Housing

Housing for the rootless superrich

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When San Francisco looks at building ultra-luxury housing -- places like 8 Washington -- and some city officials and "experts" say it's going to help meet the housing needs of the city, we ought to look at what's happening in Manhattan. There, high-end housing is being flooded with people who don't live in Manhattan, won't live in Manhattan, Read more »

Why is the SF housing market "positive?"

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It's been a long, long time since anyone said that traffic is terrific. When there are too many cars on the road, it's considered bad, not healthy -- even if the boom in single-occupant auto travel is a sign of a recovering economy and lots of job creation.Read more »

Can the tech boom solve our housing crisis? No, but it can make it worse

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 San Francisco Housing Action Coalition and San Francisco Magazine posed an intriguing question at a forum they sponsored last night in the W Hotel: “San Francisco’s Housing Crisis: Can the Tech Boom Help Us?” Unfortunately, it wasn’t a question they ever really addressed at an event of, by, and for developers and their most ardent supporters.Read more »

Why rent control works

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I shouldn't even bother to talk about this, because all it will do is stir up the trolls, but I'm getting sick of all the talk about rent control being a source of San Francisco's housing problem. The latest is an editorial in the Business Times, which I buy to read J.K. Dineen's stories about commercial real-estate, among other things. I should treat it like the Wall Street Journal; nobody takes the Journal's editorial page seriously.Read more »

The 8 Washington-Monterey connection

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The guy who wants to build the most expensive condos in San Francisco history on the waterfront is facing a ballot measure that could derail his dreams -- so he's hiring a team of signature-gatherers to put a competing measure on the ballot. Which makes little sense to us, since when the voters are confused, then tend to vote against things, and there will be two measures (confusing) and all the opponents of the 8 Washington have to go is get people to vote No, which is easier than Yes.Read more »

Condo bypass legislation now before the full board

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Controversial condominium lottery bypass legislation -- sponsored by Sups. Mark Farrell and Scott Wiener but substantially modified by tenant group that strongly opposed the original legislation, with the help of Sup. David Chiu, Jane Kim, and Norman Yee -- is finally coming to the full Board of Supervisors today (Tues/7, starting at 2pm).Read more »

You want to live in Manhattan? Move there.

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I feel like I've been having this discussion for 30 years, and it still keeps coming back. The latest installment (thanks to sfist for the link) is a Slate article by Matthew Yglesias arguing that San Francisco could solve its housing crisis by becoming as dense as Manhattan. Lots of highrise condos and apartments in places like the Mission. Read more »

Class divisions in SF (sorta)

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Richard Florida, who got famous creating the "creative class," has a new series of maps out charting class structure in American cities -- not on the basis of income or wealth but on the type of work people do. Sfist has a nice copy of the San Francisco version here. It shows, on the surface, that this city has virtually no "working class," some "service class" and lots of "creative class."Read more »

Reagan's legacy: Homeless death

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The headline on sfgate is about as brutal as you can get: "The coming homeless die-off." But the brief story points to an alarming set of statistics: The median age of homeless people on the streets of US cities is now 53. The life expectancy for homeless people is 64. You get the point.

But here's the key political element:Read more »

No golden years for LGBT seniors

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According to studies, queer seniors are poorer than their straight counterparts. They’re half as likely to have health insurance, and two-thirds as likely to live alone. Not to mention facing discrimination in medical and social services, retirement homes, and nursing care facilities. So much for the “golden years.”
Here in San Francisco, LGBT seniors face another grave threat: evictions. Many of our elderly live in rent-controlled apartments that are targeted by real-estate speculators and investors out to make big bucks turning them into tenancies-in-common.

With median rents close to $3,000 a month and vacancy rates low, the odds are pretty good that an evicted senior won’t find an affordable place in the city. For a senior with AIDS, an eviction is especially threatening since our city offers the best treatment and services. Studies show that people with AIDS who lose their apartments tend to die sooner, especially if they become homeless. 

Read more »