San Francisco tackles affordable housing disparity

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

(photo credit: Matthew Grant Anson)

Many already know this—there is not enough affordable housing in California for the working middle class.

It’s a harsh reality that’s only highlighted with recently released numbers in the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

Four of the state’s major metropolitan cities landed in the top ten least affordable. They are San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and Los Angeles.

In fact, the survey states San Francisco’s median multiple jumped to 9.2 times the income which is a big leap from last year’s 7.8.

The report goes on to say, “there are indications of a substantial worsening housing affordability situation in California, which was the core of the U.S. housing bust of the last decade that precipitated the Great Financial Crisis. House prices in the six major markets in California have risen nearly 40 percent relative to incomes since bottoming out in 2009.”

San Francisco’s Mayor has been on a mission to change all of that.

Recently, the Mayor announced the approval of plans by Lennar to begin construction of a new Alice Griffith public housing community to the existing site, fulfilling its promise to build new public housing without disrupting current residents. The Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure unanimously approved the first “Major Phase” Application for Candlestick Point, which includes plans for the total rebuild of Alice Griffith and its 256 homes.

The first phase will create 16 blocks of new development that will have more than 1,500 new homes, of which more than 800 will be permanently affordable.

“Rebuilding Alice Griffith Public Housing and redeveloping Candlestick Point is helping us deliver on our promise to make sure San Francisco remains a City for the 100 percent,” said Mayor Edwin Lee. “This milestone in the important revitalization effort in the Bayview community will bring housing, jobs, parks, open space, economic growth through a public-private partnership with Lennar and helps us lay the groundwork for more middle class, affordable homes in the future.”

Alice Griffith is part of HOPE SF, the City’s innovative initiative to revitalize the City’s most distressed public housing sites in the mixed-income communities without displacing existing residents.

In 2011, San Francisco received a $30.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the revitalization of Alice Griffith and surrounding neighborhoods.

The Commission also approved conceptual plans for a 1.1 million square-feet mixed-use retail, entertainment and housing development at the Candlestick site. The first phase will include nearly 500 affordable homes and almost 800 market rate homes.

“Rebuilding public housing is one of the most transformative investments we can make,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. “All people deserve safe housing and investments like this one will ensure that he residents of Alice Griffith and the surrounding neighborhood will be enhanced and supported by new development.”

Affordable housing is a serious issue in the state. It’s a major reason why Housing is a signature initiative of the California Economic Summit.

The Housing Action Team has a top priority for 2014: advocate for state action to increase accessibility of housing by broadening availability of housing stock across the state. How? By targeting state funding and creating recommendations for sustainable communities.

Regional collaboration will help California’s economy.

To keep up with the Action Team’s progress click here


Cheryl Getuiza

All stories by: Cheryl Getuiza