May 5, 2014 0 Comments in Event Recap, Policy by
We couldn’t have asked for a better 8th Annual Spring Housing Forum.  A packed room at the Hotel Nikko came to mingle and hear a discussion on middle-income housing by a top-notch economist and three local experts: Alexa Arena of Forest City Development, Malcolm Yeung of Chinatown Community Development Center and Paul Zeger of Polaris Pacific on Wednesday, April 30th.
Before these panelists took the stage, we showed a video to introduce the conversation by Ed Glaeser, Professor of Economics at Harvard and author of “Triumph of the City”. If you missed it, we have his nine-minute analysis on the imperative of building new housing in San Francisco and how subsidized housing does not scale as a solution to the crisis we face today.
Paul Zeger made his case with historical data on the housing market. His presentation illustrated the extraordinary demand being put on our existing housing stock and how the building cycle is switching from condo to rental production. By 2015, San Francisco will have a shortfall of over 15,000 housing units. The good news? Most of the housing you see being built today is market-rate housing, but 25 years from now those houses won’t command premium prices and will become accessible to middle-income earners. Do you agree? Download Paul Zeger’s presentation here.
Malcolm Yeung disagreed with Professor Glaeser and said the Professor failed to appreciate the politics that go into housing production in San Francisco. Projects that make larger contributions to affordable housing, such as Redevelopment projects, inevitably have greater political support than others. A strong supporter of Supervisor Kim’s proposed “Housing Balance Act” legislation, Yeung argued this controversial legislation forces market-rate and affordable housing developers work in partnership on affordable housing together. Alexa strongly agreed on the need for a stronger relationship between market-rate and affordable housing builders. If we are to find ways to build housing for those in the middle, we need greater collaboration between the two parties, she said. The conversation brought out that there’s no silver bullet in how to keep our middle-income earners housed in San Francisco.
The SF Housing Action Coalition thanks over 40 sponsors for their gracious support to keep our wheels turning. Their sponsorship extends beyond the event and to the daily work of SFHAC itself. We will continue to advocate for the production of new housing for all income levels in San Francisco and work to find solutions that address our middle-income housing shortfall.
See pictures from the evening here.

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Housing Action Coalition

The Housing Action Coalition is a member-supported nonprofit that advocates for building more housing at all levels of affordability to help alleviate the Bay Area's housing shortage, displacement, and affordability crises.

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