The San Francisco Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC) experienced the ups and downs of the housing world during an eventful 2016. We want to look back at some of the memorable events of the last year.
Most housing starts and ends at San Francisco’s City Hall. The first big win came in February when the Board approved legislation that would streamline the approval process for 100% subsidized affordable housing. We firmly believe that all housing, especially subsidized housing, is “necessary and desirable” for our City and we were thrilled that this long overdue legislation was approved.
A couple of weeks later, the San Francisco Planning Commission finally approved a portion the Affordable Housing Bonus Program (AHBP), which incentivizes housing creators to build additional on-site subsidized housing at no cost to taxpayers. While market-rate half of the AHBP got stalled at the Board’s Land Use Committee, the half related to 100% subsidized projects was approved by the Board of Supervisors and helped earn Supervisor Katy Tang one of our Housing Hero Awards.
In July, the City approved legislation that legalized Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in certain neighborhoods. SFHAC believes that a multitude of housing options, including ADUs, are needed to solve the affordability and displacement crisis and we are encouraged by the outcome. Most recently, the Planning Commission approved the first market-rate housing project to apply the State Density Bonus Law. This sets a terrific precedent in San Francisco!
2016 was quite a political year, to say the least, with elections in June and November. SFHAC was neutral on June’s Prop C, which passed comfortably. We’re still waiting on a revised inclusionary law that most expect will occur after the new Board of Supervisors is seated in January 2017. In November, SFHAC went 4-1 at the polls, indicating a strong track record for our future advocacy. We also conducted housing interviews with San Francisco’s State Senate candidates, Jane Kim and Scott Wiener.
2016 was also the first time SFHAC has advocated regionally for more housing. From leading the effort to support mixed-use development in Brisbane, to supporting the State’s Density Bonus Law, to supporting Jerry Brown’s “By-Right” legislation – which ultimately failed. Most recently, we worked with Panoramic Interests (a SFHAC member) on the MicroPAD – a potential solution for homeless housing in our City. The SFHAC plans to increase our advocacy at a regional and state level into 2017 and beyond.
On the project front, SFHAC’s Project Review team saw 18 projects, approving 17. Those 17 endorsements will potentially yield over 2,000 new homes, nearly 15% of them being subsidized for low- and middle-income tenants. Another 1,735 homes were approved by either the Planning Commission and/or the Board of Supervisors, with over 21% of those being subsidized. We will never claim that the ONLY solution to our problem is just building more housing – but no solution exists without significantly increasing the creation of new homes. Supporting well-designed, well-located, housing will always be a top priority for SFHAC and we look forward to continuing to endorse great projects.
We welcomed two new members to SFHAC’s team in 2016. Corey Smith was hired in January as the new Community Organizer. Community organizing has become a top priority and Corey’s work focused on an number of projects including the Balboa Reservoir, and the Mission Action Plan 2020. We also saw record membership for our “Friends of SFHAC” and look forward to breaking that record again in 2017. Corey will continue his work with SFHAC interviews, happy hours, and street fairs. Most recently, we hired Todd David as the new Executive Director, replacing Tim Colen. Todd’s arrival to the team marks a new era for SFHAC and we couldn’t be more excited.
Looking towards 2017, we expect to see some important policy and project priorities: the second half of the Affordable Housing Bonus Program; possible process streamlining in Sacramento; and our “Community Education Campaign” to name a few. We also expect the unexpected – a common reality in our world.
All in all, 2016 was a memorable year.