While it is certainly gratifying to recognize and appreciate the major accomplishments and successes of your Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County
in 2016, this reflection and appraisal of the year now ending really comes with mixed emotions for me.
While most of us have a safe, stable and decent place to live, far too many of our fellow residents and working families are being devastated by economic evictions, displacement and homelessness and much of our local workforce must spend hours commuting into our county each day. The social fabric of our communities is being ripped apart even as I write these words.
Our friends and highly-respected colleagues at The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County and Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto recently released a major new study on evictions in San Mateo County (find it here)
. The report documents a 308% increase in reported no-cause evictions over the past three years disproportionately affecting our Black and Latino families.
It is a heartbreaking document to read and, quite frankly, we are better than this as a community and must prove it now by mobilizing and committing to live up to our best values of compassion, inclusion and equity for all. This means directly and aggressively addressing the housing affordability crisis faced by so many of our friends and neighbors.
At the same time, we are heartened and given hope by the excellent work over the past year of the County of San Mateo's Closing the Jobs-Housing Gap Task Force - comprised of elected officials and a broad array of local stakeholders - which led directly to the passage in November of the Measure K 20-year County sales tax extension. The revenue measure was approved by over 70% of voters and, over time, will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for investments in affordable housing; including for new construction and the acquisition and preservation of existing affordable stock.
We are also excited about another work product and action item that came out of the Closing the Jobs-Housing Gap Task Force
: the creation of the Home for All San Mateo County
initiative [learn more here: homeforallsmc.org
]. HLC's board of directors and staff are ready to help lead the implementation of the initiative's comprehensive action plan in the new year.
While HLC continues to build internal capacity as an organization, grow our external reach and increase our overall effectiveness, we need you to join us and support our work in 2017. Let's demonstrate through our actions what I like to call the "San Mateo County Way." It is a way of "3 C's": Caring, Compassion and Collaboration. We always reach out to care for those among us hurting and in need; and we do so together.
We are very grateful for your friendship, encouragement and participation in our work. People are counting on us now more than ever.
We wish you a wonderful holiday season.
Michael Lane, President - Board of Directors
Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County