Affordable Housing

Am I eligible for affordable housing?

To find out if you are eligible to apply for affordable housing in San Carlos, follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit our Housing Resources and Information page.
  2. Determine if you meet the income limits by household size.
  3. If you meet the income limits, you can apply to join the waitlist for an affordable housing unit in San Carlos.

How do I apply to be on the waitlist for affordable housing in San Carlos?

Those interested in joining our Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing waiting list can call the Community Development Department at (650) 802-4265 or click on the link below.

Due to the limited number of affordable housing units available and length of the current waiting list (currently over 1,500 households), priority is given to those who live and/or work in San Carlos. Given the many factors used to determine the qualification of each household, the City is unable to determine where on the waiting list an applicant is. As units become available, the City will contact the top 25 eligible applicants via mail, email and/or telephone to offer the unit. If no eligible applicant is found in the first set of 25 members of the waitlist, the City will contact the next set of 25 until the BMR unit is filled. Please maintain up-to-date contact information to ensure the City can reach you when needed.

How long does it take to get an affordable housing unit?

There is no set timeline for how long it may take to get an affordable housing unit in San Carlos. The need is much greater than the supply. While we are working to provide affordable housing units, the number of people on our waitlist far exceeds any plans for units being built. We encourage you to become familiar with other resources.

Affordable Housing in San Carlos

Although we planned for both economic and population growth, the current unprecedented regional economic boom put great pressure on the housing market. In particular, the 20 percent of San Carlos households that earn less than $50,000 a year have effectively been priced out of the San Carlos housing market.

Even for those households earning more, housing in San Carlos requires an increasingly unaffordable percentage of their paychecks. Because San Carlos has very little undeveloped space, adding new affordable housing almost always requires redevelopment - the conversion of underused properties into new housing. This typically occurs in areas where zoning allows more housing units to be built close together, generally in the Laurel Street and El Camino Real corridors and close to the Caltrain Station, where access to mass transit is greatest.

Currently, there are 463 housing units in the pipeline - either approved or under construction - in San Carlos. More than half of these are within a quarter-mile (or five-minute walk) of Caltrain; however, just 29 units will be rented or sold at below-market rate prices.