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Affordable Community Breaks Ground in East Palo Alto

March 5, 2024

Housing & Homelessness


East Palo Alto – If you ask San Mateo County residents to name their top needs (and we did), the answer nearly always includes finding an affordable place to live.

On Feb. 2, 2024, Board of Supervisors President Warren Slocum along with local dignitaries celebrated the groundbreaking of an apartment complex that attempts to address that challenge.

Colibri Commons, at 965 Weeks St. in East Palo Alto, includes 136 new apartments that will serve a broad range of the community’s housing needs, with floorplans of up to four bedrooms. Rents will be below market rates for all units in a development led by EPACANDO and MidPen Housing, two local nonprofit housing developers.

San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum.

“These larger apartments offered at affordable rents address a priority for the County and will help us slow the exodus of working families,” Slocum said.

Rents will be targeted for people earning between 30 percent and 60 percent of Area Median Income (currently about $39,000 for a one-person household up to about $147,180 depending on family size). Qualified tenants will expect to pay up to 30 percent of their monthly gross income on rent.

The complex will be built on the city-owned Weeks Street property not far from University Avenue and Bay Road. The project is funded in part by a combination of private, local, state and federal sources that includes a $13 million loan from the County’s local Measure K sales tax and an additional $10 million in financing secured by the County’s Department of Housing.

Completion is expected in summer 2025.

“Colibri Commons illustrates the power of community vision, perseverance and collaboration” said Matthew O. Franklin, president and CEO of MidPen Housing. “Reaching today’s milestone took many years, collective will and a near-record number of funders. We applaud San Mateo County leaders for their incredible commitment to affordable housing, and we’re excited to work with all of the partners to bring new homes and opportunities to East Palo Alto.”

The groundbreaking brought together dozens of people who worked over the past decade to plan and finance the project. The crowd included past and current elected officials along with advocates for affordable housing, private financing agencies and members of the East Palo Alto community.

An artist’s rendering of Colibri Commons.

More than just a roof overhead, residents services at Colibri Commons will include afterschool and summer programs for youth, health and wellness programs and, for tenants with functional needs, assistance with sustaining independence, among other amenities.

“Colibri Commons represents our best work — but our work is far from done,” Slocum said. “Let’s build on these strong partnerships and creative financing strategies to create many more affordable housing opportunities for people in communities across San Mateo County.”

While tenant applications are not yet being accepted, anyone interested in learning when applications will be accepted can fill out an online form.

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