SF to lease 50 supportive housing units for homeless at SOMA’s Minna Lee Hotel

San Francisco is moving to increase The City’s supportive housing portfolio with a proposed lease of 50 units at the Minna Lee Hotel in the South of Market Area, which is currently undergoing renovations.

Mayor Mark Farrell and Supervisor Jane Kim, who is running for mayor in the June election, will introduce a 10-year lease for the units at 149 Sixth St. at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The Mayor’s Office said residents are expected to move into the building in June after rehabilitation work on the single-room occupancy hotel is complete. The hotel has long sat vacant following fire damage.

“Supportive housing is the answer to reducing homelessness and is the most cost-effective and humane solution,” Farrell said in a statement.

“I’m proud to represent a district that consistently steps up to provide solutions to get individuals off the street,” Kim said in a statement. “With these new 50 units at the Minna Lee, we are making the best use of this site and helping 50 people with permanently affordable homes.”

Supportive housing couples affordable housing with onsite social services. “Minna Lee has recently been updated with new building systems and its ground floor has been modernized to host supportive services,” according to the Mayor’s Office.

Jeff Kositsky, director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, said that the lease with the owners of the hotel, Peter and Kiran Patel, will cost $468,000 in the first year. The City will spend more for the supportive services on site, which would likely bring the total cost to $1.2 million.

“This is an important part of our efforts,” Kositsky said, adding that solving homelessness requires having multiple ways for people to exit homelessness.

San Francisco has more than 7,400 permanent supportive housing units, according to the Mayor’s Office.

The lease builds on The City’s continued efforts to create more housing for the homeless population, which has remained mostly flat in recent years. The homeless count taken on one night in January found there were 7,350 homeless in 2013, 7,539 in 2015 and 7,499 last year.

In addition to leasing units for supportive housing, The City also has plans to build new housing for formerly homeless residents.

Kositsky said he estimates there are about 800 to 1,000 units that The City could pursue leasing for supportive housing in other single-room occupancy hotels. He also said The City has plans to build about 1,000 more supportive housing units through nonprofit builders during the next five years.

For example, Bridge Housing Corporation and Community Housing Partnership has plans to build a new supportive housing development at Mission Bay South Block 9, next to Police Headquarters on Third Street.

The 140-unit project, overseen by the Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure, the successor body to the defunct Redevelopment Agency, is expected to cost $60.1 million and be completed in early 2021.

Joshua Sabatini
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Joshua Sabatini

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