OUR History

For the past four decades, CCHO has led San Francisco’s affordable housing movement. We have been at the forefront of local and regional affordable housing advocacy, organizing, and coalition building a more affordable city. Together, our 25 (26 at the end of 2018) member organizations have been responsible for over 30,000 new or preserved affordable homes, winning nearly $6.5 billion in dedicated funds for affordable housing, and creating thousands of jobs. Many of these achievements have become national models emulated by other American cities.

The impact of these four decades of accomplishments has been achieved through collective action and coalition-building, the core of CCHO’s work.

Some of the highlights of CCHO’s work over the last four decades are:

  • In 2018, CCHO framed the November elections as Four Votes for Housing, building a collective housing slate around state Props 1 and 2, the $4 Billion Veterans and Affordable Housing Act and No Place Like Home, the local Prop C Our City Our Home which will raise $300 million for housing and mental health services for the homeless, and California Prop 10 (which did not pass statewide but was supported in San Francisco) started the conversation about enacting real rent control.

  • In 2017, CCHO co-founded United for Housing Justice, a broad coalition of community, labor, tenant, and faith groups working together on housing issues. CCHO also deepened its partnership with the regional Six Wins for Equity Network, advocating for equitable development policies within the regional Plan Bay Area and CASA efforts.

  • In 2016, CCHO led two successful ballot campaigns: the June Prop C with 67% voter approval to increase San Francisco’s inclusionary housing policy to its highest level in history, adding a middle-income tier to the program; and  in November passed overwhelmingly a measure to repurpose a $261 million Housing Preservation Bond for Acquisition/Rehab. We also passed a “Density Done Right” measure, creating a local density bonus for 100% affordable housing developments.

  • In 2015, CCHO was central to winning the Prop A $310 million Affordable Housing Bond and the Prop K Surplus Lands Policy measures, both  passing with unprecedented 74% voter support.

  • In 2014, CCHO led the campaign for the Prop K Housing Balance measure, committing the city to a minimum 33% balance of affordable housing. This measure set the baseline for future private master planned developments, including the 30% affordability guaranteed at Pier 70 and the the 40% affordability at Mission Rock.

  • In 2014, CCHO spearheaded the rollout of the Small Sites Acquisition Program, launched with a $5 million allocation by the City in its first year, allowing nonprofits and land trust to purchase small rental properties at risk of speculation and tenant evictions. We also co-founded the San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition (SFADC), leading to legislative and ballot campaigns on short-term rentals, to strengthen eviction protections and tenant legal counsel, and an attempt to revive Harvey Milk’s Anti-Speculation Tax.

  • In 2013, CCHO as part of a community-labor coalition negotiated a Development Agreement with California Pacific Medical Center, resulting in a complete communities plan and $41 million for affordable housing.

  • In 2012, CCHO developed San Francisco’s first Housing Trust Fund to replace funds lost through the dissolution of the state’s redevelopment agencies, and coordinated the field campaign to pass Prop C with an overwhelming 65% voter approval. The Trust Fund will result in a total of $1.5 billion for affordable housing over 30 years. CCHO’s member organizations committed to a comprehensive plan for public housing rehabilitation, with guaranteed one-for-one replacement, full relocation, and right-to-return for all tenants. Together with our tenant allies, we succeeded in implementing a 10-year moratorium on condo conversions to limit loss of rent-controlled apartments.

  • In 2011, CCHO played a core role in the Bay Area proposal for the $5 million HUD “Sustainable Communities” Grant.

  • In 2010, CCHO coordinated the New Deal for the City Community Congress, which brought together over 200 community activists, residents, workers, artists, and thinkers to create a progressive vision for the future of San Francisco.

  • In 2009, CCHO developed and passed legislation creating a local funding stream for a Small Sites Acquisition program as a new community stabilization policy.

  • In 2006, CCHO’s participation in the design of HOPE SF, to rehabilitate five major public housing properties, resulted in the inclusion of a one-for-one replacement standard, along with programming and services to end public housing’s isolation.

  • In 2006, CCHO coordinated the San Francisco campaign for Proposition 1C, the State housing bond, securing 73% voter approval in SF, the highest in the State.

  • In 2005, CCHO organized a Housing Justice Summit where 83 housing, land use, tenant and homeless organizations reached a unique agreement on an Action Agenda to preserve and expand affordable housing and empower lower-income communities. Many of those measures have now been adopted as City policy. Together with our member organizations based in SOMA, we pushed for the Rincon Hill Plan to a South of Market Community Stabilization Fund.

  • In 2002, CCHO played a central role in crafting the City’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, one of the first for a major city and still considered one of the strongest and most successful in the State of California.

  • In 1990, CCHO’s participation in the Central Freeway / Octavia Blvd plan led to an unprecedented 50% affordability commitment, as a combination of 15% on-site inclusionary units and stand-alone parcels. The acquisition of the affordable housing sites funded the public realm improvements to Octavia Blvd.

  • In 1997, CCHO helped develop the City’s Housing Preservation Program, saving dozens of privately-owned Section 8 properties, and transferring many of them into nonprofit or cooperative ownership.

  • In 1996, CCHO planned and coordinated the $100 million Prop A Affordable Housing Bond Campaign, the largest general obligation bond ever passed in the State for affordable housing.

  • In the 1990s, CCHO led the negotiations to secure 2,000 affordable housing units in the Mission Bay, one of the first and most successful community benefit agreements achieved in the nation.

  • In 1990, CCHO secured City approval mandating that 50% of all San Francisco Redevelopment Agency tax increment funding be allocated to affordable housing, by far the largest such set aside in the State of California.

  • In 1990, CCHO partnered with the Coalition on Homelessness to fill a much-needed gap, creating a new organization specifically focused on permanent supportive housing for the homeless, Community Housing Partnership.

  • In 1986, CCHO comprehensively restructured City land use and development law with the passage of Proposition M, which linked downtown office development to infrastructure and public amenities, the first such measure in any major American city.

  • In 1985, CCHO planned and implemented the first Jobs Housing Linkage fee in the nation.

  • In the 1970s, in the infancy of the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG), CCHO succeeded in institutionalizing funding for housing development corporations in San Francisco, the first major American city to have such a program.

Calvin Welch and Rene Cazenave were the original SFIC staff to CCHO since its inception in 1978, building it up as the coalition that defined affordable housing and equitable land use in SF throughout the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Rene passed away in 2010. Calvin retired in 2011, but continues to be involved in SFIC, and leads classes on local politics and development at SF State and the University of San Francisco.