Threshold 2009 was formed in 2008 to engage the public on housing issues and options in San Mateo County in order to ensure a better long-term quality of life for all who are affected by our housing choices. We believe that by including more people in the discussion and by understanding the range of perspectives on housing issues, leaders will be in a better position to make decisions that support and sustain our community. We are not advocating for any specific policy agenda or development project. Our goal is to build the public voice on housing choices.
An inadequate supply of housing impacts the overall quality of life and the future of our economy. Housing is often on the agenda but there are many challenges to moving forward with solutions. The public process surrounding housing policy is frequently dominated by small groups of highly motivated people representing competing interests and we want to change that.
Through three complementary and proven tools for community engagement, we hope to identify housing solutions that have broad public support. In March 2008, Threshold 2009 began this campaign with an unprecedented Countywide Assembly, followed by an Online Dialogue in May 2008 and continuing into 2009 with a series of Community Conversations. Participants will continue to receive information and data about San Mateo County and its housing issues, as well as hear from experts representing a variety of perspectives on topics relevant to the housing discussion (transportation, environment, economy, public safety, etc.). We want to inform people about the range of available and proposed housing options and the tradeoffs involved in each approach.
Some of the questions that Threshold 2009 will ask people to consider include:
- How much housing should we build in San Mateo County?
- Where should we build housing?
- Should we limit housing growth? What are the consequences if we do?
- How should these decisions be made, and by whom?
- How can we pay for various alternatives?
- What is the relationship between housing growth and the environment?
- Will more housing mean more traffic or less?
- Who gets to live in our communities?
These are difficult questions that require information, discussion and dialogue. T Threshold 2009 will continue to provide the forums to tackle these questions and build the public voice. And if people want to become more involved, we want to connect them to those opportunities.
Threshold 2009 is the next phase of a continuing effort launched in March 2008 under Threshold 2008 which has its roots established in 2003 by the Housing Nachos, a group of citizens who came together around a shared concern about the impact of the county’s housing situation on the community. The discussion started by the Housing Nachos contributed to a broad dialogue that led to several significant developments: the establishment of a trust fund for affordable housing (HEART) in 2003; the formation of a County Housing Department in 2005; and creation of a 10-year plan to end homelessness (HOPE) in 2006
Threshold 2008’s goal is to aid in raising public awareness and to help with a process to change attitudes…Threshold 2008 is about getting people to realize that housing is everyone’s problem.
– Bruce Hamilton, HIP Housing