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FAQ

What is Threshold 2009?
Threshold 2009 began as an unprecedented campaign in 2008 to engage the community in dialogue about housing issues and options in San Mateo County in order to build the public’s voice. We are a community-driven effort committed to increasing the understanding of housing issues in the county and to making the process of developing housing policies and solutions more inclusive.

Why is Threshold 2009 doing this work? What is your ultimate goal?
Threshold 2009 believes that a true representation of the public’s voice is missing from discussions about housing solutions in San Mateo County. Our goal is to include more people in the discussion and to learn which housing solutions and policies have broad support. We also want to provide opportunities to those people who want to get further engaged in housing issues to work on solutions. Our ultimate goals are to allow the people of San Mateo County to make informed decisions about the future of their communities and to have leaders pay attention to this public deliberation.

When do the civic engagement events occur? 
A scientifically selected random sample of 238 San Mateo County residents participated in the Countywide Assembly over the weekend of March 15-16, 2008.

The Community Conversations began in April 2008 and they have taken place in schools, worksites, places of worship, libraries and other settings where those who care about the direction the county is taking on housing issues will be able to discuss the various options. More information about the dates and locations of these conversations, and how you can sign up to host one, is posted here.”

How can I get involved?

Anyone who lives or works in San Mateo County can participate in the Community Conversations. Click here for more details.

To receive updates on events and volunteer opportunities, click here to sign up.

Check out our resources page for a multimedia room of articles and publications related to housing, as well as a community directory of organizations and services.

After the civic engagement campaign ends, what will happen with the results?
A report highlighting the perspectives and conclusions of the three civic engagement methods will be published and distributed to policymakers and opinion leaders. The objective is to provide decision-makers with a true representation of the public will on housing issues. We will also post this report on our website; stay tuned!

Is Threshold 2009 advocating for a specific policy? Project? Development?
Threshold 2009 does not advocate for any specific policy, agenda or development. We are a community-driven effort with a goal to include more people in the discussion and to learn what housing solutions and policies have broad public support. We are not developers and we have received no funding from developers. We are facilitators of a public conversation with no predetermined outcome.

What will happen if the public will is to continue with the status quo, and there are no new solutions proposed? 
Threshold 2009 has and will continue to provide that perspective to policymakers and opinion leaders. See our Final Report 2008 for more information on the results of our initiative so far. We trust that, when informed and after deliberating in a well-designed setting, people will come to constructive conclusions about how to approach the challenge of housing in the county.

Are you looking for consensus?
If we find consensus on key issues, we will report that result, but we are not necessarily anticipating it nor do we consider it the measure of success. We will certainly identify areas of common ground, but we will also report the range and frequency of perspectives that we hear. We are interested in discovering what sorts of solutions can be expected to enjoy the most or least public support, and under what circumstances people would favor different alternatives. One of the measurements we will report is the degree to which people’s opinions change after they have had a chance to think about the issues and talk with people who have different views. This will tell policymakers what they can likely expect if they give their constituents an opportunity to become informed and engage in a broad-based community dialogue about housing.

Who is funding the project?
In 2008, the project was funded primarily by several large philanthropic foundations, with additional support from the County and local partners. Major donors have been Open Square Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Our funding partners have included Bailard Inc., Common Sense California, County of San Mateo, Hurlbut-Johnson Fund, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, San Mateo County Community College Foundation, and The Whitman Institute. In 2009, we have partnered with City of Redwood City, as well as the City and County Association of Governments (C/CAG) to continue localized Community Conversations.