing facility. Redwood Commons, 875 Walnut Street is a 59 unit elderly housing development with full services.

SECTION 8: Currently, there are 533 units in Redwood City assisted by Section 8 housing subsidies. The Section 8 program for Redwood City is administered by the San Mateo County Housing Authority. In 1994, the Housing Authority accepted applications for Section 8 subsidies on only seven days because demand far exceeded the supply of available subsidies. The countywide waiting list for families seeking Section 8 Certificates exceeds 17,000. There are a total of 1,196 Redwood City families on the waiting list for rental subsidies from the San Mateo County Housing Authority and many other families in need that cannot even get on the waiting list.

There is a disproportionate need for housing subsidies for Hispanic families. Families will continue to overcrowd when the alternative is homelessness.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Redwood City has identified the following issues as barriers to affordable housing:

LAND COSTS: The greatest barrier to affordable housing in Redwood City is the cost of land. The average cost of raw land $20 per square foot, at a minimum, with improved land for single family developments selling at $40 per square foot and up. An adequate supply of affordable housing is not being built in this area because developers can not sell the units at an "affordable" price and still make a profit.

ZONING: Residentially zoned land in Redwood City allows a maximum of 36 units per acre; some commercial areas is the density allowed to go higher. Accessory dwellings are required to have one additional parking space, which is difficult to provide on most sites. Parking requirements for multifamily dwellings are relatively high at two spaces per unit. The lack of public transportation in the area makes this requirement necessary.

CITY IMPOSED FEES, COSTS AND REQUIREMENTS: One of the barriers to construction of affordable housing is city imposed requirements, costs and fees.

SENSITIVITY TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Lack of effective communication on issues of affordable housing can create fear in surrounding residents, resulting in delays in the public review process for projects; the extra time taken in the review of such projects increases the cost of development.

COURT ORDERS AND HUD SANCTIONS: The requirements to meet Davis Bacon payment of prevailing wages limits community participation in affordable housing projects through donated labor. Construction costs are increased and affects the project's affordability.

RELOCATION: Relocation costs can often render acquisition and rehabilitation projects as unfeasible. Due to severe overcrowding in Redwood City neighborhoods where rehabilitation is needed most, many projects are denied because the cost of relocation exceeds the cost of rehabilitation.

Fair Housing

Disparate treatment of many family and individual households continues to be an impediment to fair housing choice for many residents. During the early 1980's, Discrimination Audits showed that 45% of Hispanics and 60-65% of Black home seekers received differential treatment from white home seekers with identical profiles. Large families, ethnic minorities, and homeless persons on public assistance continue to encounter discrimination. As in the past, the City will continue to provide affirmative fair housing services to assist low income households who have received differential treatment in their search for housing.

Lead-Based Paint

According to 1990 Census data, approximately 51% of Redwood City's housing stock was constructed prior to 1960 and it is likely that a moderate percentage represents a lead-based paint hazard.

Through the efforts of the Rental Rehabilitation and Housing Rehabilitation Programs, Redwood City has and will continue to work to reduce the number of units which present a lead based paint hazard. In the event that the potential for lead poisoning is determined, the scope of work to rehabilitate the dwelling will include either the encapsulation or abatement of the hazardous materials.

The City will pursue the opportunity to work with the San Mateo County Environmental Health Department and other CDBG Coordinators within the County to develop a countywide lead based paint testing and abatement program. A lead agency in this proposed effort is the Child Health Disability Program of the County Environmental Health Department. The Child Health Disability Program receives referrals regarding children that have been tested and were confirmed to have elevated levels of lead. Subsequently referrals are made to the Environmental Health Department to test the physical structure in which the children reside.

Community Development Needs

NEIGHBORHOOD FACILITIES: The primary need to be addressed in neighborhood facilities is accessibility to programs and services by persons with disabilities through the removal of architectural and non-architectural barriers.

SENIOR FACILITIES: There are two senior centers, both less than 15 years old. No new senior development facilities have been identified as a need. There is a strong need for adult day care for seniors, however, this need is currently being met through participation with adjoining cities.

CHILD CARE FACILITIES: The need for child care sites continues, especially for after school programs, and because of the shortage of classroom space at local schools. The need for operating costs is greater than the need for additional facilities, because child care assistance is required by most low income families in order to afford the service. There is also a need for child care facilities located near training and job development programs.

TRANSPORTATION: The single element required for many low income residents to participate in development programs is transportation. There is a need for safe transportation so that youth can access youth facilities and programs outside their immediate neighborhoods. There is a need for transportation for the elderly and persons with disabilities to encourage independence, socialization, and development activities which will promote good mental and physical health.

RECREATIONAL FACILITIES: The City is currently constructing a new recreational facility which includes youth clubs and programs. No new facilities are anticipated beyond the Red Morton Recreation Center.

INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS: The need to continually upgrade and replace major infrastructure systems is ongoing. The City will continually apply for transportation and infrastructure funding from federal and state sources to meet this need, without taking away funding for housing and supportive service funding.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: One of the most critical needs of the Redwood City community is economic development, job creation and job training programs. There is a need to assist small businesses, start up businesses in the downtown area, and established businesses to provide an incentive to train and employ local low income residents. There is also a need to further train and provide job skills to those who are currently unemployed, underemployed, and those residents who are working toward self sufficiency in a coordinated program. Development of such programs will require both funding for facilities and operating costs to carry out this goal, including coordination with affordable housing and child care services. Jobs created must be of various wage levels in order for people to move from service to higher level jobs. Jobs created must also support the needs of businesses in the area to encourage people to reduce commuting on Bay Area freeways. This concept of job development and training tied to housing and child care is a major theme of this Consolidated Plan.


There are several Advisory Boards, Committees and Commissions appointed by Council which help to shape and develop Redwood City's housing policy and social service goals. These groups are made up of private citizens and of city staff.

The two general structures in place which will play major roles in the development of housing in Redwood City are the City Council and the Redevelopment Agency Board. The primary intergovernmental entity responsible for negotiating and producing affordable housing is the Housing and Redevelopment Division of the Community Development Department which includes Planning, Building and Engineering Divisions. The congregation of all the development disciplines within one department results in a coordinated response to development issues.

The City currently is party to several participation agreements with San Mateo County for the administration of mortgage credit certificates and home ownership program administration, and has established relationships with both non-profit and private developers for the delivery of housing and supportive services.


Vision for Change

Key elements of Redwood City's vision for change include the strategy to network to provide each household with a more comprehensive level of services leading to self sufficiency. Policies have been integrated into the Strategy as a base from which programs and services will be developed to meet the needs identified in Housing and Homeless Needs over the five year period of this Plan. Programs selected for funding should be determined by services required to reach self sufficiency. Economic Development and Job Training/Job Creation and permanent housing are given primary emphasis throughout this Plan.

Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

Based on gaps identified in service delivery, the City will place primary emphasis on housing for those of lowest income in order to adequately address the needs for affordable housing. Implementation of priorities would accomplish: 1) the protection and replacement of the existing supply of affordable housing, 2) the utilization of all available federal and state funding for new development to assist low and very low income households where appropriate, and 3) the recognition of economic development and job training programs as essential ingredients in breaking the cycle of poverty and providing a solution to homelessness.

Housing Priorities

The following priorities are proposed to be implemented during the five year term of the Consolidated Plan:

PRIORITY # 1: Preserve the existing housing stock through substantial and moderate rehabilitation.

PRIORITY # 2: Increase the supply of affordable rental, ownership and transitional housing which is decent, safe and sanitary through the provision of low interest loans for acquisition and rehabilitation. Create additional affordable rental and ownership units through new construction. Increase the supply of large units for families. Provide incentives to developers of new construction with affordable units with three or more bedrooms. Expand the supply of transitional housing units for homeless persons, including accessible units for persons who are disabled and homeless or have special housing needs.

PRIORITY # 3: Increase the supply of permanent safe and sanitary affordable rental and ownership housing units available to low and very low income households.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

PRIORITY # 1: Provide financial assistance for supportive housing programs which address housing discrimination, shared housing for elderly and single parent households, special needs populations and operation funds for emergency and transitional housing programs for the homeless. Provide supportive housing service assistance to service providers and facilitate assistance for up to 1200 to 1500 low and moderate income households annually during the five year term of this Consolidated Plan. This goal includes Human Services Financial Assistance program funds.

PRIORITY # 2: Provide Financial Assistance Programs to individuals which will help them to achieve affordable housing.

PRIORITY # 3: Provide economic development and job training/development assistance programs to individuals which will help them to achieve self-sufficiency.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

The City will continue to coordinate its efforts to implement affordable housing and poverty reduction strategies on a countywide level. The City will use the CDBG and Human Services Financial Assistance (HSFA) Program to fund intervention and essential service programs, homeless assistance, permanent housing and economic development/job training to assist at risk households to achieve self sufficiency. As a condition of funding, organizations must commit to networking and collaborating with other service providers on a continuum of care basis.

The Fair Oaks Community Center will continue to serve as the nucleus of the City's human service coordination efforts as one of seven countywide Core Services Network Agencies responsible for coordinating services for low and very low income households in Redwood City. The City has also created the Human Services Task Force of Redwood City which meets quarterly for the coordination of ongoing programs, taking leadership roles in the sharing of resources and ideas, all designed to reduce the number of homeless and poverty stricken households in Redwood City.

Housing and Community Development Resources

PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS: The Redwood City Redevelopment Agency is obligated to set-a-side 20% of the property tax increment it receives for low and moderate income housing into a Housing Fund. Other resources currently available to the City to carry out affordable housing programs include Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and CDBG Program Income from Housing Rehabilitation Loans. CDBG grant funds will continue to support community organizations providing affordable housing, homeless and supportive services, and community development needs, including economic development and job training activities. Program income funds will be used to continue preserving the existing rental and owner occupied housing stock. Human Services Financial Assistance funds from City general revenue will continue to be used for supportive services.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

The City will coordinate its efforts and enter into partnerships with public and private entities in order to further the implementation of this Plan. In addition to coordinating with local service and housing assistance providers, the City will coordinate its activities, where possible, with other jurisdictions within San Mateo County to further maximize and leverage resources. Needs, goals and priorities will be reviewed annually with Redwood City citizens and service providers to allow flexibility in addressing changing needs.


Description of Key Projects, Locations, Lead Agencies

The Redwood City One-Year Action Plan outlines the proposed use of approximately $1,175,084 in CDBG and CDBG carryover funds. These funds will be spent on an array of activities including:





Economic Development Removal of Architectural Barriers


Housing Goals

HOUSING REHABILITATION PROGRAM GOALS - Approximately 20 to 25 units per year can reasonably be expected to be rehabilitated during the term of this Consolidated Plan.

RENTAL REHABILITATION PROGRAM GOALS - This program can reasonably be expected to complete rehabilitation on 25 rental units per year over the life of this Consolidated Plan.

HOUSING FUND PROGRAM GOALS: Assist in the development of 100 new affordable units for low and very low income households. Assure that at least 15% of the new units constructed or rehabilitated will accommodate persons with disabilities. Assure that a portion of the units acquired or developed are two bedrooms or larger to meet the needs of large family households.

RENTAL DEPOSIT PROGRAM GOALS - It is anticipated that up to 10 households could be assisted during each year of the term of this Consolidated Plan.

TENANT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM GOALS - No numerical goals are set for relocation activities since every effort is made to minimize displacement. Approximately 6 persons per year are currently being assisted in the independent living program and service is continuing at that level.

RELOCATION ORDINANCE # 2048 GOALS - No numerical goals are set for this program.

FIRST TIME HOME BUYER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM GOALS - No numerical goals will be set until additional financing is secured for the program.

PERMANENT RENTAL HOUSING CONSTRUCTION GOALS - The City and Redevelopment Agency propose to provide 83 family units, one to four bedrooms, with rents affordable to households at or below 60% of median income. These units would likely also be affordable to households at or below 60% of median income, with units containing two to four bedrooms.

ACQUISITION/REHABILITATION OF EXISTING RENTAL HOUSING GOALS - The total number of units to be acquired under this activity is 32 units.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING LAND BANKING PROGRAM GOALS - It is anticipated that approximately 100 units could be developed under this program over the next 5 to 7 years.


MAP 1 - A map of the entire community showing points of interest.

MAP 2 - A map of the entire community showing points of interest and an outline of low/mod areas.

MAP 3 - A map of the entire community showing the low/mod outline and area of minority concentration.

MAP 4 - A map of the entire community showing the low/mod outline and unemployment.

MAP 5 - A street level map showing projects with low/mod and unemployment.

To comment on Redwood City's Consolidated Plan, please contact:
Ms. Debbie Jones-Thomas
Phone - (415)780-7290 Fax - (415)780-0128
Housing Coordinator
City of Redwood City
P.O. Box 391
Redwood City, CA 94064

Return to California's Consolidated Plans.