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San Mateo County 

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in applying to Bright In Your Own Backyard! The initial deadline to apply has passed and we are now accepting applications on a rolling basis. To the extent that we have spots available at a future date, we will draw from the applications received after the deadline and before any additional marketing.


Please note that at this time, this offering is only available to homeowners living in their homes located in the cities of East Palo Alto, Pacifica, Redwood City or the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County. We plan to expand our offering to other areas including South San Francisco and Unincorporated Alameda County, so please subscribe to our ADU newsletter, The Bright Spot, for updates and complete this expansion request form to let us know your preferred city and type of services you would like to see made available.

STEP 1. Online Application

The initial deadline has passed.

June 1, 2020

extended from May 1st

Prior to 5PM on June 1st, you will submit an 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. Lottery

Week of June 8th

If you meet the basic eligibility for Bright in Your Own Backyard, you will receive an email with a lottery number. If you do not meet the initial eligibility requirements, you will receive an email explaining why you are not being entered into the lottery.


Hello Housing will hold a separate lottery for each participating jurisdiction (e.g. one lottery for East Palo Alto applicants, one lottery for Redwood City applicants etc.) We will communicate your lottery results by email. The purpose of each lottery is to establish a ranking order for Hello Housing to perform a Remote Assessment.

STEP 3. Remote Assessment & Phone Interview

June & July 2020

A Remote Assessment involves (1) a review of remotely-available information specific to your address and (2) a phone interview with your household’s decisionmaker(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

June & July 2020

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

August & September 2020

Site Visits will be scheduled once public health officials deems it safe. They will then be scheduled during a weekday between 9AM and 5PM. It is our expectation that all decisionmakers 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

September & October 2020

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!

September & October 2020

By the end of October 2020, we will have selected four homeowners per jurisdiction to proceed, and created a waitlist of up to six homeowners per jurisdiction so that if any of the first four selected decide at any point not to proceed, we can redirect our resources to the next homeowner on the waitlist.

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