This morning Mayor Lee delivered his State of the City address at the newly completed Phase 1 of the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market in the Bayview chosen because it's the first new Production, Distribution, and Repair (PDR) space in San Francisco in more than a decade. As he said, "With our strong economic foundation, we have a special opportunity to change this City for the better... [and] we must remain focused on our most pressing issue of housing."
He made a bunch of pledges with regard to combatting poverty and homelessness, in particular with the addition of 500 new transitional housing units and "a first-of-its-kind Navigation Center to better move people off the streets and into housing."
Also, we'll be getting 40 new light-rail cars for the Muni system, hopefully making the system faster and better able to handle the population boom at rush hour.
But the main focus of the speech was on housing. Below, per the Mayor's Office post-speech press release, are the pledges he made to deal with evictions, the housing shortage, and the lack of affordability citywide.
· Expand Funding to Keep Residents In Their Homes. We will direct more dollars toward rent support so people do not lose their homes and eviction defense so they can stay in their homes. We will also initiate programs to help tenants buy their own rent-controlled buildings.
· Increase Down Payment Assistance for Moderate and Middle Income San Franciscans. With the support of San Francisco’s Retirement Board as a partner, we will increase loans for first-time homebuyers by $100 million dollars over the next 10 years. This will translate directly into homeownership for up to 150 more families every year.
· Reform the Ellis Act to Prevent Speculation. With Senator Leno and Assemblyman David Chiu, we will pursue changes to the Ellis Act at the state level, so it cannot be misused by speculators to evict long-time tenants for profit.
· Place an Affordable Housing Bond on the November 2015 Ballot. The proceeds of this bond will support our ambitious plans to rebuild San Francisco’s public housing, and will fund the acquisition, rehabilitation and construction of homes for a range of households, from very low income to middle class, working families.
· Create a New Investment Fund to Launch More Affordable Housing Projects. The Mayor will create an accelerator fund, with private and philanthropic partners, to accompany bond financing, seeding public-private partnerships that will enable nonprofits to act quickly and complete on the open market to purchase land for construction of affordable housing and buildings to be improved as permanently affordable units.
· Expand the City’s Pipeline of Middle Class Housing. The Mayor will initiate the Public Lands for Public Good program, building mixed-income housing on surplus public land, including permanently below-market housing and housing for San Francisco’s middle class.
Cross your fingers and do with that you will.