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October 2019 Newsletter
Anchoring Health and Wealth


Items to include in this newsletter

Health by Numbers

Removing Barriers to Prosperity

The median household income in San Mateo County is $105,667. Census tracts in Daly City, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and East Palo Alto have the lowest median household income at less than $60,000 a year. Removing barriers to prosperity and ensuring that all community members have the resources they need to thrive is critical for building a healthier County.  Source

Staff Perspective Justin Watkins Grace Streltzov

Local Produce Promotes Health, Economic Well-Being and Sustainable Agriculture

Justin and Grace here combining forces to talk about anchor strategies, which is a framework for building health and wealth in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods. Across the country, hospitals and health systems are using their economic power to improve community well-being. These large place-based enterprises, also known as “anchor institutions”, are using their resources to create economic opportunities for excluded and low-income residents through inclusive workforce programs, equitable procurement policies, sustainability efforts and mission-aligned investments.


Help Support Community Businesses

Thriving and culturally relevant small businesses are a critical ingredient for community health. Middlefield Road in North Fair Oaks is home to many small family-operated businesses, many of which are owned by Mexican-American entrepreneurs. El Mercado is a community-member driven strategy to market and stabilize these businesses.  The project involves developing one website with over 100 businesses that can help North Fair Oaks businesses market and gain customers throughout the Bay Area. Want to get involved?


Protecting Retail Food Workers’ Health and Well-Being

Last month, Santa Clara County launched a Food Services Enforcement Program to protect workers’ health and economic well-being. In partnership with the Santa Clara Department of Environmental Health, the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement engages food retail vendors with outstanding wage theft judgments, encourages them to pay unpaid wages, and revokes food permits for vendors who violate their judgment for non-payment.


Creating a More Healthy, Equitable, and Sustainable Food System

Last month, the San Mateo County Food System Alliance (SMFSA) held a strategic planning retreat, which included representatives from over 10 local organizations representing all aspects of the food system. The SMFSA represents multiple stakeholders of the food system, and yet, there is still much work to be done to ensure equal representation from groups such as farmworkers, food service workers, and food retailers.


San Mateo, Foster City and Colma Working to Be More Age-Friendly!

Do you wonder what type of environment you’ll want to live in as you grow older? This month, the Board has continued its commitment in ensuring the county is an accessible community by extending its Age-Friendly Cities Pilot Initiative to three new cities. Thanks to the communities of Pacifica, Daly City and Redwood City for leading the way last year and we’re looking forward to working with the communities of San Mateo, Foster City, and Colma to implement policies geared toward improving the health of our older adult community.


Recommendation: Maximize Safe Second Units. Minimize Displacement.

The East Palo Alto Accessory Dwelling Unit and Anti-Displacement Task Force finalized recommendations for the East Palo Alto City Council. The recommendations focus on actions to help homeowners streamline the rehabilitation of unpermitted second units, support tenants to remain house in their communities, and build an ecosystem of financing and workforce development strategies that can help low-income homeowners and workers to leverage this wealth-building opportunity.


Finding Solutions for Car and RV Dwellers

A group of community partners and homeless service providers are partnering to design solutions for people who live in RVs and cars. They organized a San Mateo County Safe Parking Working Group to ensure that car and RV dwellers have safe and stable locations to park their vehicles without being penalized or criminalized by their communities. The working group acknowledges that more permanent housing solutions are needed.


North Fair Oaks / Redwood City Implementation

A group of stakeholders from the Redwood City/North Fair Oaks planning process met this month to discuss possible next steps for moving forward community-identified priorities. Participants decided to create three working groups: Mental health, youth engagement in decision-making, and a peer to peer model for parents to more effectively navigate systems. If you would like to be involved in these groups going forward please contact Maeve Johnston at


The Best Beverage is Often Free

The public health community and health advocates have long been urging people to avoid drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, energy drinks and juice, and to just drink water. New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical organizations are the most comprehensive yet, for children under the age of 5. The recommendations encourage parents to only allow kids under 5 to drink water or milk.