Housing and homelessness dominated the conversation during Redwood City’s State of the City address, which aired virtually on Monday night.
During the half-hour, pre-recorded address, city officials and nonprofit leaders discussed ongoing efforts by the city, county and state to create more housing and transition people into a safe shelter.
Vice Mayor Diana Reddy discussed the history of redlining and gentrification in Redwood City and the long-term impacts on housing affordability.
“We are the fifth most segregated city in the nine-county Bay Area,” she said, adding that “racial inequities translate into deep economic inequities in our community,” including unfair distribution of housing and other resources.
Reddy said the city regularly contacts those in encampments to offer shelter and services but understands that not everyone is ready to accept the help. She said the city is making progress by converting hotels into shelters and building more permanent, affordable housing.
There are 1,200 affordable units across 22 projects that are approved, proposed or under construction, according to Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale. These include units dedicated to low (50%), very low (31%), and extremely low income (8%) residents.
Hale described homelessness as a “result of years of underinvesting in new housing,” which she said, “has been exacerbated by the pandemic and lack of human services.”
Several formerly homeless people also shared their experiences living unhoused on the streets or in RVs, and how they were able to take advantage of local nonprofits and other services to transition into more stable housing.