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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is affordable housing?

A home is generally considered affordable if a household pays 30% or less of their gross income (before taxes are taken out) towards rent. The term usually refers to homes affordable to people with low, very low and extremely low incomes, including low-wage working individuals and families, seniors on fixed incomes, veterans, and people with disabilities. The rents at this property will be regulated so that they are affordable compared to other unrestricted rental communities in the area.

2. What is the HomeKey program?

Project Homekey is a program by the State of California that provides local governmental agencies with funds to purchase and rehabilitate housing – such as hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and other properties – and convert them into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. On June 30, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the launch of Project Homekey to protect vulnerable Californians from the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding is available for counties, such as San Mateo, to collaborate with the state to acquire and rehabilitate various housing options and to provide supportive services. The county of San Mateo selected Alta Housing in a competitive process to lead operations and development of this Homekey site. Funding for the program comes from the State’s allocation of federal Coronavirus Aid Relief Funds and the state’s General Fund.

More information about this program can be found on the California Department of Housing and Community Development website:

3. Who will have the opportunity to live here?

The development will serve low, very low, and extremely low-income households in need of stable and affordable housing. Many of the residents who will be living at this property currently live in the surrounding community, have fallen on hard times and are trying to make positive changes in their lives. Accessing permanent supportive and affordable housing is a critical next step to making those positive changes, to living happy and healthy lives, and to becoming contributing members of the community.

4. I see homeless encampments nearby- will they get housed here?

A few months before units are ready for occupancy, potential residents may be referred to the property through the County’s Coordinated Entry System. CES is a centralized list of people in our community who are experiencing a housing crisis to ensure that those who need housing assistance the most will receive it first. Outreach workers regularly contact individuals living in encampments to offer housing assistance through CES.

5. Are background checks conducted?

Criminal background checks will be conducted and households will be screened in compliance with city, county, state and federal fair housing laws and guidelines. Results of criminal history are reviewed and considered based on past convictions and whether it involved behavior endangering people/property, use of drugs, and/or weapons. In addition to criminal background checks, current and prior landlord references are obtained and applicants go through a rigorous interview process.

6. How many people can live inside a unit? Will families be able to live at 1818 ECR?

Based on the unit size, 1-2 people will be the maximum number of people allowed to occupy each unit.

7. What services will be provided to residents?

Mental Health Association of San Mateo County will, under contract with Alta Housing, provide two FTE case managers to work on-site and one part-time Occupational Therapist. MHA will provide workshops for Health and Wellness as well as groups for community building. Practicing a Housing First Services approach, staff, particularly the MHA Occupational Therapist, will also work with residents and ongoing providers to assist with move in to determine/assess individual needs, e.g., medical, mental health, financial, in-home support and begin working on individualized plans, with those who are amenable, to develop plans to address. MHA has partnered with Alta Housing at their Fair Oaks Common site, which serves a similar population as this prospective site of formerly and chronically homeless individuals with <60% AMI, and services provided have been both supportive and complementary for the residents and staff. Overall services may include, but not limited to:

  • Case Management for individuals who have no external support service team.

  • Liaison between residents and property management staff as needed and appropriate

  • Assistance managing self-care and activities of daily living.

  • Training and assistance in budgeting, completing applications for financial assistance, entitlements, and representative payee help.

  • Mediation among residents

  • Mental Health referrals

  • Medical referrals

  • Transportation assistance

  • Assistance obtaining emergency food or financial assistance.

8. How can I be involved in the process?

One way community members can be involved in the process is by leaving their thoughts and comments on our webpage in the feedback section of this webpage. You can also subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on the progress of 1818 ECR. Through our website and newsletter you will hear of other engagement opportunities!

9. How much parking will be provided?

There will be 49 parking spaces provided at 1818 ECR, mean. From our experience working with these targeted populations, Alta Housing believes this site has ample parking.

10. How long will construction take?

We currently plan for the bulk of construction to take place from June to September, with a minimal amount of construction a few months after that. The vast majority of construction will be converting the interior of the motel units to permanent housing, so we do not expect that there will be significant neighborhood disturbance.