The San Francisco Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC) believes our City must increase its supply of well-designed, well-located housing at all levels of affordability. Here are our member’s agreed areas of focus in 2015 goals to address our city’s housing challenges.
Pass a General Obligation Housing Bond in 2015. Traditional sources of federal and state funding that support non-market-rate housing have been in sharp decline. San Francisco’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance only helps a small number of people and cannot scale sufficiently to address the enormous need. The SFHAC will ask residents to pass a general obligation housing bond to support housing affordability, especially for middle-income residents.
Pass Legislation from the Mayor’s Housing Working Group. The Mayor’s Housing Working Group made numerous policy recommendations to the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance in 2014 in response to the affordability crisis. In 2015, the SFHAC will push for these recommendations to be drafted and passed into legislation. Successful reforms of the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance would increase production of both low- and middle-income housing.
Create an Inclusionary “Dial”. This program would allow higher numbers of on-site, permanently affordable homes than the City currently requires under the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, and would be aimed at middle-income residents.
Reform Off-Site Inclusionary Rules. Because of the rigidity of its rules, the off-site option of the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance is rarely used. Improving this program could significantly increase the City’s production of permanently affordable housing.
Adopt a Local Density Bonus. Another way to increase production of below-market-rate housing is to come into compliance with State law and adopt a City ordinance providing realistic incentives to build additional affordable units. The SFHAC will work with the City on how to balance height and density in exchange for increased on-site housing affordability.
Keep Planning for the Future
Enforce Current Area Plans and Create New Ones: Community planning is our best civic tool to produce new housing as well as livable, desirable neighborhoods. The Market-Octavia Plan and Eastern Neighborhoods Plans (ENP) adopted in 2008 have produced thousands of new homes close to transit. As the improving economy enables more housing to be built, the ENP’s goals and merits should be upheld. The SFHAC encourages the City to continue neighborhood planning as a solution to long-term housing production. The Central SoMa Plan is the last of the large-scale area plans in the pipeline. The SFHAC encourages expedited adoption of a Central SoMa Plan with more height and density to maximize the amount of housing in this transit rich area, within the urban core. In order to achieve elevated amounts of below-market-rate housing, the Central SoMa Plan should include a targeted density bonus and an Inclusionary Dial.
Expedite Public Land for Housing Program. The City has identified four priority public properties that will be designated for new housing. The SFHAC will push the City to hold to their stated timeline of choosing the first-phase partners by end-2015. Properly designed, these sites could produce thousands of new homes.
Streamline Housing Permitting Process: San Francisco’s housing permit process continues to be notoriously difficult and unpredictable. This creates financial costs, due to delays and permitting risks, that are essentially passed on to new residents. New housing that complies with our extensive planning rules and that pays the mandated fees deserves quick approval without unwarranted appeals and delays.
Experiment with New Building Types & Practices. There are no “magic bullets” that can solve our affordability crisis. The SFHAC supports a variety of innovative building types to meet our complex housing needs, including: Micro-units as small as 220 square feet; new accessory dwelling units or “in-law units”; co-living housing; and modular construction to reduce construction timelines.