Affordable Housing

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Creating Affordable Housing

The City of Redwood City offers a number of programs and services to support housing for all income levels. The City helps residents locate affordable housing, keeps homes affordable through housing rehabilitation grants and programs, and continually looks for ways to create new affordable housing. The following is a summary of the various actions the City has taken in the last year to support affordable housing production and preservation of existing affordable housing. 

Do you need help with a challenging rental housing issue? Are you looking for affordable housing? The Housing Resource Guide provides a list of programs and online resources that might help you. Go here to access the guide.

Inclusionary Zoning and Density Bonus Requirements

On June 25, 2018, the City Council adopted new requirements for the provision of affordable housing with the construction of residential housing projects. This involved establishing a new Article 29 (Affordable Housing Requirements) and combining with the requirements for Affordable Housing Impact Fee (Municipal Code Article XVII). The City also updated the Zoning Ordinance with the State Density Bonus requirements (Section 32.19).  The new requirements can be obtained here.

Amended the Downtown Precise Plan to Reserve Units for Affordable Housing

The Downtown Precise Plan allows up to 2,500 new residential housing units to be built, 375 (15 percent) is reserved for affordable housing. This amendment was approved in 2016 and the City has received several applications in the downtown that include affordable housing. See the Major Developments page for more information on pending and approved projects.  

Affordable Housing Development on City-owned Bradford Site 

In 2015 the Council dedicated an acre of downtown City-owned land towards the production of affordable housing. A Request for Proposals was issued to non-profit housing developers and 7 proposals were received ranging from 56-137 affordable units. All the developments include 100% of affordable housing, a public space along the creek and a child care center or non profit office space. A preview of these developments was presented to Council on October 26, 2015. On April 11, 2016 the City Council selected the proposal submitted by MidPen Housing for the Bradford Street Affordable Housing Development. On December 5, 2017, the Planning Commission approved the development.

To view more information about the Bradford project, visit go here.

To view more ways to join the conversation about this project and many more topics being discussed by the City Council click here

Adoption of Affordable Housing Impact Fees 

On October 26, 2015, the City Council adopted affordable housing impact fees on both residential and commercial development. This action is part of the City's community benefits framework, also known as Partnership Redwood City, which generates fees from development to support city programs and services. More information is available here.

Increased Flexibility to Add Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)

The State has recently passed new laws regarding accessory dwelling units (aka secondary unit, in-law unit, granny flat, backyard cottage) ordinance. ADUs are a smaller living unit on a property that has a single-family residence, providing an additional housing option, which is typically more affordable than other types of housing. The City will be updating its regulations for compliance with this new law. For more information, go here.

Funds for Affordable Housing

Redwood City voters adopted a Utility Users Tax (UUT) in 1988. Funds from the UUT are dedicated to the City's Capital Improvement Program (CIP). In the 2015-16 CIP budget, this line item was $750,000 to further the City's existing affordable housing fund.

Redwood City recently approved investing in new affordable housing developments by awarding $1.5 million to Habitat for Humanity to construct 20 units of ownership housing in downtown Redwood City. This will be Habitat's fourth project in Redwood City.

The City awarded $1.2M in CDBG and HOME grants this year, funds that will support affordable housing preservation programs, new affordable housing development, homeless services and economic development programs. The Council established a 5-year plan that will award over $4 million in grants over this time period.

Production of Affordable Housing

To date, the City of Redwood City has produced 769 units of Below Market Rate (BMR) units of which 594 are rental and 175 are ownership units. All 769 units are deed restricted as BMR for 25 - 55 years. Redwood City has assisted with the rehabilitation of 2,800 homes owned or owner occupied by low income residents, of which approximately 2,500 are multi-family units, and 300 are single-family units.

Our Community: Housing and Our Future

Earlier this year, the City, in partnership with Redwood City 2020, the County’s Home For All initiative and the Library Foundation, invited the community to come together for a series of community conversations on housing. Our Community: Housing and Our Future included a series of community conversations and City Council meeting discussions. Learn more about this initiative here.