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Mayor Lee Introduces Measure with Supervisor Breed to Achieve Aggressive Housing Goals with Focus on Low & Middle Income Families

Mayor’s Goal to Build 30,000 Housing Units by 2020 With More Than 50 Percent Affordable for Low & Middle Income San Franciscans Strengthened by November 2014 Ballot Measure That Will Speed & Fund Hous

Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee, with support from Supervisor London Breed, placed a measure on the November 2014 ballot to allow the City to meet its aggressive housing goal of 30,000 new housing units by 2020 and move forward Mayor Lee’s 7-Point Housing Plan that will keep San Francisco affordable for low and middle income families and will ensure the City’s support for rebuilding and revitalizing public housing across the City. Mayor Lee and Supervisor Breed are joined in support by Supervisors Mark Farrell, Katy Tang and Scott Wiener.

“In January, I set forth an ambitious plan to address our City’s housing crisis, with a commitment to build and rehabilitate 30,000 new housing units by 2020, with more than 50 percent within the reach of our City’s low and middle income families,” said Mayor Lee. “Achieving these goals will require our City to work together like never before, to build more new housing every year than at any time in our history, and devote more resources – public and private – towards new housing for middle and lower income families. Today, I am taking steps to commit our housing plan as City policy and, with the endorsement of the people of San Francisco this November, ensure we develop a real funding plan to achieve it and at the same time protect against any newly proposed hurdles that would slow or impede our progress towards addressing our City’s housing crisis. Increasing the supply of all types of housing in our City and making sure San Francisco remains affordable to people of every income level must be our top priority. We must work together to build new housing now for our middle income and lower income families, and this initiative will help ensure nothing slows our progress towards meeting or exceeding our goals. I look forward to working the Board of Supervisors, housing advocates, builders and the people of our City to pass this measure in November.”

“This measure is the best way to protect affordable housing funding, preserve existing public housing units, and ensure that all San Franciscans have access to an affordable, safe place to call home,” said Supervisor Breed.  “I am proud to help lead the effort, and I thank Mayor Lee for his continued support of affordable housing.”

“In order to address the affordability crisis San Francisco is facing – we have to add to the supply of housing at all levels and support policies and programs that help us achieve that goal,” said Supervisor Farrell. “The two largest impediments to building housing in San Francisco are the costs to do so and the amount of time it takes to go through the City’s process. I fully support Mayor Lee’s November ballot initiative to add more certainty and clarity to the development process, so that we can be well on our way to achieving our City’s goal of building 30,000 units by 2020 – with 50 percent of the units being within reach to low and middle-income households.”
“Now, more than ever, San Francisco must prioritize smart housing production of both market-rate and affordable units to make sure San Francisco remains an affordable place to live for residents at every income level,” said Supervisor Wiener. “We have a housing shortage, and if we are to maintain a diverse city, we must address this shortage decisively. Our population is growing and will continue to grow whether or not we produce housing.  Our choice is whether to prepare for this growth by creating housing or continuing on the path of unaffordability. This housing measure is a valuable tool that will help speed up and fund even more housing production and make it easier for low and middle income San Francisco families to call San Francisco home.”

The proposed housing measure will:
•    require the creation of a funding strategy that will ensure over 50 percent of the 30,000 new and rehabilitated units by 2020 are within financial reach of low and middle income households;
•    allocate no less than 33 percent of appropriations from the Housing Trust Fund to the revitalization of severely dilapidated Housing Authority units;
•    identify new revenue sources to support housing for middle income households as well as study the impact of luxury development on the demand for middle income housing;
•    ensure no new barriers prevent housing production in areas that have been planned for; and
•    direct new housing in areas where the City and community have already planned for it.

The proposed housing measure was submitted directly to the Department of Elections for voter consideration on the November 2014 ballot.

In his January State of the City Address, Mayor Lee outlined a 7-point plan to achieve of these ambitious targets. The basic tenets are:
•    protect residents from eviction and displacement, including Ellis Act reform;
•    stabilize and protect at-risk rent-controlled units, through rehabilitation loans and a new program to permanently stabilize rent conditions in at-risk units;
•    revitalize and rebuild public housing;
•    double down payment loan programs;
•    build more affordable housing, faster;
•    continue to build market rate units, especially rental units, to address the demand crisis; and
•    make construction of new housing easier.

Mayor Lee asked housing leaders, developers, advocates and property owners to participate in a Housing Task Force to examine solutions under these tenets, develop a plan for their execution, and form a coalition around their implementation.

San Francisco has completed more housing units in the first five months of 2014 than in the entire year of 2013. Two years ago, San Francisco voters created the Housing Trust Fund to create a $1.5 billion dollar stream of funding for affordable housing for low- and middle-income residents over the next 30 years. To do more, in addition to the $44.4 million from the Housing Trust Fund, Mayor Lee is including $50 million in additional new funding to expedite affordable housing projects over the next two years in his proposed two year budget. These funds represent a significant infusion to fill gap funding on projects and seed new projects throughout San Francisco. In addition to creating more housing for low- and middle-income residents, Mayor Lee’s budget focuses on re-envisioning and transforming public housing sites, reducing obstacles and red tape that slow down construction, and continuing funding for eviction prevention and rapid re-housing.

Mayor Lee has also implemented administrative changes to help retain existing units, speed review and approval of new housing, and encourage housing construction, including:
•    prioritizing development projects based on the amount of affordable housing produced;
•    reducing the loss of housing – legal or otherwise – by requiring a Planning Commission hearing when such housing is proposed to be eliminated;
•    coordinating the City’s permitting and asset-holding agencies to gain efficiencies in housing production;
•    improving public information and transparency relating to the City’s development procedures and pipeline housing projects.

Mayor Lee also made two coordination changes to help protect rental housing: 1) a new process for Planning Commission Discretionary Review hearings when a loss of housing is proposed, and 2) for the Department of Building Inspection and Planning Department to coordinate with the Rent Board on code compliance checks for buildings that are being withdrawn from the rental market.