Shared: S.F. Mayor Counts Existing Homes to Hit Affordable Housing Goal (SF Public Press)

By Noah Arroyo and Josh Wolf

Nearly 40% of subsidized units cited already exist

In a speech so subtly phrased that it threw off the New York Times, CNN and several local news outlets, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee seemed to promise early this year that the city would build at least 10,000 homes for poor and middle-class residents within six years.

But the mayor’s current housing forecast, which counts up planned construction projects, shows that barely 6,000 of these affordable homes would be new. The remainder, up to 40 percent of the total, would consist of rehabilitated public housing. While repairing those homes will benefit the low-income tenants who live in them, doing so would add little or no new housing.

The mayor’s housing staff readily supplied details about the projects that went into his housing plan. But they did not respond to subsequent requests for comment about how rehabilitated units would address the city’s crisis in affordable housing, as skyrocketing prices leave few options for those who cannot afford the market rate.

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