Our current housing boom has resulted in the construction of many high-priced dwelling units, with a solid percentage of affordable units and building innovations. However, we have not succeeded in building housing for those in the middle-income group (80-120% AMI). While there is no silver-bullet to our housing affordability crisis, we need to look into a variety of solutions that encourage the production of more moderately priced housing.
Here are a few ideas SFHAC supports that would allow for the construction of middle-income housing:
Micro-units: These small 220 square feet homes are a logical response to an expensive housing market. Legislation passed in 2012 allows for the construction of up to 375 micro-units before a building moratorium is triggered on the construction of new micro-units.
Secondary Units (also known as “in-law” units): Secondary Units are probably the most naturally affordable type of housing that can be built. They take up little space and have virtually no effect on neighborhood character. Many attempts have been made over the years to support the construction of these units, but to no avail.
Inclusionary Dial: This program, as a part of the Housing Trust Fund, would allow higher numbers of on-site, permanently affordable homes than SF currently requires, ultimately designated for middle-income residents. The Dial would allow developers to build housing for a higher AMI percentage in both rental and for-sale new housing developments beyond the current BMR rules.
Student Housing: We currently have an estimated 60,000-bed shortfall for students attending the 30 institutions of higher learning in San Francisco. These schools own very little housing for their populations, leading to students competing against San Francisco residents for housing. While SFHAC helped pass legislation in 2010 that created incentives to student housing builders, it has not resulted in much production. We believe we should do better to provide for students.
None of these proposals can by themselves solve our affordability crisis and this list is not meant to stop with these suggestions.