Supervisor Kim Introduces Long-Awaited Housing Balance Legislation

from APRIL VENERACION
Legislative aide to Supervisor Jane Kim

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim introduced legislation today to balance the continued development of market-rate housing with the successful delivery of badly-needed affordable housing. The city of San Francisco has been grappling with a well-documented housing crisis even in the midst of a rapid acceleration in development. Although 80% of all development is currently being built in District 6, the average District 6 resident has struggled to secure housing in the district. 

“Let’s build more density but let’s build it the right way,” said Supervisor Jane Kim. “I have shown my commitment to growing our economy and supporting higher density and development. This success must be balanced with an equal commitment to basic goals on affordable housing development. The best way to celebrate our diversity is to ensure that a minimum of new housing constructed is for a broad range of San Franciscans.”

The Planning Department recently released a one-pager revealing an unsurprising dearth of affordable housing development citywide, particularly for individuals making between $54,000 and $81,000 a year. During the same 2007-2013 reporting period, the City built and approved over 14,000 units of market-rate housing. According to a recent Budget & Legislative Analyst report, the median market rate unit in District 6 sells for $800,000, while the median rent for a 1 bedroom is $3,000 a month, rendering the majority of new housing development in District 6 inaccessible to the average District 6 resident.

“These numbers definitely reflect the housing crisis that we are seeing on the ground,” said Juslyn Manalo, Director of the Bill Sorro Housing Program, which helps place low-income tenants in below-market rate units. “If you are feeling the crunch as a person who makes $80,000 a year, imagine trying to penetrate the housing market as a family of four bringing in $50,000 a year. The impacts are devastating and frankly irreversible.”

San Francisco is currently meeting 189% of its market-rate housing development goals, but has fallen short of meeting its affordable housing goals. The Mayor recently reaffirmed the City’s commitment to developing a minimum of 30% affordable housing, and Supervisor Kim’s Housing Balance legislation seeks to support that baseline.

“Everyone knows the problems San Francisco is facing, but we can’t complain our way out of this housing crisis,” said Angelica Cabande, Executive Director of South of Market Community Action Network. “The City needs a baseline of development goals and the development community needs tools to meet those goals. This legislation came out of a citywide housing strategy conversation and is one tool to address the rampant displacement that has been an unintended consequence of growth in our city.”

In February, over 600 San Francisco residents came out in the rain to attend a citywide Tenant Convention that built on a series neighborhood housing town halls. The residents voted from a list of potential ballot and legislative measures, with the Housing Balance Ordinance eliciting the strongest support in the legislation category. Supervisors Avalos, Campos and Mar joined as co-sponsors of the Housing Balance Ordinance at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Copies of the legislation are available upon request.

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