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Mayor Lee Protects Tenants at Five Properties at Risk of Real Estate Speculation & Makes Properties Permanently Affordable

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the acquisition and preservation of five apartment buildings consisting of 19 units of rental housing whose tenants and residents had been served with Ellis Act eviction notices. The projects are part of the City’s Small Sites Program (SSP) which provides financing for the acquisition and rehabilitation of privately owned properties in order to protect existing and often long term and diverse tenants from eviction and establish long-term housing affordability in San Francisco.

“We are fighting evictions throughout the City to make sure longtime, diverse tenants stay in their homes,” said Mayor Lee. “Even as we build more affordable housing throughout our City, we must continue to do more to preserve our precious housing stock and protect existing tenants through innovative programs like this one.”

San Francisco Community Land Trust (SFCLT) and the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) worked with eviction prevention organizations to identify properties with tenants at risk of Ellis Act evictions. Tenants in each of the five properties faced eviction proceedings that were prevented by the purchase of these properties with loans from the City. The nonprofit owners will complete renovations at each property over the next few months to address delayed maintenance issues found at the properties and prepare vacant units for occupancy.

“We applaud the City of San Francisco and Mayor Lee for their commitment to taking the Small Sites program beyond its pilot stage, and for using the program as one valuable tool toward solving the displacement crisis,” MEDA Director of Community Real Estate Karoleen Feng. “MEDA is excited to have worked with MOHCD and SFCLT on this Small Sites acquisition to save five properties overall, with two in the hard-hit Mission District. We look forward to working with the Iantornos – and other property owners – to find solutions to stop the displacement of longtime residents from their homes.”

“The Community Land Trust is proud to have been able to create a win-win situation for the owners and tenants of these 5 apartment buildings, and we look forward to working with other apartment building owners who want to sell to the nonprofit community to stabilize existing residents and neighborhoods, while ensuring these homes remain permanently affordable for future households,” said SFCLT Organizational Director Tracy Parent.

“As long-time owners of residential property in the Mission District, we are very pleased to be able to share in the City’s vision of preserving and increasing its stock of affordable housing. As a result of guidance from and cooperation with the Mayor’s Office, the Iantorno family was able to transfer five properties to the Mayor’s Small Site Acquisition Program,” said Sergio and Paul Iantorno. “These sites were initially subject to Ellis Act proceedings; however, over the last nine months, we were able to iron out the terms for this transaction to the benefit of the tenants (and future occupants) of these buildings. This was accomplished in no small part through the collaboration and guidance from the Mayor’s Office and the financing role of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. We thank buyers San Francisco Community Land Trust and Mission Economic Development Agency for their cooperation in achieving this mutually satisfactory outcome.”

SFCLT borrowed loans to purchase properties at 1353-1357 Folsom, 70-72 Belcher, and 1684-1688 Guerrero Streets in the South of Market, Duboce Triangle and Noe Valley neighborhoods. MEDA borrowed loans to purchase properties at 642-646 Guerrero Street and 380 San Jose Avenue in the Mission Dolores and Outer Mission neighborhoods. After renovations are complete, vacant units will be offered for rent through a lottery process to applicants with incomes up to 120 percent Area Median Income (AMI).

Since its inception in 2014, the Small Sites Program has contributed $13.9 million in City funds to help non-profit sponsors purchase and renovate eight properties stabilizing 49 residential units. There are four additional applications for City funding pending that are expected to close in spring 2016. Housing acquired through the SSP will be permanently affordable for existing tenants and future generations of tenants. Mayor Lee proposed in his two year budget to provide more resources to the City’s eviction prevention programs, including the Ellis Act, bringing a total of $6.5 million, annually, to assist San Francisco tenants to stay in their homes.

Funding for the Small Sites Program comes from the voter-approved Housing Trust Fund, Inclusionary Housing Program fees, condo conversion fees, Development Impact Fees and the SoMa Stabilization Fund.

In September 2015, the City preserved affordable housing at the Pigeon Palace in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood through the Small Sites Program. This acquisition highlights the goals of the Mayor’s Mission Action Plan 2020, which is a collaboration between community organizations and the City to create more affordable housing and economic stability in the Mission District. Mayor Lee has made a commitment to support longtime tenants in this highly-impacted neighborhood – many of whom are long-term contributors to the local world of art, AIDS activism, community organizing and alternative culture. Mission Action Plan 2020 will set affordable housing, jobs and small business targets and define housing and job solutions for neighborhood stability at various income levels for 2020 and beyond. The strategies may encompass land use and zoning, financing, identification of opportunity sites, and other community development programs, as well as monitoring mechanisms.