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What Does Health Have to Do With Affordable Housing?

Join a community forum to learn more about the connection between affordable housing and health on May 8, 2012 at SSF's Municipal Services Building.

Can your community be healthy without housing that is affordable?

My favorite discussions around housing is its connections to many other important facets of a community that supports a good quality of life. Housing plus health, housing plus transportation, and housing plus education are all interesting to me. Luckily, the non-profit I work for partners with a range of public agencies and non-profits to bring awareness to the connection between these topics.

One of these collaborations resulted into the Healthy Communities Forums, which is organized by elected officials, public agencies, non-profits, and residents of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. They are held once a month and are on a different topic each time, such as Access to Healthy Food, Benefits of Electric Driving and Walking, etc.

Join our . The program begins at 6pm with a welcome from the Mayor and Vice-Mayor, followed by a presentation from the San Mateo County Health System.

The presentation will focus on connecting affordable housing and health. Learn how and why where you live shapes the health and quality of your life. Our current obesity and other preventable diseases rates are so high that if we do nothing, our children will be the first generation who will not live as long as their parents, according to the San Mateo County Health System.

Health begins in our communities, so we want to ensure our communities are built to encourage healthy choices. Housing built near transit, schools, and parks show increased rates of walking and outside activity.  

Housing that is affordable is important to all segments of our population. It is important to the health of our children, so that they can have a stable home and will not have to move from one school to another. It is important to the health of our seniors, so they can age in place near their family and friends.  

After the presentation, we will break out into discussion groups by city so that participants can discuss the topic as it pertains to them and their community. No charge, light dinner provided. Sign up under “Upcoming Forums” at www.healthycommunitiesforum.org

This forum is part of San Mateo County’s Annual Affordable Housing Week – a week of events that local decision makers, community leaders, and residents are invited to participate in to learn more about housing issues in our county. Most are free and open to the public. My favorite event from past years is a forum with previously homeless people who turned their lives around after finding stable housing through one of our partner organizations. Their stories were so inspiring! For a list of all our events, please visit www.hlcsmc.org/ahw-2012. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Serena Ip May 01, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Hi Chris - I understand the concerns people have with affordable housing developments. However, these are often speculation or stereotypes. I'm not saying all people who live in affordable housing are model citizens, but there are also people who don't live in affordable housing that are not model citizens. It may ease your concerns to know that for the 636 El Camino development next to SSF High School, there was a city live/work preference mandated by Mid-Pen, the developer. This means applicants who are more likely to get in already live or work in SSF. So, these people are already in our SSF community. Mid-Pen is also interviewing all qualified applicants, and will have management on site. Also, Greenridge, Willow Gardens, and Chestnut Creek are affordable housing developments within blocks of both SSF and El Camino High School. The apartments across from El Camino have several units of affordable housing. As far as I know, these developments' residents haven't bothered the high school students. Again, the residents of affordable housing developments are often not poor or unmotivated. Because of our county's higher than average median income, people who earn enough to own homes in other areas of our country are considered low-income here. I'll post a blog about our income levels soon - it may surprise many. This forum, where data from our county will show some community benefits from affordable housing, may be intriguing to you. All residents are welcome!
Drew Himmelstein (Editor) May 01, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Serena, you're a wealth of information! Thanks for sharing it with us.
Austin Choi May 03, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I think Chris's concern is valid. But I find there is a huge difference in the way this city, its agencies and non-profits assist the less fortunate, and the way SF does it. In SF, they seem to build/refurbish housing projects, get it in the newspapers to get their supervisors re-elected, then forgets about the projects, and the place eventually becomes crime-ridden. In SSF, maybe due to its smaller population, they keep a handle on things and ensures the area is maintained. Sure, it's not picture perfect, but at least they do make an effort to keep things manageable. It also helps that people moved to SSF and the 'burbs to get away from the issues that bigger cities have. We are lucky to have someone like Selena (and her non-profit agency) who make a difference in people's lives. Her "arguments", for lack of a better word, are very convincing and it's great that she engages the community to make SSF an even better place to live.
Serena Ip May 04, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Thanks for your comment Austin, and for putting "arguments" in quotes. My personal belief is that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and the only type of blog I'd like to do is one that welcomes anyone's point of view, whether I agree or disagree. The organizations I work for and volunteer for believe in a hand up, not a hand out, and I hope that they make our communities a better place to live. I'm sorry I don't know much about SF, but am sure that they do have different challenges than smaller cities and counties like SSF/San Mateo County. Thanks again for your input!

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