SF mayor to propose $250 million housing bond for November ballot 

click to enlarge SF Mayor Ed Lee - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • SF Mayor Ed Lee
Mayor Ed Lee today is set to introduce a $250 million housing bond to the Board of Supervisors that, if adopted by the board and approved by voters in November, would be the largest housing bond in San Francisco history.

The Affordable Housing General Obligation Bond is a component of The City’s $2.7 billion housing investment in the next 20 years. Specifically, the bond would supply between $50 million and $100 million for public housing, $100 million to $200 million for low-income housing and $25 million to $100 million for middle-income housing.

In the past month and a half, more than 75 organizations, including housing experts, along with city officials have reviewed the bond, which seeks to supersede unsuccessful attempts at housing bonds in The City in the past two decades by promising to not raise property taxes, Lee said at a media briefing of the bond Monday.

“Obviously, I think people feel the housing crunch, the affordability issues,” Lee said. “[There is] clearly a housing crisis in this city.”

Money for the public-housing portion of the bond would accelerate development at the Sunnydale and Potrero Hill sites that are adding some 3,300 mixed-income units in the next 15 to 20 years. Public housing typically serves those who are disabled, formerly homeless, seniors and low-wage working families. A two-person household that qualifies for public housing earns up to $40,750.

Construction of new low-income housing, the acquisition and rehab of existing rent-controlled buildings and the preservation of units at risk of being converted to market-rate comprise the low-income housing piece of the bond. The low-income bracket includes those who earn 50 to 80 percent of the area median income, or up to $65,200 for a two-person household.

The middle-income housing portion of the bond would fund new rental programs and expand The City’s down payment assistance loan program for “teachers, firefighters, construction workers, people that are in professional jobs but have told us through many of the groups that we’ve been working with that they’re finding it extremely hard to afford to live here in The City,” Lee said.

Such programs would serve those who earn between 80 and 175 percent of the area median income, around $140,000 for a two-person household. According to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, the area median income for one person is $71,350.

Lee noted the bond will complement five other sources of funding that contribute to his goal of 30,000 housing units to be built or rehabilitated in San Francisco by 2020, including 10,000 of those below market rate. Another major component to that goal is The City’s Housing Trust Fund, passed by voters in November 2012, which commits $1.2 billion in funding for housing subsidies within 30 years.

“We want to make sure that we fast-track the building of housing in general in this city,” Board of Supervisors President London Breed said of the housing bond. “We have an ambitious plan, and it requires an ambitious amount of money.”

The housing bond would require two-thirds voter approval in the election.


About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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