Menlo Park Awards $5.5MM in Funding for Affordable Housing

On Feb. 23, 2021, City Council unanimously approved a $5.5 million loan from the city’s below market rate (BMR) housing fund to HIP Housing Development Corporation to assist in the purchase of a 14-unit property as part of an effort to preserve affordable housing.

The units are located at 6-8 Coleman Place and consist of two 7-unit apartment buildings on adjoining parcels. There are one-bedroom and two two-bedroom units ranging in size from 600 to 850 square feet. HIP Housing Development Corporation is the development arm of HIP Housing. The organization is dedicated to providing affordable housing solutions in San Mateo County. HIP Housing provides affordable housing opportunities to 1,400 low-income individuals, including family households, throughout the county. Of the 18 properties owned by HIP Housing in San Mateo County, there are two properties in Menlo Park north of U.S. Highway 101. One property is a four-bedroom home and the other is a 12-unit apartment building on Willow Road (purchased with the support of City BMR funding in 2012). 

A portion of BMR units at 6-8 Coleman Place are expected to be available as early as April 2021. Five units are currently vacant and will be filled with income qualifying tenants directly following the purchase of the property. They intend to seek tenants classified as low income, earning between 51–80 percent of the area median income for San Mateo County. New income-qualified tenants would be identified to fill future openings, with preference being given to households on the city’s BMR interest list who live and/or work in Menlo Park. 

Revenue for the BMR housing fund is derived from development fees the city collects. The city is then required to release funding to qualifying projects that preserve or produce permanent affordable housing within five years of receiving funds. The city’s most recent notice of funding availability was released in November 2020 for up to $10 million, with HIP Housing’s proposal being one of three applications received. The city’s BMR housing fund is a separate special fund with no impact to the City’s general fund.

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