Fix Palo Alto's Housing Crisis!

Please join eight former Mayors and over 1000 community members in asking City Council to exercise leadership and address Palo Alto's housing shortage now!


1,500 signatures

The cost of living in Palo Alto has skyrocketed. As a result, we are seeing long-time neighbors move because they can no longer afford the rent. It is not unusual for Palo Alto workers to commute in from areas as far as Stockton, Gilroy, and Tracy, putting severe strain on our roads and our climate. We are on the path to being a city composed only of long-time landowners and wealthy newcomers.

This situation is the result of city policies that have discouraged new housing while encouraging more office space. As a result, Palo Alto has the nation’s highest median rent and the region’s highest jobs-to-housing ratio. City Council has taken measures to address the jobs side of the equation by limiting office growth. Now, it is time to address the housing side of the equation.

A true fix will require a long-term focus and deep commitment; we believe, though, that we can maintain the character of our community while making changes to alleviate this imbalance. Council can show leadership by crafting policy to achieve the following goals:

1. Encourage construction of more studio apartments and other naturally affordable smaller units. 

2. Encourage buildings composed of apartments and condos over ground-floor retail. Current policy requires developers to build office space into any new four-story building in a commercial district.

3. Make it easier for homeowners to build second units on their property, especially to accommodate multiple-generation households and caretakers.

4. Allow car-light and car-free housing in walkable, transit-accessible areas for residents who are able to not own a car.

5. Facilitate the development of new senior housing, including alternative models such as co-housing, home sharing, and mixed-use senior communities with retail and services.

We ask the City Council to plan for more housing so that Palo Alto can be the community of opportunity it has historically been: a family-friendly city that welcomed interesting thinkers and doers of all ages and all incomes.  Many of the above ideas were implemented successfully in Palo Alto’s South of Forest (SOFA) plan.  We know that this can be done!

To find out more see our blog post.

Will you sign?

  • Aaron Horvath
    signed 2021-04-18 12:23:17 -0700
  • Paul Newby
    signed 2018-04-04 16:39:40 -0700
  • Jason Teplitz
    signed 2017-12-10 10:38:16 -0800
    Palo Alto’s backwards policies are pushing people out of their homes, and are contributing to the absurd increase in cost of living across the bay area. Instead of being an example of shortsighted greedy thinking, Palo Alto could, and should, become a blueprint for how bay area municipalities can grow and embrace a denser, more diverse, and more welcoming future.
  • Lisa Van Dusen
    signed 2017-10-30 22:36:21 -0700
    Please add me to your list and slide deck! I thought I had signed before but didn’t see my name on the list tonight. I am for this all the way.
  • Roberta Ahlquist
    signed 2017-10-25 13:32:48 -0700
    Roberta Ahlquist

    We need low-income rental housing for our workers and to balance the social class divide that currently exists
  • Susan Monk
    signed 2017-09-18 18:41:49 -0700
  • Greg Bell
    signed 2017-09-17 09:59:12 -0700
  • David Hirsch
    signed 2017-09-13 22:26:37 -0700
  • Randy Mont-Reynaud
    signed 2017-08-25 10:03:34 -0700
    Don’t shoot – we are your grandparents.

    Yes, time has come to BUILD and provide.

    I’ve been a renter here for 38 years and have been on the PAHC housing list for 6+.

    It seems that units only open up when someone passes on; the system seems like “reserving your casket,” or burial plot in advance.

    Units that are BMR supposedly require a good deal of assets and or income to pay hefty Association fees. That’s a huge hardship for those on fixed and limited incomes – especially those that do not have children, wealthy children, in the area who provide for parents and save on airfare…(That’s how it strikes me, when I see who gets “in” who qualifies, etc.)

    Please know that I can document that there has been some deception in obtaining BMR unit at Rickey’s Way, 2006-7.

    I’m planning to attend the program on August 28

  • Yawen Li
    signed 2017-07-20 16:46:47 -0700
  • Diane & Joe Rolfe
    signed 2017-05-03 11:07:26 -0700
  • Minh Nguyen
    signed 2017-03-18 20:54:04 -0700
  • Mitch Mankin
    signed 2017-03-02 13:48:05 -0800
  • Dennis Irwin
    signed via 2017-01-30 10:21:09 -0800
  • Felice Stonestrom
    signed via 2017-01-30 06:24:16 -0800
  • Katherine Dumont
    signed 2017-01-29 23:43:48 -0800
  • Angela Evans
    signed 2016-11-26 11:15:53 -0800
  • Stacey Morales
    signed 2016-10-10 00:10:39 -0700
  • William Heaton
    signed via 2016-09-15 10:52:12 -0700
  • Barbara TIsdale
    signed via 2016-09-15 09:45:44 -0700
  • patama Gur
    signed 2016-09-08 07:32:19 -0700
    Even as a current homeowner who appreciates the increase in the value of my home, I support this strongly.
  • Patty Irish
    signed 2016-08-30 22:28:01 -0700
  • Snow Zhu
    signed 2016-08-30 09:58:08 -0700
  • Sophia Nguyen
    signed 2016-08-29 09:34:40 -0700
  • David Hanawalt AIA
    signed 2016-08-25 12:04:29 -0700
    I grew up in Greenmeadow, off of Charleston, educated through the Palo Alto Unified School system. I have loved the town and appreciate the gift of having grown up in Palo Alto… in the past.
  • Jane Uyvova
    signed 2016-08-22 19:47:51 -0700
  • Asma Rabbani
    signed 2016-08-17 22:38:23 -0700
    Asma Rabbani
  • Rosemarie Giamalis
    signed 2016-08-17 16:29:08 -0700
    Rosemarie Giamalis
  • Joshua Puckett
    signed 2016-08-16 13:02:33 -0700
  • stephanie singh
    signed 2016-08-16 06:12:43 -0700


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