Not a loan for seismic upgrades, but a ‘deferred loan and grant program’ 

Mayor Gavin Newsom’s bond-proposal for the November ballot to help certain buildings pay for seismic upgrades was approved Wednesday by the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee.

The vote was taken after a continuance last week over a debate about what to call the program. It was being called a loan program, but supervisors thought that was a little misleading since the “loans” aren’t expected to be paid back.

The language settled upon Wednesday was a “deferred loan and grant program.”

The full board is expected to vote on the legislation Tuesday.

Newsom, with the board’s asked for blessing, wants to bring to voters a $39 million bond to pay for the seismic upgrades of more than 100 soft-story buildings with units offered at below market rates. There are up to 4,400 soft-story buildings, those buildings considered the most vulnerable in the event of an earthquake.

The bond money only would be offered for 156 buildings, of which 125 receive city or federal funding for affordable housing and 31 are single-room occupancy buildings. It costs about $275,000 to seismically upgrade a soft-story building.

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