Photo: Dave Golden
It may sound like a drop in the bucket (and it kind of is), but Mayor Ed Lee is rolling out a new program today, the first of its kind in the country, offering a $3 million housing-loan fund to non-profits and other groups looking to purchase smaller, low-income apartment buildings. The idea is to help non-profits stay competitive in bidding wars over buildings for sale where there's an obvious threat to low-income tenants who live there, as the Chron reports.
Of the 73 buildings cleared using the Ellis Act in 2013, 75 percent were owned by new owners for less than a year before they were emptied and resold. And the tenants in these buildings, reportedly, were largely immigrant and/or low-income residents, many in the Mission and SoMa neighborhoods.
Lee says the new fund is intended to help preserve rent-controlled affordable housing units and keep them out of the hands of speculators who want to "turn them into profit-making ventures."
The Chron notes one such five-unit building on Natoma Street that was purchased by a group of non-profits in January 2013 for $754,000 with the help of a bridge loan from an investor. Though theirs was not the highest offer, they were able to bid over asking the owner decided to work with them to allow the tenants to keep from being displaced.
Meanwhile, activists held a news conference Friday to blast City Hall for its lack of help specifically in the gentrifying Bayview neighborhood, which has recently been reported as having the city's fastest-growing home-sale prices. And, as we heard a few weeks ago, a compromised affordable-housing measure is heading to the November ballot which will mandate that half of all new construction in the next few years be made available to middle- and low-income buyers and renters, with 33 percent designated for low-income residents.