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?

  • Amy Hald
    signed 2015-11-24 10:48:49 -0800
  • Micah Catlin
    signed 2015-11-24 09:37:49 -0800
    My employer is in Palo Alto, and we have lost job candidates after they do some research into the price of local housing. About half the company has a >1hour (1-way) commute to get here. That’s just tragic.
  • Leora Tanjuatc0
    signed 2015-11-24 09:04:08 -0800
  • Lee I. Lippert
    signed 2015-11-24 08:35:26 -0800
    We are very quickly becoming an exclusive gated community. Our property values are pretty much establish by the quality and reputation of the Palo Alto School District. However, when we do NOT provide enough low income and very low-income housing we close this gate and deny socio-economically disadvantage citizens from obtaining a quality primary and secondary education, leading to quality higher education and better paying careers. It is our moral responsibility to provide an equitable variety of housing types, for people that perform both low paying jobs, as well as high-tech works earning top wages. Low income housing doesn’t mean low-cost housing. The state and federal government provides subsidies and economic relief, that pay for the difference between low-income wage earners, and the actual cost of financing this inclusionary housing. If we don’t build enough low-income housing, we are simply adding to the jobs housing imbalance, by having low-wage workers drive to their Palo Alto jobs; adding traffic and clogging our arterial roads, increasing our carbon footprint, and parking in our local neighborhoods.
  • Mark Michael
    signed 2015-11-24 07:07:14 -0800
  • Ron Hall
    signed 2015-11-24 07:04:52 -0800
  • Emmanuel Goldstein
    signed 2015-11-23 23:41:12 -0800
    NIMBYism enabled by government is a plague on humanity, chiefly at the expense of renters & the poor.
  • Sid Espinosa
    signed 2015-11-23 23:22:52 -0800
  • A.C. Johnston
    signed 2015-11-23 18:39:20 -0800
  • Karen Sachs
    signed 2015-11-23 18:03:25 -0800
  • Leland Levy
    signed 2015-11-23 15:56:50 -0800
    I would be cautious about item Number 4. Even if “car-light,” most residents own cars. Increased housing, therefore should be accompanied by added off-street parking.
  • Dena Mossar
    signed 2015-11-23 14:39:19 -0800
  • Alex Antebi
    signed 2015-11-23 13:18:12 -0800
    I support this, as Palo Alto needs more housing options, for people that can only afford say a small 1br. Much of this is happening, with “illegally” converted garages. This could happen within the law if the city’s policies line up better with the demand side reality.
  • Jesse Clark
    signed 2015-11-23 12:11:34 -0800
  • Bridget Lynch
    signed 2015-11-23 12:06:01 -0800
  • Andrew Brackenbury
    signed 2015-11-23 10:53:08 -0800
    It’s very sad to see what is happening to the city in which I grew up. It’s unrecognizable and no longer seems to be a healthy, balanced community. I’m not certain the issue can be fixed at this point but providing housing for the non-multimillionaires is probably a good idea.
  • Joe Rolfe
    posted about this on Facebook 2015-11-23 10:22:33 -0800
    I want Palo Alto...
  • Joe Rolfe
    signed 2015-11-23 10:21:59 -0800
  • Lucas Morton
    signed 2015-11-23 09:11:32 -0800
  • Brian Rubin
    signed 2015-11-22 21:43:10 -0800
  • Alice Manning
    signed 2015-11-22 18:25:05 -0800
  • Harvey Schloss
    signed 2015-11-22 13:45:47 -0800
  • stephen levy
    signed 2015-11-22 11:50:15 -0800
  • Nancy Levy
    signed 2015-11-22 10:45:59 -0800
  • O'Malley Stoumen
    signed 2015-11-22 10:21:47 -0800
  • Debbie Mytels
    signed 2015-11-21 13:18:03 -0800


get updates