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County seeks housing help: Housing Authority to hire outside firm to locate housing for voucher holders
December 07, 2015, 05:00 AM Daily Journal staff report

Noting that Section 8 voucher holders in San Mateo County are increasingly unable to find places to live, the Housing Authority is set to hire a private nonprofit to provide “Housing Locator Services.”

The authority is set to contract with Abode Services for the next three years to try to increase housing choices for voucher holders, with assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The contract is not to exceed $750,000, according to a staff report to the Board of Supervisors by Housing Authority Executive Director Ken Cole.

The authority has made efforts to increase utilization of the vouchers by increasing subsidy amounts, increasing outreach to potential landlords and leveraging the federal dollars to build more affordable housing in the county.

Even with these efforts, however, voucher usage continues to decline, Cole wrote in the report.

Abode currently contracts with Santa Clara, Alameda and Santa Cruz counties to provide a “housing first” approach to assist the homeless.

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the county is now $2,516, a 50.2 percent increase in four years, according to a housing indicators report released in July.

Residents in the county with Section 8 housing vouchers are being pushed out of the rental market by prospective tenants who have plenty of cash in hand, according to the Housing Authority.

The availability of rentals is also virtually “zero” in the area.

The county has roughly 4,200 vouchers with 800 of them being in the Move-to-Work program, which provides case management and long-term goal setting for participants.

The Housing Authority received another 1,356 applications for rental assistance in the last quarter for a HUD Move-to-Work program.

In total, the county has received 23,477 applications for the self-sufficiency program since it was expanded in January 2014.

Currently though, only 3,563 of the voucher holders have stable housing, according to Cole’s report.

The area’s housing crisis is spurred by robust job growth and the lack of new home construction.

In the last three years, San Mateo County has added 40,000 new jobs but built only 3,000 new homes, according to the Housing Leadership Council.

The item is on the Board of Supervisors’ consent calendar.

The board meets, 9 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 8, 400 County Center, Redwood City.



Tags: housing, county, authority, according, report, voucher,

Other stories from today:

Fund established for Burlingame renters: Effort aims to benefit those grappling with climbing cost of living
Police investigating overnight residential burglary
Parolee who allegedly led CHP on chase pleads not guilty

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