Affordable Housing

Lawsuits go after SF landlords doing illegal short-term apartment rentals

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The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office today filed a pair of lawsuits against local landlords who illegally rent out apartments on a short-term basis, units that had been cleared of tenants using the Ellis Act. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Tenants Unions has hired attorney Joseph Tobener to file more such lawsuits, and he is preparing to file at least seven lawsuits involving 20 units. Read more »

The unanswered question: How do we bridge SF's affordable housing gap?

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Nobody has a good answer to San Francisco’s most basic housing problem: How do we build the housing that existing city residents need? Read more »

The price of growth

Development is booming in the eastern neighborhoods, but the money isn't there to cover the infrastructure needed to serve it

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joe@sfbg.com

San Francisco is booming, but will its infrastructure be able to keep up with its population growth?

The problem is acutely illustrated in the southeast part of San Francisco, where long-stalled development plans were finally greenlit by the adoption of the Eastern Neighborhoods Community Plan a few years ago.Read more »

Can we rediscover radical action on this marriage equality anniversary?

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San Francisco’s political establishment will rightly celebrate itself this afternoon [Wed/12] at 5pm with a ceremony in City Hall marking the 10th anniversary of the unilateral decision to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, kicking off what became known as the Winter of Love.

It was the greatest thing that then-Mayor Gavin Newsom did during his seven-year tenure in Room 200, a bold and principled stand for civil rights that started California down the long and arduous road toward marriage equality.Read more »

A radical proposal: Squat Airbnb hosts' homes to create affordable housing

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When I interviewed attorney Joseph Tobener for the story in our current issue on Airbnb being used to take affordable housing units off of the apartment market, he had a interestingly radical idea for get the attention of this scofflaw company and its political supporters, striking a blow for housing justice in the process.

What if hundreds of people, including many who are now homeless, rented out apartments in San Francisco for a night or two and then simply refused to leave?Read more »

Manhattanization revisited

Is more, taller, and denser housing the answer to San Francisco's affordability crisis?

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joe@sfbg.com

The housing crisis is spurring pro-development arguments that threaten to hasten the "Manhattanization of San Francisco," a buzzphrase from another era that led to local controls on high-rise development.

The city is getting richer and less diverse, and the unaddressed displacement of longtime residents has fueled populist outrage. Now, politicians are finally getting the message, but some are offering solutions that may reopen old civic wounds.Read more »

Year of Evictions

As tech heated up the market in 2013, affordable housing became the dominant political issue

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This New Year's Eve we take a look back at a hard year for many San Franciscans, what many in the future may call our Year of Evictions. After reading our retrospective, check out our interactive timeline below, where we chronicle flashpoints in the year of evictions and San Francisco's tech culture war. Did we miss something? If you'd like to submit an event and date for the timeline, email joe@sfbg.com.Read more »

Lee: Prioritize Affordable Housing

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joe@sfbg.com 

Mayor Ed Lee announced an executive directive on Dec. 18 for all San Francisco government departments with a hand in housing development, to prioritize construction of affordable units.Read more »

Mayor Lee orders affordable housing push

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Mayor Ed Lee stood on the rooftop terrace between high brick walls of the soon-to-be-built Natoma Family Apartments, and in the distance, the buzz and clanks of nearby construction echoed his message of the day: Build, baby, build. 

Today (Wed/18) the mayor announced an executive directive for all San Francisco government departments with a hand in housing development to prioritize construction of affordable units, from completely below market rate (BMR) projects to those that have a mix of BMR and market rate units. 

The Department of Building Inspection, Mayor’s Office of Housing, Planning Department and others involved with approving development will all reorient their priorities towards getting new affordable housing built -- a stark indicator of just how potent this issue has become after months of high-profile evictions and progressive organizing and demonstrations.

“It isn’t always on the private sector, we’ve got to have a stake in the action as well,” Lee told reporters gathered at the Natoma apartment building. 

“(San Francisco) is expensive,” he said, “but we don’t have to accept it. We can do something.”

Read more »

SFUSD gifts city 115 affordable housing units for the holidays

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The San Francisco Board of Education last night (Tue/10) approved a land swap with city government, gifting San Francisco an empty lot that it will use to build new affordable housing. That’s 115 units of living space for low income San Francisco renters, wrapped in a bow for the holidays. 

The proposal was the brainchild of board members Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell and Sandra Lee Fewer, who worked on the measure with the Mayor’s Office of Housing for over two years. The district will trade a lot on 1950 Mission street and another on Connecticut in exchange for a property it currently rents from the city of San Francisco. The city will also pay SFUSD $4.5 million, according to district data.

Last night was the culmination of that work, which Fewer said was the right thing to do.

“Could we get more money from [selling] this property with a private developer? I’m sure. But would we get the value? No,” Fewer said at the meeting. Read more »