San Mateo County

How to Apply

In addition to partnering with cities & counties to provide free services in exchange for affordable rents, you can also hire Hello Housing’s team to get your project moving. 


If you are ready now and think our services could be helpful for your project, please schedule a free 20-minute consultation to 1) learn more about our services and approach and (2) share with us what supports you are seeking to help determine if we are a good fit.

Thank you for your interest in applying to Bright in Your Own Backyard! We are now accepting applications on a rolling basis for homeowners living in the cities of East Palo Alto, Pacifica, Redwood City or the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County.  All eligible rolling applicants will be added to an active waitlist for each jurisdiction in the order that they are received.  To the extend that we have spots available at a future date, we will draw from the Bright in Your Own Backyard waitlist and notify the waitlist applicant of the opportunity to move forward in the selection process. 

STEP 1. Online Application

Submit your online application which will (1) determine your initial eligibility (2) provide Hello Housing  with some basic information about your second unit vision and your readiness and (3) ask you to affirm your understanding of what Bright in Your Own Backyard can and can’t do for you.


STEP 2. Wait List

If you meet the basic eligibility for Bright in Your Own Backyard, you will be automatically added to the Bright in Your Own Backyard wait list for your jurisdiction.  You will be placed on the wait list in the order that we receive your application.  You will be notified by email, confirming your eligibility and your position.

STEP 3. Remote Assessment & Phone Interview

A Remote Assessment involves (1) a review of remotely-available information specific to your address and (2) a phone interview with your household’s decision-maker(s). If our Remote Assessment concludes that your project is a good potential candidate for Bright in Your Own Backyard, and you are still interested in the program, we will invite you to submit documentation that shows your financial capacity to construct a second unit.

STEP 4. Financial Document Submittal

Financial documentation can include, for example, a pre-approval letter for a home equity loan, a bank statement, and/or a gift letter. (At this time, Bright in Your Own Backyard does not have financing available for the development of your second unit, however we can refer you to lenders who do.) Once we have determined your financial documentation is sufficient, we will schedule an in-person Site Visit.

STEP 5. Site Visit

Site visits will follow safety protocols as established by the County's Public Health Department in response to COVID-19. Site visits will be scheduled during a weekday between 9AM and 5PM. It is our expectation that all decision makers in your household participate, which will serve all of us well in the long run! At the Site Visit, we will walk your property together, learn more about your vision, review any sketches or drawings to date (if available), take measurements, locate utility connections, identify site conditions that may impact feasibility and construction cost, and discuss the pros and cons of alternative approaches.

STEP 6. Participant Package Submittal

If, following the Site Visit, you and Hello Housing mutually agree to move forward, you will be invited to submit a Participation Package which will include a Homeowner’s Participation Agreement, proof of property ownership, and any other documents identified at the Site Visit that are needed for Hello Housing to make a final selection. 

STEP 7. Participant Selections!

                            We hope to have all 16 slots (4 per jurisdiction) filled by the middle of                                  2021.  We will continue to engage wait list members as we work                                          through the process and will keep the rolling application open for                                        potential new members who have an interest in our support.