Fair Oaks Commons

Fair Oaks Commons, a four-story building at 2821 El Camino Real, will be managed by the property management agency, John Stewart Company. 

Fair Oaks Commons, a 67-unit affordable housing development in Redwood City, built by the nonprofit Alta Housing, has opened its doors to San Mateo County residents at a time when housing needs are soaring. 

“2020 has made the need for affordable, well-maintained, and stable housing clearer than ever,” said Alta Housing CEO Randy Tsuda in an email statement. “At its simplest, [projects like Fair Oaks Commons] provide affordable living for those that live and work in our communities.”  

The four-story building at 2821 El Camino Real will be managed by the property management agency, John Stewart Company. The Menlo Park Veterans Affairs office, County of San Mateo Behavioral Health & Recovery Services, and the Mental Health Association of San Mateo County will provide additional services to assist residents ranging in age and background. 

While all residents moving into the units will earn incomes 70% below the area’s median income, most fall below 50%, said Tsuda in an email and half of the households fall below 30%. Many residents will also be veterans and the formerly unsheltered. The building is not yet fully occupied but the unit waitlist has closed as leases are being processed. 

Supportive services being offered to residents include assistance accessing community resources, job readiness programs, financial planning courses, counseling services and case management. 

On-site, residents will also have access to other amenities including a community room with a kitchen, technology lounge and laundry with additional lounge areas on the second and third floors. Outside sits a courtyard with fitness equipment, a picnic area and a barbecue grill.

The $42 million development was funded in part by county Measure K with other dollars from Wells Fargo Bank, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and the California Community Reinvestment Corporation. Additional support is from 27 HUD-VASH vouchers and 32 Section 8 vouchers, both federally funded housing support programs, awarded by the San Mateo County Housing Authority. 

“I am thrilled to celebrate the grand opening of these new affordable homes in San Mateo County,” said Supervisor Warren Slocum in a statement released Dec. 15. “These 67 new affordable units will allow families to create stability during this unprecedented time and beyond. Partnering with Alta Housing offers San Mateo County families, veterans and those formerly homeless a place to call home.”

Construction on the site began mid-April of 2019 amid considerable excitement from supervisors focused on closing the region’s housing gap. As one of the most expensive counties in the state, it is also home to one of the fastest aging populations and a substantial homeless population. Officials have routinely highlighted their goal of achieving “functional zero” homelessness, meaning experiencing homelessness would be rare, brief and never chronic.

Tsuda said Alta Housing, formerly known as Palo Alto Housing until changing its name in May, intends on building additional affordable housing developments in both San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and is currently looking for land to purchase. The organization owns and operates 26 properties, most of which in Palo Alto. 

“The creation and preservation of ample affordable housing is essential for the Bay Area's ongoing success,” said Tsuda in an emailed statement. “Projects like Fair Oaks Commons help increase housing affordability, reduce commute distances, and reduce carbon emissions.” 

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