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Threshold 2009 grew out of earlier efforts to include more people in the discussion of housing solutions for San Mateo County. We aim to provide information and facts that will help the public and policy makers make informed choices. We want to build upon work and progress made by previous efforts that identified housing as a significant issue facing the county.


Housing Nachos (a predecessor of Threshold 2009) is formed by a group of civic leaders from private and public sectors to address the growing crisis surrounding the cost and availability of housing.

The Housing Nachos launched its first civic engagement initiative consisting of community-wide conversations among citizens and stakeholders. The dialogues began to reveal an essential common ground, and participants, after considering four housing options, create a vision – a “Citizens’ Scenario”. Results revealed two important and necessary components to building a constituency for change: public support and political will.

Participants in “Stakeholder Dialogues” continue the conversation using the “Citizen’s Scenario” as the starting point. The results revealed that public support, shared solutions, and dialogue are essential for the development and implementation of sustainable reform, and for crafting the future for housing through innovative regional solutions.

Threshold 2008 represented the next phase of the civic engagement effort initiated by the Housing Nachos. The project began to increase dialogue on housing issues by engaging a minimum of 1,500 people in three methods of dialogue beginning in March 2008: a Countywide Assembly with face-to-face dialogue over a single weekend; an Online Dialogue over a period of 10 days in May 2008; and Community Conversations to extend discussion into local communities which began in 2008 and continue into 2009.