October 27, 2014 Housing Action Coalition
Mayor Ed Lee convened the third “big tent” meeting since February with the City’s numerous housing stakeholders last Tuesday. As of September, developers have built over 3,200 homes, 951 of which are permanently affordable (27%). The City’s pipeline dashboard unveiled at this meeting will be public soon. At the meeting, Senior City staff presented on four specific areas that are being addressed to meet the Mayor’s goal building 30,000 new and rehabilitated housing units by 2020.
Process Improvements. There continues to be broad consensus that, in order to reach the 30,000-unit goal, the City needs improvements and streamlining to our public process and Planning Code. While recognizing that there could be strong political obstacles to achieving this, the SFHAC encourages the City to act immediately on these process improvement changes.
Policy & Legislative Changes. A new density bonus ordinance offers, in broad terms, market-rate developers incentives or bonuses that would result in increasing the amounts of affordable housing they would build above the standard Inclusionary Housing Ordinance (IHO) rates. Percentages and menu of options have not been determined. The SFHAC’s gathering data and case studies for the Planning Dept’s analysis shaping the density bonus program. In addition, the City is working on three modifications to the IHO that, 1) reform the Off-Site option to make it more feasible to build 20% off-site; 2) add a middle-income “Dial” to the IHO; and 3) create a new IHO option that allows acquisition and rehabilitation of existing rent-controlled housing to make it permanently affordable. The Mayor’s team is aiming for early 2015 legislation.
Public Sites. Community meetings have begun to discuss how under-utilized properties belonging to various City agencies could be used to support urgent priorities such as improving housing affordability. These could include sites belonging to SF Water Department, the Unified School District, City College and others.
New Funding Sources. There is broad agreement that, because of declining federal and state financial support and the demise of the Redevelopment Agency, there is not enough public funding to reach the Mayor’s housing affordability goals. There are two approaches being discussed to address this resource gap: 1) Asking City voters to approve a housing general obligation bond and/or a budget set-aside and 2) Creation of a public-private “catalyst fund” of patient or mission-driven capital that could be used for site acquisition or other project-based approaches. The SFHAC will bring in OEWD staff in early 2015 to give an overview of these resources.