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Employer-Employee Housing

At a Glance

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Type: Development type
Where tool is used: Residential neighborhoods or downtowns/transit corridors
Timeline: Medium-term
Who implements: Employers, developers
Relative density impact: High

As San Mateo County’s demand for housing grows, some organizations are building housing for their employees on land they already own or acquire. These infill projects create dedicated employee housing near worksites and can be a powerful employee recruitment and retention tool. Cities, school districts, and private employers throughout the County are reviewing their real estate holdings to identify “surplus” lands suitable for affordable employee housing developments.

In San Mateo County, the Community College District has led the way in developing high quality, affordable workforce housing with their projects at the College of San Mateo and Canada College campuses, pictured above. Faculty and staff at the college pay very reasonable rents for units in the two medium density complexes, allowing them to save money for a down payment on a home when they move out. The District is currently finalizing plans to develop their third employee housing complex at Skyline College. San Mateo Union High School District is exploring providing housing for its workforce on school district lands.1

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Key Benefits

  • Can reduce traffic congestion and associated greenhouse gas emissions locally and regionally.
  • Addresses recruitment and retention challenges, particularly for public employers like schools and colleges, by offering employees an affordable housing option located near their workplace.
  • Allows employees to live in the community where they work.
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Community Considerations

  • Can raise concerns about lack of separation between work and home.
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Community Engagement Strategies

  • Engage your community: Host informational forums for school districts, congregations,and other groups interested in employee infill housing.
  • Educate your community: Conduct community information events and presentations at community meetings such as PTA, homeowners associations, or neighborhood groups.
  • Engage your community: Host joint city council/school board meetings to educate the public on proposed plans.
  • Engage your community: Conduct “open houses” of employee housing.
  • Engage your community: Gain feedback from employee groups during the development of the plans through meetings and an online forum.
  • Promote success stories: Highlight San Mateo County Community College District employees who live in and benefit from employee housing.
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