Policy and Advocacy“Who gets to live in San Francisco?” We believe the answer should be, “Anyone who wants to”. That is why the SF Housing Action Coalition advocates for the creation of well-designed housing for ALL income levels to meet the needs of San Franciscans, present and future. (Image: Sergio Ruiz)

San Francisco is a unique city. The combination of job opportunity, cultural and geographic diversity, amazing weather and plentiful urban amenities make it a desirable place to live. While the demand to live here continues to grow, amidst a strong economy that attracts thousands of skilled, well-compensated workers, the City has done a poor job of accommodating those who want to be here.

Housing policy that encourages low-density development and a culture intent on preserving the built environment has resulted in an under-supplied, expensive housing market. As a result, the City is suffering from an affordability crisis.

We believe this problem can be solved by sharply increasing our rate of housing production. For the past two decades, we have built an average of 1,500 new housing units per year. We need to increase the rate of housing production to meet the demand for housing. The San Francisco Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC) has set a goal of assisting the city in reaching an annual production rate of 5,000 homes per year.

We are targeting our efforts through these five initiatives:

 

Current Initiatives 

Implementing the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan

 

San Francisco invested 10 years in creating a neighborhood plan on the eastern side of the City to allow for more housing and jobs. SFHAC played a big role in this process and believes in the goals of the plan. Now that development is happening, projects in the Plan are facing some opposition. It is important that we not backtrack on its basic premise – that planning for future growth is a good idea. 

 

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More Equitable Citywide Development

 

Right now, 80 percent of new development is taking place on 20 percent of the land. San Francisco needs to do a better job of adding housing across all of its neighborhoods, particularly along transit corridors.

 

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Transit and Infrastructure 

 

We are fully aware that with new housing and residents comes a greater need for transit and infrastructure. SFHAC is looking into ways new residential development can better directly fund these necessary improvements.

 

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Eastern Waterfront Use

 

Much of the City’s historic waterfront industrial uses are gone, leaving significant amounts of underutilized land. SFHAC believes this land can be transformed into vibrant neighborhoods that balance housing with jobs and transit.

 

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Building Innovations

 

In order to support our middle-class, we need to look into new housing options that are more affordable by design. This includes secondary dwelling units, micro units, modular construction and other housing models.

 

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Past Initiatives

Student Housing

 

SFHAC led the work in helping to pass two student housing ordinances. The two pieces of legislation were created to incentive the creation of new student housing, a product that is severely lacking in San Francisco.

 

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Prop C: Housing Trust Fund

 

In 2012, the SFHAC supported and helped pass Prop C, the Housing Trust Fund. We were part of the working group that established Prop C’s terms as well as supported the political campaign for its passage.

 

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Neighborhood Planning

 

We provided advocacy for adoption of the rezoning contained in five neighborhood plans: Eastern Neighborhoods, Market and Octavia, Balboa Park, Central Subway Corridor and the Transit Center District.

 

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Inclusionary Housing Ordinance

 

In 2002, members of SFHAC got together with then-Supervisor Mark Leno to help draft and pass the City’s first inclusionary housing ordinance. It has since undergone a couple of revisions, but it is still one of our chief sources of funding to subsidize housing affordability.

 

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Micro-Units

 

SFHAC worked with Supervisor Scott Wiener in 2011 to help pass legislation that allows building micro-units. It is unlikely that micro-units will ever be more than a niche product, but it is important we continue to look for innovative, more affordable products.

 

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Local CEQA Reform

 

The SFHAC worked with Supervisor Scott Wiener to successfully pass some minor modifications to the City’s interpretation of CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act. There is still much work to improve the city's process.

 

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