Thursday, August 7, 2014

(San Francisco County) Outlook ‘gloomy’ for San Francisco’s 10K new affordable housing goal, report says

July 25, 2014
San Francisco Business Times
By Eric Young, Reporter

San Francisco appears to be on track to meet the mayor’s goal of 30,000 new housing units by 2020 but the outlook for meeting affordable housing goals is “gloomy,” according to a civil grand jury report.
Mayor Ed Lee said this year he wants one third of the city’s new and rehabilitated housing – 10,000 units – to be affordable to low-income residents.
To reach that goal, all of the units scheduled for rehabilitation in the city’s public housing complexes (4,575) will have to be completed and more than 5,000 new affordable units need to be completed as well.
But affordable housing production could be hindered by the dissolution of redevelopment agencies coupled with decreasing funding from state and federal sources, the grand jury report stated.
Moreover, housing in San Francisco takes years to build: It is not unusual for projects to take 4 to 6 years and rarely are projects completed two years from entitlement, the report stated.
All these reasons lead the grand jury to conclude that “the outlook tends to be gloomy” for the city to meet its affordable housing goal.
A representative for the Mayor’s Office of Housing was not immediately available for comment.
Tim Colen, executive director of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition, said the mayor “deserves enormous credit to bring attention to the affordability crisis. Ten thousand (units) is an ambitious goal and it’s time to close ranks and work toward finding funding to deliver on it.”
Colen declined comment specifically on the grand jury report.
Regarding the mayor’s broader goal of 30,000 new and rehabilitated housing units, the grand jury report said there are close to 40,000 units approved by the city planning department. While there is always uncertainty about whether all those units will get built, that number is “extremely healthy” for achieving the 30,000 goal, the report states.
The grand jury report noted that even if San Francisco builds all of the affordable units under the mayor’s plan, it will not “resolve the housing affordability crisis currently overtaking the city. At best these publically funded programs will provide relief for a limited number of citizens and help to sustain a level of economic diversity.”
Eric Young covers economic development, government, law and the business of sports for the San Francisco Business Times.

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