Lee: Prioritize Affordable Housing

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Mayor Ed Lee at a press conference on affordable housing
Photo by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

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.

The Department of Building Inspection, Mayor's Office of Housing, Planning Department and others have all been directed to tailor their activities to the directive — 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. "(San Francisco) is expensive. But we don't have to accept it. We can do something."

With the tech-fueled housing crisis pricing out San Franciscans left and right, and Ellis Act evictions surging 170 percent in the last three years, the city is in dire need of housing help. But as progressives have noted before, you can't simply build your way out of this crisis, as Lee acknowledged.

"The other part of this directive is to also get the other departments to work with me and the private sector to build more housing in all the different spectrums, and middle class housing," Lee said.

Peter Cohen, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, said Lee's plan sounded like a step in the right direction. "The proof's in the pudding, of course," he said. "It's the kind of directive that I wish, honestly, would come out a year ago. The answer has been, let's keep building and hope it fixes itself."

Lee made his announcement at the nearly finished Natoma Family Apartments, a new affordable housing development. The building will have 60 units, and will open in January. The number of San Franciscans who applied to live there? 2,806.

Comments

It's like a lottery.

The real solution is to boost supply, by repealing rent control and through a massive building program.

NIMBY's be gone!

Posted by Guest on Dec. 24, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

High rents are a lottery that only those with money can win.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 12:03 pm

Most obviously, NIMBY'ism, overly aggressive land use rules, rent control and an anti-business mentality.

If you gave me enough power and funding, I could substantially lower rents within five years.

But if your point is that having more gets you more money, then my response would be a big fat old "duh, ya think?".

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

If SF and California really had an anti-business mentality, then where would the wages and capital gains that drive high housing prices come from?

Posted by marcos on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

drive up prices. The fact that it could be worse doesn't make it right.

We have right rents because of the government.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

I don't care what you do, just don't ruin the "village" charm of San Francisco.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 26, 2013 @ 8:54 am

The Bay Area has five million people and is 100 miles across.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 11:35 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

Just don't fly there in a private jet from Mexico.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

San Francisco does have a neighborhood character that people, including myself,want to preserve. There are many things we can do to make housing affordable without ruining our quality of life. First and foremost, strengthen rent control and eviction protections.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

If village charm is meaningless to them, perhaps they might consider building their monstrosities in charmless places like Brentwood or Tracy?

Posted by marcos on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 1:35 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 2:27 pm

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