addressing Homeless Issues/Concerns

Homelessness is a continuing issue in many communities throughout California, and the country. In Half Moon Bay, as of the last count by San Mateo County in January, 2017, the homeless population was 43 people; this number does fluctuate. Periodically, the homeless set up camps, sometimes in ecologically-sensitive areas, which pose public health, safety, and environmental issues (click here for information about the homeless encampment near Strawflower shopping center, the assistance that the City and others are providing to those individuals, and the planned cleanup/restoration of the area).

The homeless in our community are typically individuals who are in crisis, who have limited options for their living conditions, and who need the help of social services agencies in meeting some of their daily needs. The City of Half Moon Bay, as part of the San Mateo County Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), partners with the County, law enforcement, social services providers, and other stakeholders to help the homeless people in our community gain access to the many existing services that are available, including helping them toward permanent housing.

This collaborative effort to bring services, information, and resources to homeless individuals is ongoing, and is an important concern and priority for the City of Half Moon Bay. Another priority is to ensure protection of public health, safety, and the environment. Many people who live and work in our community also share these concerns.

You can help. Call 911 in a dangerous or life-threatening situation, a homeless encampment that the City may not be aware of, or another issue related to the homeless that you feel the City and its partners should address.

You can also consider donating your volunteer time or funding to one of the social services agencies in the County and on the Coastside – see a list of agencies and resources here.

Facilitating the provision of much-needed County and nonprofit service provider assistance to the homeless in our community is the first, critical step in helping them to find a more stable living situation. The City’s goals are to balance its responsibilities to the entire community, work with its partners to assist the homeless in a sensitive and caring way, and maintain the environment and the public health and safety.

In December 2020, the County of San Mateo acquired the Coastside Inn hotel in Half Moon Bay in order to create a new shelter program to assist people experiencing homelessness.  There were no homeless shelters on the San Mateo County coastside, and after many years of exploration and attempts from various stakeholders to address this service gap, a unique opportunity was presented where the County received time-limited federal funding and was able to identify a building for sale that was appropriate to develop a non-congregate homeless shelter.  These circumstances aligned efforts to bring site-based services to the coast that would also make progress towards the County’s goal of reaching a functional zero level of homelessness.  The City of Half Moon Bay is supportive of these efforts and desires to work collaboratively with the County on addressing homelessness on the coast.

This new program will serve San Mateo County community members who are experiencing homelessness, with a preference first for those who are from Half Moon Bay and surrounding coastside areas.  This shelter approach not only addresses the vulnerabilities due to COVID-19, but also eliminates many of the barriers reported by chronic unsheltered homeless individuals who have declined shelter in the past.  By providing personal privacy in individual rooms, the option for partners to be sheltered together, and maintaining a connection with their home community on the coast, this emergency shelter will provide a safe resting place while program participants work on long term housing plans.  A pilot program was initiated in December 2020 to test the location and operations, with the knowledge that the longer-term program would benefit from community input. 

To view more information about the County’s acquisition process and current and future plans for the shelter, please visit: