Prop C’s Landslide Victory – What Does It Mean?

22 06 2016


Election Prop C 2016 SOV10

The Proposition C Affordable Housing Charter Amendment won by a landslide. Not only did the measure take 68% of the vote, but it was also supported widely across the city, with the vast majority of districts voting yes on C.  (See a PDF of the above election map here.)

Prop C doubles the “inclusionary” housing requirement for private developments (the obligation to create affordable housing units when building market-rate housing), requiring development projects of at least 25-units in size to include 15% low-income and 10% moderate/middle-income housing.  Prop C also removes the inclusionary policy from the City charter, allowing the Board of Supervisors and Mayor to make changes to the requirement in the future.  It’s good affordable housing policy and it’s good government practice.

But more than that, a win like this is a clear mandate from San Francisco voters.  San Franciscans are demanding that affordable housing be a top priority in their City and that private development contribute its fair share towards affordable housing.   This further proves what has been shown time and time again in recent years, not only by the win of Prop C, but also by the passage of last November’s $310 million Affordable Housing Bond and the Public Lands for Affordable Housing Measure, the Affordable Housing Balance Measure of 2014 (which called for a minimum citywide 33% affordable housing), as well as the landmark $1.3 billion Housing Trust Fund in 2012 that restored redevelopment funds “dissolved” by the state.  Citywide, San Franciscans are suffering from the housing crisis and they know the solution is more funding and better policies for affordable housing.  And they clearly agree that in our economic boom, while luxury housing is being built throughout the city and a wider range of people are shut out of the housing “market,” private development should provide more housing that low- and middle-income San Franciscans can afford.

Furthermore, this win is a strong statement that voters expect an Inclusionary affordable housing policy that is inclusive, providing diverse, mixed-income communities and housing for both low-income and moderate/middle-income residents.  Instead of providing housing for only one income level and pitting residents in need against one another, Prop C presents a strategy of providing housing for many folks by including both low-income and middle-income affordable housing.  Additionally, it encourages private development to build “on-site” affordable housing, providing affordable units right inside of market-rate developments instead of at a different location or just “feeing out” by writing a check to the City.

Voters are tired of divisive politics about housing – they want more affordable housing for more people.  With this landslide vote for Prop C, San Franciscans clearly asserted that they want their buildings and neighborhoods to remain diverse and that they expect their City’s inclusionary housing policy to help a range of people who are struggling to find affordable housing in this City – More for the Many, Not just the Few.