Housing Resources

Emergency Shelters

Shelter Network is the leading provider on the Peninsula for housing and support services for homeless families and individuals, with five locations in San Mateo County.

Home & Hope offers homeless families safe, nurturing, shelter and support while families work to regain their self-sufficiency. Home & Hope is a values-based provider.

Youth and Family Enrichment Services (YFES) is a private non-profit agency in San Mateo County that provides a wide array of free and low-cost services to help children, youth and adults who are dealing with substance abuse, violence, mental health, relationship and communication issues. Among its many functions, YFES provides shelters for teens.

Housing Advocacy

Project Sentinel is a non-profit agency providing services to help people resolve housing problems. The agency assists home seekers as well as housing providers through counseling, complaint investigation, mediation, conciliation and education. The services are funded by cities and counties in the greater Bay Area and Central Valley. All services are free and confidential.

Housing for Persons with Disabilities

The Center for Independence of the Disabled (CID) is a private, nonprofit Corporation located in San Mateo, California. CID is a consumer-driven, community based, services and advocacy organization serving San Mateo County. CID is one of 29 Independent Living Centers in the State of California.

Home for All San Mateo County Initiative

The "Home for All San Mateo County Initiative" resulting from the joint efforts of all San Mateo County jurisdictions, private industry, housing advocates and religious organizations has launched a housing policy resource center, a community engagement campaign, and a regional action plan to implement a variety of strategies to continue working on housing issues by collaborating with jurisdictions and the community.

Making Home Affordable (MHA)

Making Home Affordable is a key part of the Obama Administration's effort to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. If you are struggling with your monthly mortgage payments or have already missed a payment, now is the time to take action. Start today by learning more about the options available to you through MHA.

Residential Care for the Elderly

The intent of this program is to provide board and care opportunities for qualifying individuals, some of whom may be longtime Hillsborough residents who can no longer remain in their homes and who wish to continue living in Hillsborough. State law provides that a residential care facility (defined as a facility serving six or fewer persons) is a residential use and must be permitted wherever residential uses are allowed. Find locations of licensed facilities.

San Mateo County Department of Housing

Affordable Housing

There are many affordable housing opportunities and resources available through the San Mateo County Department of Housing.

Housing Repair Programs

The Department of Housing offers low-interest loans to rehabilitate homes for eligible homeowners. These loans cover moderate (less than $25,000) to substantial ($25,000 or more) rehabilitation to single family owner-occupied residences. Loans are available to low or very low-income homeowners, and owners of multi-unit rental properties that benefit low or very-low income families. Please see the San Mateo County website for more information.

Second Units

A "second unit" is a smaller but independent unit on the same site as a new or existing single family house that can be occupied by family members, domestic assistance and/or rental. The second unit can be part of the main house or it can be located in a detached building.

Second units provide opportunities for service / rent exchanges, generational family living opportunities and mortgage assistance.

Although the town has permitted second units since 2002, the town is now further encouraging the creation of second units through the following:

  • Continued waiver of Planning and Permit fees
  • Relaxed parking requirements for second units with three or more bedrooms
  • Administrative versus Architecture and Design Review Board approval for most second units (unless there are design or neighborhood compatibility issues)
  • An allowance for the rental of both the primary residence and second unit to one party
  • Renewal of the provisions to allow existing, appropriate residential space to second units when upgraded to code

Please refer to the below guides offered by Home for All in partnership with 21 Elements intended to facilitate Accessory Dwelling Unit development throughout the County.

If you are interested in pursuing the creation of a second unit either through new construction or conversion of existing space you may review the process, requirements and application (PDF), or contact the Hillsborough Building and Planning Division at 650-375-7422.

Shared Housing

The Town of Hillsborough supports shared housing, which does not require a business license.

Residents who have available (surplus) space may wish to share that space or rent it in return for income or care, but may be reluctant to rent to strangers. Shared housing programs, such as the one administered in San Mateo County by the nonprofit organization Human Investment Project (HIP), match persons needing housing (including seniors and the disabled) with those who have available space. HIP interviews applicants and providers and negotiates terms to assure a proper match between individuals' lifestyles.

If you are interested in pursuing shared housing you may review the frequently asked questions handout (PDF), or contact a representative at HIP Housing at 650-348-6660.