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Mayor Lee & Supervisor Christensen Sponsor Legislation to Create Preference for Neighborhood Residents & Displaced Tenants in Future Affordable Housing Units

New Preferences Provide Priority Access to New Affordable Housing to Existing Neighborhood Residents Who Have Been Displaced

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Supervisor Julie Christensen, joined by Supervisors Malia Cohen, London Breed and Scott Wiener, announced the introduction of legislation that will provide a preference in affordable housing to tenants who have been subject to a no-fault eviction, and provides a preference for existing neighborhood residents in new affordable housing constructed in their communities.   

“We are making progress on our ongoing efforts to assist tenants and stabilize neighborhoods facing the pressures of a volatile housing market,” said Mayor Lee. “Both the neighborhood preference and the expanded Ellis Act Housing Preference will help keep San Francisco’s longtime tenants and working families in their own neighborhoods, keeping them housed affordably and keeping San Francisco a unique, diverse and vibrant City where everyone belongs.”

“Our neighborhoods have a huge impact on our quality of life – our corner-store merchants, our neighborhood associations, our favorite parks and open spaces, schools, even health services and other vital resources,” said Supervisor Christensen. “With the introduction of this legislation, residents that have been displaced due to no-fault evictions will now have preference for affordable housing options available in their existing district as well as for other opportunities citywide. This is common sense legislation that will provide another layer of housing security for those for those beset by displacement.”

“This is exactly what we need – bold legislation to protect San Franciscans who want to remain in this City,” said Supervisor Cohen. “The current housing lottery system is not protecting residents who need affordable housing and want to remain in their neighborhood. Too many people are being forced out because they are getting passed over in the affordable housing lotteries. This legislation will ensure a portion of new affordable units will go directly to local residents.”

“Growing up, I saw too many of my friends and family displaced by the Redevelopment Agency,” said Board President Breed.  “Now I see too many San Franciscans losing their homes to no-fault evictions or financial pressures. My colleagues and I are working to right these wrongs – keeping our residents in homes they can afford and in their beloved neighborhoods.”

The proposed neighborhood preference legislation will give low- and moderate-income households a priority for 25 percent of all City-sponsored affordable housing built within the Supervisorial district in which they live. The benefits of this preference are many families can secure permanent, affordable housing while maintaining their existing safety nets, such as schools, after-school programs, places of worship and health-care providers.  Rent-burdened and housing-insecure residents can achieve relief, even if market-rate rents are out of reach. By helping residents stay in their existing communities, San Franciscans can maintain vital connections to long-term neighbors, family and friends.  

The legislation’s second component addresses tenants who have already suffered residential displacement – households evicted through no fault of their own. Last year, Mayor Lee supported and the Board of Supervisors approved the Ellis Act Housing Preference, which gave a priority preference in affordable housing development to households evicted under the Ellis Act. Recognizing that victims of other “no-fault” evictions needed similar assistance, the legislation broadens the occupancy preference to any tenant displaced since January 1, 2010 by: the Ellis Act; a no-fault justification tracked by the San Francisco Rent Board; the expiration of rent restrictions tied to a building’s original financing; and unit demolition, removal, or conversion to homeownership.  

Mayor Lee’s proposed two year budget provides more resources to the City’s eviction prevention programs, including the Ellis Act, bringing a total of $6.3 million annually.