“New Reports Weigh in on SF’s Housing Crisis”

SF Examiner, July 21, 2015

San Francisco’s housing crisis has apparently reached such a critical level that residents are more often taking it upon themselves to define just how dire the situation is.

It’s no secret that tales of record-high home sales have dominated news headlines for months, even years. But on the heels of the Planning Department’s first-ever housing balance reportreleased earlier this month that examined The City’s ratio of below market-rate homes to market-rate ones, new reports are surfacing that continue to draw attention to the need for more housing.

Piggybacking on The City’s report, advocates of below market-rate homes have taken an even deeper look at recent data to show that not nearly enough of such homes are on the horizon to meet demand.

While the Planning Department’s report examined 2005-2014 data, the Council of Community Housing Organizations in its report issued Monday delved more closely into housing production in the past year in each neighborhood. And the outlook for below market-rate housing production, according to that report, is not pretty.

The report found that 22 percent of the new housing produced in 2014 was considered “affordable” to those earning up to 120 percent of the area median income, which in San Francisco is $71,350 for one person.

Additionally, The City last year lost 313 rent-controlled units, nearly half of the 698 deed-restricted below-market rate units that it gained.

The council’s report also explored how many market-rate and below market-rate units are planned for the long-term. Of the 14,405 units in the 2014 pipeline, 8 percent were offered at below market-rate, and long-range projects not yet entitled included another 8 percent of below market-rate homes.

“In this last year, there was really not much affordable housing production overall. [And] it’s almost all virtually in three districts of The City,” said Peter Cohen, co-director of the council.

Districts 6 (the Tenderloin, Civic Center, Mid-Market, South of Market, Mission Bay and Treasure/Yerba Buena Islands), 8 (the Castro, Noe Valley, Glen Park and Duboce Triangle) and 10 (Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, Bayview-Hunters Point and Visitacion Valley) were the only districts to receive any completed below market-rate housing completions last year.

Another housing report released this week graded each of The City’s 11 supervisors based on their attitude and efforts toward producing new homes. That report, compiled by the political action committee SF Moderates, sought to determine how each supervisor is tackling the housing crisis.

“Housing is sort of the number one and number two and number three issue in The City right now,” said Mike Sullivan, a co-founder of SF Moderates. “That’s in part why we wanted to be out there with our voice.”

Three of the supervisors – Mark Farrell, Katy Tang and Scott Wiener – were given an A based on their answers to a questionnaire as well as actions they took to endorse housing, including to vote against a proposed temporary moratorium on market-rate housing in the Mission in June.

Three other supervisors – Julie Christensen, London Breed and Norman Yee – received mixed grades, and the remaining five supervisors – John Avalos, David Campos, Malia Cohen, Jane Kim and Eric Mar – did not complete the questionnaire.

Housing will also play a key role in the upcoming November election. A slew of ballot measures that include more strictly regulating home-sharing platforms, endorsing a major development at Mission Rock, a $310 million housing bond and a Mission moratorium on market-rate housing are slated to go before voters.