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SPARK talk on affordable housing in SF
  • Tim Colen, Executive Director of the SF Housing Action Coalition
  • Peter Cohen, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations

We build very little housing - near the bottom of the top 100 cities, with our economy near the top.

"Housing for whom?"

We mostly build housing for rich people. Disagreement about whether we build enough even here.

Crazy, increasing wealth gap.

Proposal: build housing targeted at specific income levels, rent-controlled. We build 75-80% of what we need for low income. Main problem is middle income - hit maybe 12% of our target here in the 2000s.

Down payment assistance program does a great job.

Disagreement about whether Seattle is a model - they build a lot more housing, prices still climbing, still have an affordable housing problem. But it's 30-40% cheaper than here - can get an "apodment" for $400 a month.

80% of the building on 20% of the land.

Demand's not gonna stop. Planners are saying SF will reach a million people in the next 20 years.

Current housing developments were approved 5-6 years ago during the last planning cycle.

"What if we are successful in massively increasing housing supply but it's primarily market rate?" - it's not hard to do better than building 2,000 units a year.

1990-2012 - authorized 45,000 units of housing for construction. We built 36,000. Why aren't developers building what's been approved if the problem is permitting obstructions? Huge numbers of them are in 3 developments - Hunter's Point, Park Merced and Treasure Island (all have plenty of subsidized housing) - apparently capital markets have decided for whatever reason that these aren't attractive?

Over 35 years have built 30,000 permanent affordable housing units. We have several thousand more via public housing and section 8. We have a significant amount of rent-controlled housing. This works well.

We're gonna need more money to subsidize building housing for low income people for whom housing can't be affordably built. (Implication that this money should come from new developments targeted at the rich.)

"Why does SF have to take everyone? Why can't we build more on the peninsula? It's a regional problem." A1: well, SF has the best transport infrastructure. A2: there's the expectation that we're going to build 98,000 new units over 25 years (dude thinks this is crazy.) I mean, think about the infrastructure needs - we're dramatically underfunded here.

"SF used to have a laid-back ambience ... they're going to tear down Mount Sutro! The city has become so stressful."

Barcelona, London, etc all 3-4x as dense as SF.

"That mindset 'San Francisco was perfect on the day I moved here.'"

"Seems like developers are choosing to pay into the fund rather than build affordable housing." Housing Action Committee guy believes it's more like 16 out of 17 building rather than paying.

Very hard to get into housing built under Inclusionary.

Ellis Act. Huge increase in no-fault evictions. But: 270,000 housing units. 300 Ellis Act evictions. (Wait, really?)

Legislation to legalize illegal units. Legislation to legalize secondary units (in-line units) - what are these?

West Portal has a 26-foot height restriction.


last timestamped: 00:36:05 25-Feb-2014
in categories:Commerce/RealEstate

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