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

Consolidated Plan Contact


The City of San Mateo, California is located approximately half way between San Francisco and San Jose on the San Francisco peninsula. San Mateo encompasses approximately 13.5 square miles and has an estimated population of 90,000 persons. The City has little undeveloped land and serves as a local retail/office center as well as a residential community.

Action Plan

The City of San Mateo Consolidated Plan is a comprehensive analysis of housing and community development needs, a five year strategy to address those needs, and a one year action plan to implement various programs and projects. This plan serves as application for funding for approximately $1.4 million for two federal programs in 1995, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership Program. The primary purpose of this plan is to provide decent housing, provide a desirable living environment, and expand economic opportunities in the City of San Mateo.

Citizen Participation

A number of resources have been used to bring the Consolidated Plan together. Several existing plans were used as reference materials: the General Plan, Two-Year Financial Plan, the Comprehensive Housing Assistance Plan, and the Long Term Capital Improvement Plan. These documents all utilized extensive citizen participation in the form of workshops, hearings, and solicitation of written comments.

In addition, specific hearings were scheduled for the Consolidated Plan. A workshop sponsored by the San Mateo Human Resources Commission (HRC) was held on

February 7, 1995 to gather input on the community needs. A draft of the Consolidated Plan was available for a thirty day public comment period beginning on March 17, 1995. The HRC held hearings on April 11, 1995 and April 25, 1995 to review the draft Plan. The City Council adopted the final plan at a public meeting on May 1, 1995.


The City of San Mateo's population is becoming more diverse in race and ethnic origin. Although the population of all racial groups increased in absolute numbers over the last ten years, there have been shifts in the makeup of the community. The percentage of non-Hispanic whites dropped from 78%, according to the 1980 census, to 68% in the 1990 census. The Hispanic population increased from 9% of the total in 1980 to 15% in 1990. The percentage of Asian and Pacific Islanders increased from 9% to 14%, and the Black population decreased slightly from 4% to 3%. Two neighborhoods, the North Central and the entire Shoreview area, have higher concentrations (40%-82%) of minority residents than the citywide average of 32%.

The population overall is aging. The fastest growing age groups are those over 65 and those under 5 years of age. Age distribution varies by area within the community. Overall the population west of El Camino Real is older than the city average and the population east of U.S. 101 is younger than the city average.

The 1990 median income for San Mateo was $51,502 which was slightly lower than the county wide median, and significantly higher than the national median of $35,959. The percentage of minority households that are low and moderate income roughly matches that of the general population figures. One exception is the racial makeup of those families (4,500 households, or 6% of the total population) who live below the poverty level. This group is comprised of 38% white, 35% Hispanic, 19% Asian, and 7% others. The North Central and the northern part of Shoreview have the highest concentrations of low and moderate income households.



The City of San Mateo is a substantially "built-out" community, with little raw land available for development. Most of the residential development occurred from the 1940's to the 1960's, whereas most of the commercial growth occurred in the 1970's and 1980's. These development patterns have changed the character of San Mateo from a "bedroom community" to a place where people live and work. The level of employment compared to housing is well balanced with a jobs/housing ratio of .95.

Housing Needs

The primary housing need for San Mateo is affordability. Since 1970 property values have risen astronomically. The median price of a house in 1970 was $32,600. In 1980 the median price was $123,000 and in 1990, it was $344,300. In 1989, only 17% of the population could afford to purchase the median priced home. According to census data in 1990, 37% of all renter and owner households reported paying more than 30% of their income for housing.

About 7% of the total households are overcrowded.

Housing Market Conditions

Approximately 45% of the city's housing stock is single family units and 55% of the units are located in multifamily complexes. Similarly, the renter and ownership ratio is approximately half and half. The rental vacancy rate is fairly stable at 4%.

About three fourths of the existing housing stock was built over 25 years ago and over half was built prior to 1960. Overall, the general condition of housing is good, with a low percentage of units considered substandard. However deferred maintenance can be identified throughout the community.

Affordable Housing Needs

Low income renter households, with incomes less than 50% of the median income, are subject to the worst housing conditions and have the greatest needs in the community. High housing costs not only place a severe cost burden, but also lead to overcrowding as families double up to save money. Large households (5 or more persons) and Hispanic families have shown the greatest need within this group.

Low income owners also face an affordability problem, however overcrowding is not as significant as with renters. Within this group, the elderly and Hispanic families demonstrate a greater need than the other groups.

Moderate income renters and owners, with incomes between 50% and 80% of the median income, primarily have affordability housing problems. Large family renters and Hispanic owners demonstrated the greatest needs within this group.

Homeless Needs

Recent data suggests that approximately 2,000 persons in San Mateo experienced an episode of homelessness over a 12 month period. A countywide survey of homeless persons seeking services showed that nearly half of those surveyed had children and about 60% reported that they were homeless for the first time. About 60% reported that inability to pay rent was the main reason for homelessness. Approximately 22% reported that drug and/or alcohol abuse contributed to their homelessness.

Sixty five percent of those surveyed were unemployed, 22% had a full or part-time job, and about 13% received public assistance. The employment and housing cost factors indicate that job training related services in conjunction with transitional housing, especially for families, is the greatest homeless need in order to stabilize family situations.

Other homeless needs identified are the smaller groups which include those who are mentally ill, those with substance abuse problems, those with AIDS, and those fleeing domestic abuse.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

There are no publicly owned housing units in San Mateo. However there are about 500 senior rental units and six family rental units which have some sort of public financial support to ensure affordability. Approximately 500 additional families are assisted with the Section 8 Rental program in scattered units around the community each year. There are also approximately 175 first time homebuyer units assisted with government funds. All of the units are in good physical condition and have long waiting lists.

One complex, Edgewater Isle, has some units at risk of losing their affordability before the year 2000. Currently all 92 units in this senior rental project are affordable to low and moderate income persons, however 67 units are at risk should the owner decide to prepay a Redevelopment Agency loan in place. It is a high priority to explore alternatives to retain the affordability of the entire complex.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

The City of San Mateo becomes very involved in the development of housing through its development review and building permit processes. The various codes and permits are considered necessary to protect the safety and welfare of the community. To a certain extent, these regulations are a constraint on the ability of the private market to develop housing. The City's policy is that the charges for processing fees are based on actual administrative costs. In addition there is a traffic impact fee, sewage treatment plant expansion fee, a park in-lieu fee, and a school impact fee. Developers are also responsible to pay for all infrastructure and public improvements directly associated with the proposed development. A 1990 survey indicated that San Mateo's average total development fee of $5,575 per unit is less than the average of $8,750 charged by neighboring cities.

The capacity of the sewage treatment plant and availability of water may limit housing development in the future. The capacity of the Water Quality Control Plant in San Mateo is being expanded to accommodate projected development through the year 2005.

While government processing and fees add somewhat to the cost of housing, market conditions, namely the cost of land, has the biggest impact on housing affordability.

Lead-Based Paint

Most housing units built prior to 1978 have some form of lead-based paint hazard, which increases with the age of the structure. Based on assumptions from national averages, an estimated 3,662 low income households live in structures with lead-based paint. These structures pose a health hazard when the paint is in disrepair. A windshield survey of the lowest income neighborhoods, indicated that approximately 450 housing units may have lead-based paint hazards. The County Health Department reported no reported cases of lead-based paint in children over the last three years.

Community Development Needs

Capital Improvements/Code Enforcement In 1994, San Mateo developed a Long Term Capital Improvement Plan which identified, prioritized, and identified funding sources for all foreseeable capital improvement projects through the year 2005. For purposes of this report, the needs identified which could be funded with federal CDBG funds are street and sidewalk repairs, accessibility improvements to City owned facilities, and finalizing Gateway Park Improvements. Code Enforcement in the North Central and North Shoreview neighborhoods has been identified as a priority need as well.

Public Services A variety of social service needs have been identified in San Mateo. However, input from citizens and service providers indicate that the greatest needs are services for youth and job training. Child care, education and crime prevention have also been identified as significant needs. It has been noted that there are many linkages among the greatest needs. As a result, an overall priority of prevention of social problems and encouragement of self-sufficiency has emerged.

Economic Development Job creation and support of businesses in the community has been identified as a need.


The Housing and Economic Development Division (HED) is the lead public agency for the administration of special funds used for the community development activities in San Mateo. The City also coordinates with the County Housing Division and the Housing Authority to implement various housing programs.

Nonprofit agencies play an important role in provision of services for San Mateo residents. The City provides funding to a number of agencies each year. The City also relies on various agencies to provide fair housing counseling services, property management services, and technical assistance in their specialty fields.

Private sector organizations have developed partnerships with the City especially in the areas of developing and financing housing projects.


Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

In 1990, the City's General Plan adopted three major housing goals. The first is to promote a desirable community by maintaining the character and physical quality of existing neighborhoods. The second is to maintain a diversity of housing opportunities, including a variety of housing types and affordability levels. The third goal is to increase the housing supply in order to meet the housing demand caused by future job growth.

Housing Priorities

Preserve Existing Housing Stock Preserving the existing housing stock is considered critical since there is little land to develop new housing, and it is generally less expensive to repair than to demolish and rebuild. The key components include housing rehabilitation and minor home repair programs, lead-based paint abatement, financial assistance to renters and first time home buyers, and assisting units at risk of losing affordability in the near future.

Expand Affordable Housing Opportunities Developing new housing opportunities is a critical need, yet is a challenge due to high land costs. Strategies include encouragement of legalization and construction of secondary units, adoption of an inclusionary zoning ordinance that requires below market rate units, conversion of vacant commercial space to residential units, acquisition of land for housing, coordination with nonprofit and for-profit organizations to develop new housing.

Address Special Needs Housing Including Homelessness Most programs that address persons with special needs are operated in a regional manner. San Mateo generally supports these programs through financial support, rather than direct implementation. Strategies include continuation of community funding programs and coordination with countywide task forces and coalitions.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

Capital Improvement priorities include final environmental cleanup and completion of entry feature at Gateway Park, street and sidewalk improvements in North Central and North Shoreview neighborhoods, and accessibility modifications to City owned facilities.

Other priorities include provision of funding to community social service providers, code enforcement activities in the North Central and North Shoreview neighborhoods, and economic development activities to retain and create jobs.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

Efforts to eliminate poverty in San Mateo has a three-fold approach: 1) strengthen the economic base in order to create and retain job opportunities; 2) provide affordable housing; and 3) provide services to help people attain self-sufficiency. In order to implement these goals, the City coordinates with the Redevelopment Agency, the Chamber of Commerce, and merchant associations, private businesses, and nonprofit agencies.

Housing and Community Development Resources

The primary federal programs that provide financial assistance to City community development programs include Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnership Program, Rental Rehabilitation program income, Mortgage Credit Certificates, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and the Section 8 Rental Assistance program. At the local level, programs are assisted by Redevelopment Agency funds, and the Below Market Rate Housing Program. There are no State funds that are currently being received, but there programs that could be available on a specific project basis including California Housing Finance Agency programsand the State Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

The Community Reinvestment Act has been instrumental in motivating local lenders to participate in several housing programs. There are also opportunities to partner with private for profit and nonprofit organizations.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

The Housing and Economic Development Division (HED) is the lead agency in coordinating the programs in this plan. It also administers both the special federal grants and the Redevelopment Agency funds. This office also provides the primary liaison for outside public agencies, nonprofit and private organizations.


Description of Key Projects

The following are programs planned in 1995 in order to implement the Five Year Strategy:

Community Development Block Grant
Housing Rehabilitation Program$ 611,000
Community Funding$ 207,000
ADA Accessibility$ 265,000
Gateway Park$ 85,000
Street Repair$ 60,000
Code Enforcement$ 80,000
Economic Development$ 185,000
Administration$ 158,000
St. Matthew's Hotel$ 714,000
Hand, Inc.$ 135,000
TOTAL$ 849,000
Redevelopment Agency Housing Set-Aside
Community Funding$ 130,000
First Time Homebuyer$ 600,000
BMR Fee Assistance$ 60,000
Affordable Housing Fund$2,470,000


Several programs are available to low and moderate income residents citywide: Housing Rehabilitation, Minor Home Repair, Community Funding, First Time Homebuyer, and BMR Assistance.

Street Repairs, Code Enforcement, and Gateway Park Improvements are located in the low and moderate income target areas in North Central and North Shoreview neighborhoods.

The St. Matthews Hotel is located downtown San Mateo.

Housing Goals

The housing program goals include repairing approximately 30 homes through the Rehab and Minor Home Repair Programs, assisting 30-35 first time home buyers, constructing 6 new ownership units in the Below Market Rate program, and developing 25 single room occupancy and 32 studio units at the St. Matthew's Hotel. In addition, staff will pursue alternatives to retain 67 affordable senior rental units at Edgewater Isle. Numerous households, especially those with special needs, will be assisted through the Community Funding Housing Programs: Battered Women's Shelter, First and Last Months Rent, Center for the Disabled, Catholic Charities, Shared Housing Program, ELLIPSE (rent assistance for families impacted by HIV/AIDS), Mental Health Association, and Turning Point (a transitional homeless shelter).


MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.

MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.

MAP 3 depicts low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.

MAP 4 depicts low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.

MAP 5 depicts low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

To comment on San Mateo's Consolidated Plan, please contact:
Sandra Council
Housing and Economic Development Specialist
City of San Mateo
(415) 377-3394

Return to California's Consolidated Plans.