“Rehabilitated Homes Are an Integral Part of Mayor Lee’s Housing Plans”

SF Examiner, May 25, 2014

San Francisco is on pace to complete 5,000 housing units a year to reach its ambitious goal of 30,000 new and rehabilitated homes by 2020, Mayor Ed Lee announced late last month, but exactly how many of each type remains to be seen.

"The majority is going to be new, for sure," Lee's spokeswoman Christine Falvey did say.

The number of units to be rehabbed, solely in public housing, could be as many as 4,000 for the 2020 goal, said Lee's spokesman Francis Tsang. That includes 350 units at the Hunters View and Alice Griffith HOPE SF initiative sites and up to 3,600 more San Francisco Housing Authority units through the federal Rental Demonstration Program.

Peter Cohen, co-director of the San Francisco Council of Community Housing Organizations, said the two types of units are equally important to bring into the market.

"Whether they're rehabilitated units or we have a bunch of net new units, it's a 'both, and' strategy," he said.

In some cases, rehabbed units mean not only a makeover but a net increase of units. The HOPE SF Hunters View development in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, for example, was originally 256 units and is being transformed into a mixed-income community of up to 750 units.

The most recent ribbon-cutting occurred late last month at the Rene Cazenave Apartments, the first supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals to open its doors in the Transbay Redevelopment Area.

The goal of 30,000 units by 2020 was announced by Lee in his State of the City Address in January, and he pledged at least 30 percent would be permanently affordable to low-income families and the majority within reach of working, middle-income families.

A lack of housing, Lee said, is a major driver of San Francisco's affordability crisis.

"What the mayor has done in the last several months is try to bring housing online faster and prioritize units that are affordable by clearing out the red tape in city departments, trying to get more units of housing approved and built faster in San Francisco," Falvey said.