Challenge Grant Spotlight: Redwood City


The Challenge Grants bring local changemakers together to work on housing policies that protect tenants and preserve existing affordable housing. In the face of the challenges of COVID and virtual work, the Challenge Grant cohort has been incredibly adaptive and resilient, finding new ways to advance housing justice policies. Together, this community of practice is laying the groundwork for equitable housing policy throughout the Bay Area, starting at the local level.  

We’ve learned a lot from the first year of this program and are spotlighting some of the incredible work happening across the Bay Area. This post is part of an ongoing series that will share some of the highs and lows of what we are learning along the way, as well as what we’re getting ready for in 2021. 

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Progress through Inclusive Collaboration in Redwood City

Redwood City’s Challenge Grant team has made incredible progress in implementing tenant protection policies and creating a preservation strategy that will leverage local and regional partnerships. Part of the City’s success can be attributed to its emphasis on collaboration, process, and inclusion.

The core team—which includes Redwood City staff, myself, and our community partner Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County—kicked off 2020 with a series of power mapping and long-term strategy sessions which included identifying key stakeholders and clearly defining their two areas of emphasis: tenant protections and multi-family housing preservation.

Bringing Additional Community Partners to the Table

The Redwood City Challenge Grant team has also engaged with additional community partners. This year, the team will be partnering with the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center (PCRC) and Faith In Action to help facilitate and deepen the City’s relationship with tenants and landlords.  

As a San Mateo County serving nonprofit, PCRC has earned a reputation for empowering individuals to build relationship, trust and mutually agreeable outcomes through some of the most difficult conversations facing the Bay Area and the world. PCRC has been a long-time partner with the City and most recently led the community through a series of conversations on policing, governmental accountability, and equity—building community trust along the way.  

Faith In Action, a network of congregations and community leaders, are long time tenant rights advocates and have been engaging Redwood City’s tenants for a number of years. 

Continuing to Center Community Voice in 2021

It is through developing and deepening these inter-institutional relationships that Redwood City’s Challenge Grant team envisions developing sustainable, effective housing policies—ensuring that the voices of tenants and landlords are the foundation of the City’s housing policies. We look forward to seeing how these complex projects equitably influence the housing landscape for Redwood City. 

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