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Housing Directory



Directory of Housing Services & Subsidized Rental Housing
in Palo Alto & Surrounding Neighborhoods

Published by the Palo Alto Housing Corporation
Last Updated in 2002.  Click for more recent information
Subsidized Housing by Community - Go to this Listing

I. Housing Services

Emergency Housing & Shelters

The following organizations offer assistance with overnight housing on a short-term basis for individuals who are without safe shelter.

Shelter Hotline 1-800-774-3583 
Clara-Mateo Alliance (650) 614-9887
Community Services Agency
     (Mountain View & Los Altos)
(650) 968-0836 
Community Pregnancy Center
     Mountain View
(650) 964-8093
(408) 978-9310 
Cupertino Community Services
     (Men only)
(408) 255-8033
Emergency Housing Consortium (408) 294-2100  
Fair Oaks Community Center
     (Redwood City)
(650) 780-7500
First Step for Families (San Mateo) (650) 340-8814
InnVision (408) 292-4286
Love Inc. of San Mateo County (650) 595-2421  
Love in the Name of Christ
     (Santa Clara)
(408) 379-9223  
Pregnancy Care Center
     (San Mateo, Menlo Park, San Carlos)
(650) 342-9932  
Red Cross (for disaster & critical emergencies)
     Palo Alto
     San Mateo
     Santa Clara Valley

(650) 688-0415
(650) 259-1750
(408) 577-1000
Sacred Heart Community Services San Jose (408) 283-5800
St. Vincent de Paul Society
     Santa Clara Co.
     San Mateo Co.

(408) 993-9900
(650) 343-4403
Salvation Army (Winter only, helps with food)
     Santa Clara Co.
(408) 720-0420  
Samaritan House
     (San Mateo, Parents w/ kids)
(650) 347-3648  
San Jose Family Shelter (408) 926-8885
Santa Clara County Mental Health (800) 704-0900  
Shelter Network (San Mateo County) (650) 685-5880
Spring Street Shelter
     (San Mateo Co.) Mentally ill adults only
(650) 365-5772  
Support Network for Battered Women
     24-hour Crisis Line (English & Spanish) 
(650) 940-7850
(800) 572-2782
Urban Ministry of Palo Alto (Serves Mid Peninsula
     Area) Adults only Valley Support Center of the Mid

(650) 853-8697
(650) 322-1821  

Transitional Housing

The following organizations offer housing for several days, weeks or months to people who are willing to participate in a structured, self-help program which usually involves counseling and workshops on topics such as parenting, job search skills, money management, as well as child care services.

Clara-Mateo Alliance (650) 614-9887
Community Services Agency
     (Mountain View and Los Altos)
(650) 968-0836
Cupertino Community Services (408) 255-8033
Elder Care Locator (800) 677-1116
Emergency Housing Consortium
     (San Jose, Santa Clara) Families, Adults
(408) 294-2100
Fair Oaks Community Center (650) 780-7500
InnVision (Santa Clara Co.) (408) 292-4286
(650) 364-1150
Alliance for Community Care
     (Santa Clara Co.) Mentally ill adults
(408) 254-6828
Shelter Network (650) 685-5880
Spring Street Shelter (San Mateo) Mentally ill adults only (650) 365-5772  
Urban Ministry of Palo Alto (Mid Peninsula Area) Adults only (650) 853-8697  
Valley Support Center of the MidPeninsula (650) 322-1821  
Women and Their Children’s Housing (WATCH) (408) 271-9422  

Shared Housing

The following agencies have programs which match a housing provider with extra room to share with compatible singles, seniors or single parents with children to live in a shared housing environment. Usually the renter has a private room and shares bathroom, kitchen and living areas.

Alliance for Community Care
     (Santa Clara Co.) Mentally ill
(650) 617-8340
ARIS Project
     (For people w/ AIDS in Santa Clara Co.)
(408) 297-6536
(408) 297-6575 TDD
Catholic Charities (Santa Clara County) (408) 282-1144  
Human Investment Project (San Mateo Co.)
     Adults & small single-parent families
(650) 348-6660
Spring St. Shelter / Mental Health Association
     (San Mateo Co.) Mentally ill
(650) 365-5772
Project Match Inc.(Santa Clara Co.) Adults only (408) 287-7121

Housing for Persons with Disabilities

The following agencies offer temporary and/or permanent housing for persons with disabilities:

Adults Toward Independent Living
     (Physically disabled)
(408) 354-2217  
Community Association for Rehabilitation Inc.
     (San Mateo Co. & Santa Clara Co.)
     Developmentally disabled
(650) 494-0550  
Family Housing and Adult Resources
     (San Mateo Co.) Developmentally disabled
(650) 593-2516  
Greater Opportunities (Santa Clara Co.) (408) 248-4464  
Housing for Independent People (408) 283-2200
     (Santa Clara Co.) Mentally ill
(408) 292-4286
Kainos Home and Training Center for the
     Developmentally Disabled
     (San Mateo Co. & N. Santa Clara Co.)
     Adults only
(650) 363-2423  
Mid Peninsula Housing Coalition
     (Page Mill Court)
(650) 322-0149 

Information and Referral

The following organizations provide information and referral regarding available, accessible housing options.

Center for Independence of the Disabled, Inc. (San Mateo Co.) (650) 595-0783
Deaf Counseling Advocacy and Referral Agency (Santa Clara Co.) (408) 298-6770
(408) 298-5443 TTY
Services for the Brain Impaired (408) 295-4119
Silicon Valley Independent Living Center(Santa Clara Co.) (408) 894-9041
(408) 894-9012 TTY 
Avenidas Senior Center (650) 326-5362 ext. 18

Home Ownership Assistance Programs

The following cities and organizations have home ownership assistance programs for low and moderate income buyers and first time home buyers. The programs vary in form, but are intended to provide housing for purchase at lower than market rate prices for eligible buyers. Please call for specific information on each program.

City of Menlo Park (Housing & Redevelopment) (650) 858-3414 
City of Sunnyvale (Housing Division ) (408) 730-7254 
Community Housing Developers (408) 279-7676
Cupertino Community Services (408) 255-8033
Echo Housing (East Bay) First time home buyers education
EPA Can Do (East Palo Alto)
(510) 581-9380
(650) 473-9838
HUD (Dept.Of Housing & Urban Dev.)
Fair Housing Issues
(415) 436-6550
(415) 436-8400
City of Palo Alto (650) 329-2441
Mortgage Credit Certificate ProgramCounty of Santa Clara (408) 299-4711 
County of San Mateo (650) 802-5033
Palo Alto Housing Corporation
(for information about City of Palo Alto’s
Below Market Rate Housing Program)
(650) 321-9709
Peninsula Habitat for Humanity (San Mateo County) (650) 324-2266
San Mateo County Home Buyer Program (650) 802-5033  
Silicon Valley Habitat for Humanity (408) 294-6464
Veteran's Guarantee Home Loan Program (800) 827-1000

Mediation Services

The following agencies provide mediation/conciliation services for tenant/landlord rights and responsibilities.

Bay Area Legal Aid (408) 283-3700
1-877- 283-7055
Legal Aide 1-888- 866-1954  
Community Services Agency (650) 968-0836
East Palo Alto Community Law Project (650) 853-1600 
Legal Aid Society San Mateo County
     Santa Clara County
(650) 558-0915 (408) 998-5200
Los Altos Mediation Program (650) 949-5267 
Menlo Park Mediation Program (650) 858-3360  
Palo Alto Mediation Program (650) 856-4062
Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center (650) 373-3490 
Pro Bono Project of Silicon Valley (408) 998-5298 
Project Sentinel Inc.
Discrimination & Fair Housing Issues,
Counties of Santa Clara, San Mateo & San Francisco
Landlord/Tenant Issues, Counties of Santa Clara
(650) 321-6291

(408) 720-9888
Santa Clara County
Mediation & Conciliation Services
(408) 299-2206  

Fair Housing

Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, physical or mental disability, age, or sexual orientation in the sale or rental of any housing is illegal. If you believe you have experienced discrimination in your search for housing, please contact:

California Department of FairEmployment and Housing (DFEH) (408) 277-1264
Midpeninsula Citizens for Fair Housing
     Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City, Mountain View
     Sunnyvale, N. Santa Clara Co., & S. San Mateo Co.

(650) 327-1718
(408) 730-8491
Project Sentinel Inc (Santa Clara County)
     (contact directly for each city program)
(408) 720-9888  
U.S. Department of Housing& Urban Development (HUD) (800) 347-3739
(415) 436-6550

Rent and Deposit Assistance

The following agencies offer one time emergency assistance to individuals who, through some crisis, cannot make a monthly rent payment and are in danger of becoming homeless. Assistance is given as funding allows, and applicants are screened according to need.

Valley Support Center of the MidPeninsula (650) 322-1821  
Catholic Charities
     San Mateo Co.
     Santa Clara Co.
     Community Service Agency
     Cupertino Community Services

(650) 295-2160
(408) 282-1144
(650) 968-0836
(408) 255-8033 
Fair Oaks Community Center (Redwood City)  (650) 780-7500
Red Cross (disaster & critical emergencies)
     Palo Alto
     San Mateo
     Santa Clara Valley
     Sacred Heart Community Services

(650) 688-0415
(650) 259-1750
(408) 577-1000
(408) 278-2160 
Salvation Army (San Mateo Co.) (650) 341-6773  
San Mateo Co. Dept. of Aging & Adult Services (650) 573-3900 
St. Vincent de Paul Society
     San Mateo Co.
     Santa Clara Co.

(650) 343-4404
(408) 993-9900
Sunnyvale Community Services (408) 738-4321 

Other Services

The following information and referral service agencies provide information on services other than housing, such as child and health care, employment, counseling, recreation and transportation, home renovation and repair.

Avenidas Senior Center (650) 326-5362 ext. 18 
Bayshore Community Resources Center
     (East Palo Alto)
(650) 330-7428  
Rebuilding Together — Mid-Peninsula
     (home renovation & repair)
(650) 366-6597
Fair Oaks Community Center
     (Redwood City)
(650) 780-7500
Teen Hotline (24 hour) (888) 247-7717  
United Way Silicon Valley (408) 248-4636
(650) 325-4636


II. Subsidized Rental Housing

A. General Information

Housing Subsidies

Rental housing is subsidized through a variety of programs. For example, housing development may be assisted through locally administered Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, through State of California programs such as the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), through federal programs under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), or the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC). Each program has its own requirements and regulations.

The source of subsidy may also determine any applicable preferences, income eligibility requirements, the type of tenant served, the administration of a waiting list, and even the rents charged. The system can be complicated, seem inconsistent, and cause frustration to the person seeking housing information and assistance. However, the subsidies are essential in providing affordable housing.


Certain preferences may be required under the regulations of the agency funding or administering each program. Local preferences are usually those of living or working in that city. Preferences under other programs may be given to families or individuals presently homeless or with special needs.

Rental Assistance (Section 8)

The Section 8 Housing Assistance Program is a federal program administered by public housing agencies (County Housing Authorities). Assistance can be project-based, where the rental assistance stays with a particular housing unit, or individual-based, where the assistance belongs to the person being assisted.

The individual-based Section 8 rental assistance program assists very low-income families in obtaining decent, safe and sanitary housing in private accommodations. Federal funds (HUD) pay the difference between what a very low-income household can afford and the approved rent for an adequate housing unit. The Housing Authority issues Housing Choice Vouchers to eligible households who are free to locate suitable rental units that meet their needs. The Housing Authority makes assistance payments to the private owners who lease their rental units to assisted families. The tenant’s portion of the rent is the highest of 30 percent of adjusted income, 10 percent of gross income, or the portion of welfare assistance designated to meet housing costs. Very low-income households, whose incomes do not exceed fifty percent of the median income for the county, are eligible to occupy the assisted units.

The Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation program provides rental subsidies to eligible landlords who rehabilitate properties to meet certain safety and sanitation standards. The subsidy stays with the unit for fifteen years. This program has been phased out and the rental assistance is converted to individual-based Section 8 certificates as the fifteen —year term expires.

The County Housing Authorities accept new applications for their waiting lists during limited periods. Announcements are published in the newspapers when the waiting lists are opened.

For information about Housing Choice Vouchers, eligibility or answers to other questions regarding Section 8 assistance, call the appropriate Housing Authority.

Housing Authority of Santa Clara Co. (408) 275-8770

Housing Authority of San Mateo Co. (650) 802-3300

Eligibility Guidelines

The following income eligibility table is provided to assist you in determining if your income enables you to be eligible for an apartment at various housing complexes you may call. The calculations are based on median income figures provided by HUD for the particular area. To use the table, find your family size in the first column and follow the line across to the income figure closest to your annual household income.

Family Size CA Tax Credit
Income - 40%
Very Low
Income - 50%
CA Tax Credit-
BMR Low Moderate
Income - 80%
HUD Median
Income - 100%
1 29,720 37,150 44,580 59,100 73,900
2 33,960 42,450 50,940 67,500 84,400
3 38,200 47,750 57,300 75,950 95,000
4 42,440 53,050 63,660 84,400 105,500
5 45,840 57,300 68,760 91,150 113,900
6 49,240 61,550 73,860 97,900 122,400
7 52,640 65,800 78,960 104,650 130,800
8 56,040 70,050 84,060 111,400 139,300

Below Market Rate (BMR) Rental Housing Program*

Palo Alto

Palo Alto has a limited number of below market rate rental units available to low-and moderate-income households. For qualifying information and availability call:

Mayfield Apartments (650) 328-2300
Montage Apartments (650) 493-7043
Southwood Apartments (650) 322-1112
Stanford West Apartments (650) 725-2000

Stanford West Apartments on Sand Hill Road currently has 63 BMR rental units. Additional BMR units will be phased in over the next ten years.There is a preference for those who work for Stanford University or for private businesses located on Stanford lands.


Sunnyvale also has below market rate rental units available. For information about affordable rental housing in Sunnyvale, call (408) 730-7254.


For information about affordable rental housing in Cupertino, call (408) 255-8033

*Some cities have BMR Housing for purchase. Palo Alto Housing Corporation administers the City of Palo Alto’s program which allows eligible families and individuals to purchase moderately-price condominiums, townhouses, and duplexes through the sale and resale of these units. All BMR units are sold with deed restrictions limiting the appreciation on resale.


The organizations listed below have developed affordable housing in Santa Clara County and/or San Mateo County. Each organization owns and may manage its own properties. For information on waiting lists, rents, eligibility criteria, and unit availability, please contact the agency directly:

Bridge Housing (Bay Area) (415) 267-7673  
Catholic Charities (408) 282-1144
Community Housing Developers (408) 243-5595
Ecumenical Association for Housing (EAH) (415) 255-1800  
Eden Housing, Inc. (510) 582-1460
EPA CAN DO (650) 473-9838  
First Community Housing (408) 291-8650  
Housing for Independent People, Inc. (408) 283-2200  
Human Investment Project (San Mateo Co.) (650) 348-6660  
Mexican American Community Service (San Jose) Seniors only (408) 928-1122  
Mid Peninsula Housing Coalition (San Francisco Bay Area) (650) 299-8000  
Palo Alto Housing Corporation (Palo Alto) (650) 321-9709

C. Subsidized Housing by Community - Go to this Listing


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