Statement from Joaquin Jimenez, Wednesday October 29, 2020
Three years ago over 50 families in our community had to leave the area and others had to move into crowded homes due to evictions and high rents. I helped collect more than 300 signatures from members from our community to request rent control, and then personally presented the signatures to the City Council and proposed rent control in Half Moon Bay. (See the HMB Review article “Half Moon Bay considers rent control,” April 4, 2018.)
This was not the first time I took action about housing in our community. I have been attending City Council meetings and listening sessions for over 6 years, and have brought up the need for affordable housing many times. I have also attended meetings of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, and have talked there about the need for affordable housing in our coastal community. I have met with most HMB City Councilmembers and talked with them about the need for such housing for the current residents of the city. After identifying possible sites to build affordable housing, I met with a number of local groups (Abundant Grace and its CEO, Eric DeBode, Resist Density Organization, San Mateo County Housing Program, San Mateo County Farmlabor Housing, and MidPen Housing) to get their support.
One site in particular that we think is a prime location to build sustainable affordable housing is a property owned by our local Catholic Church of Kelly Avenue, downtown. This site is within walking distance to our schools, clinic, and shopping, and is right next to the church and the sheriff’s substation. This central location brings what is for me are a number of crucial features related to the sustainability of the project: not only would the residents of the new housing be able to reduce traffic in the downtown area (by no longer having to drive in to town), we would avoid having to use any of our valuable open spaces around the edges of the city. These could instead be preserved for farming and recreation.
I have met with the priest, Father Jose Corral and discussed with him the possibility of building affordable housing on the Church’s property. While there is much still to be discussed, Father Corral is open to the idea in principle, recognizing that providing affordable housing would alleviate problems associated with overcrowding and cripplingly high rents, and provide opportunities for our hard-working families to achieve the dignity and security of their own home.