In May 2017, the San Francisco Planning Department released the 5th Housing Balance Report, covering the ten-year period from January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2016. The reports track the proportion of all new affordable housing units built to the total number of all new housing units for a 10-year period, with the goal of informing decision making around new housing development in the city.
Today, advocates attended a hearing at the SF Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee to discuss the report, highlighting the continuing housing crisis in the city. Again and again, speakers emphasized that:
The amount of affordable housing built is not keeping up with actual need. We are still losing stable rent-controlled units at a rate almost equal to new affordable units. Over the last ten years, for every three affordable units the City built, it lost two rent-controlled units. In fact, after factoring lost affordable units, eight Supervisor Districts had a NEGATIVE Housing Balance.
In the last 10 years, the City lost on average over 400 rent-controlled units per year to Ellis Act and OMI conversions, not even counting TIC conversions. The loss of rental housing has been significant in all Supervisorial Districts across the City, with D8 (Castro/Upper Market) having the most at 655 lost units, D9 (Mission/Bernal) at 582 lost units, and D1 (Richmond) at 496 lost units.
We must produce more affordable housing! This means securing more sites for affordable housing development as well as securing a permanent funding source for new development and for acquisition of existing housing. We must also scale up acquisition programs focused on neighborhoods with high rates of evictions, and preserve at-risk, expiring HUD-subsidized units.
The vast majority of affordable housing in the city is via long-term rent-controlled units. As tenants are pushed out of these units, the affordable housing lotteries are not good solutions for re-housing long-term city residents. There are not enough units to address the need, and many units are too expensive for the tenants trying to stay. Stemming evictions and the loss of rent-controlled units should be a key element of the effort to protect and preserve affordable housing.
We must Protect residents from displacement and preserve our finite stock of rent-controlled homes from being lost! That means protecting tenants facing eviction threats, which should include fully-funded right to legal counsel. It also means strengthening Rent Control, which can only happen with a statewide repeal of Costa-Hawkins. Additionally, we must enforce the City’s regulations on short-term vacation rentals and focus on deterring second-homes, pied-a-terres, stash pads, and other vacant housing.