Nonprofits to take over more of city’s public housing 

Nonprofit housing providers will take over operation of the majority of The City's public housing from the troubled Housing Authority, city and federal officials announced Thursday.

Public housing is managed locally but funded by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD, however, has been chronically underfunded, which housing activists say has led to deplorable conditions in dilapidated public housing buildings across the country.

San Francisco's Housing Authority is considered worse-off than most, having been officially declared "troubled" by HUD for poor physical and fiscal conditions in early 2013.

The solution for The City is to hand over federal funding to nonprofits, who can then attract private investment to fix what the government can't.

Much of the Housing Authority's portfolio was handed over to nonprofits beginning last year. Now, up to 4,584 units of the Housing Authority's total stock of 6,432 housing units will be run by nonprofits, according to Olson M. Lee, head of Mayor Ed Lee's Office of Housing.

The City has also committed more than $50 million to make its own fixes to deteriorating public housing, some of which dates from World War II.

HUD Secretary Julian Castro was in San Francisco on Thursday to make the announcement with Olson Lee, Ed Lee and Board of Supervisors President London Breed, a city native who grew up in public housing in the Western Addition.

Nonprofit housing providers began taking over operations of various public housing projects under a program called Rental Assistance Demonstration. Also known as RAD, the program steers federal housing subsidies to nonprofits rather than to the Housing Authority.

Not every public housing project is included in the changeover. Developments slated to be demolished and rebuilt as mixed-income communities, such as Sunnydale in Visitacion Valley and Potrero Terrace in Potrero Hill, are not included.

While ceding management, the Housing Authority will retain ownership of the properties.

Under RAD, up to $500 million could be spent on repairs over the next three years, according to the Mayor's Office.

About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has worked as a reporter in San Francisco since 2008, with an emphasis on city governance and politics, The City’s neighborhoods, race, poverty and the drug war.
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