Mayor Lee Announces Proposed $500M for Accelerated Construction of Affordable Housing

Former redevelopment sites in San Francisco’s Mission Bay, Hunters Point Shipyard, Candlestick Point, and Transbay neighborhoods could receive $500 million to accelerate construction of affordable housing, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced today.

Lee said the funds could become available via California Gov. Jerry Brown’s state budget proposal and would accelerate funding and construction for approximately 3,000 affordable housing units in those neighborhoods, where existing redevelopment obligations have dedicated the land for affordable housing.

Under the proposal, San Francisco’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, the successor agency to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, would be allowed to issue bonds to finance the construction of 1,800 units of affordable housing by 2020, 660 such units by 2025, and the remaining 540 units by 2030, according to the mayor’s office.

Since the dissolution of California’s redevelopment agencies in 2012, San Francisco has lacked the authority to issue bonds against property tax revenues available in its Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund, according to the mayor’s office.

Under the proposal, the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure would also be able to issue bonds to finance parks, open space and other infrastructure needs in the area surrounding the Transbay Terminal.

“If signed into law, this will provide the City with a powerful tool to build more affordable housing faster,” Lee said in a statement released today.

If the $500 million in funding is passed as part of Gov. Brown’s budget proposal, San Francisco could have the bonding authority as soon as July 1, according to the mayor’s office.

Lee has said the city desperately needs more housing and that this is just one way that he is leveraging local, state, and federal resources. He said it is part of a $1.1 billion affordable housing investment plan over the next five years.

The announcement of this $500 million proposed funding comes just five days after Lee introduced a $250 million Affordable Housing General Obligation Bond.

That bond, if adopted by the Board of Supervisors and approved by San Francisco voters in the November election, would be the largest housing bond in San Francisco history, according to the mayor’s office.

In 2014, Lee pledged to build and rehabilitate 30,000 new housing units by 2020, with more than half of those units affordable for low- and middle-income families.

Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

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