The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors recently approved a pair of contracts with Abode Services, a nonprofit organization that seeks to end homelessness. Abode will provide housing locator services for people who use vouchers from the County's Housing Authority to help pay for their rent. For the County's Human Services Agency, Abode received a two-year contract to identify suitable housing for the chronically homeless: individuals and families that have been participating in the Agency's homelessness programs and represent some of the Agency's toughest cases.
Residents who have endured the lengthy voucher process still struggle to find stable housing in San Mateo County. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is nearly $2,600 -- a rise of 52 percent since 2011, according to a San Mateo County Housing Indicators report released in September.
Housing voucher usage has declined in the area, even as the Housing Authority has tried to help by offering more subsidies, performing outreach to landlords and voucher holders, and urging developers to increase the availability of affordable housing.
Abode Services will provide incentives and resources to landlords, partnering with them to help voucher holders -- especially those who are elderly or persons with disabilities -- find appropriate and affordable housing options.
"We believe that everyone should have a home," Abode Services Executive Director Louis Chicoine said. "To house the most vulnerable residents in San Mateo County -- one of the nation's most expensive real estate markets -- we must deliver a set of interventions that will encourage landlords to partner with the county and Abode Services to meet that goal."
Abode Services, which has provided homes to more than 4,400 Bay Area adults and children since 2010, in November received the Santa Clara County CalWORKs "Community Partner of the Year" Award for helping low-income families receiveing CalWORKs into housing. It currently works with more than 500 landlords across the Bay Area to help open up the housing market to lower-income residents.
Abode Services expects to start services in San Mateo County in January.