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SF mayor announces $500M for below market-rate housing

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Mayor Ed Lee today announced $500 million that could soon be freed up to help construct some 3,000 units of below market-rate housing in The City’s major redevelopment areas, including Mission Bay, Hunters Point Shipyard and Transbay.

The money comes from Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest budget proposal, which would amend state law to allow the San Francisco Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure to issue bonds to finance the construction of 1,800 units of below market-rate housing by 2020, an additional 660 units by 2025 and the remaining 540 units by 2030.

San Francisco previously lacked the authority to issue such bonds against property tax revenues available in its Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund after the state dissolution of redevelopment agencies in 2012.

Unlike a local bond measure, the money could be spent only for the completion of housing in Mission Bay, Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point, and Transbay, where existing redevelopment obligations dedicate land for below market-rate housing.

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“I am grateful to Gov. Brown and his staff at the Department of Finance for working with me to address our city’s acute need for more affordable housing,” Lee said in a statement. “If signed into law, this will provide The City with a powerful tool to build more affordable housing faster.”

The trailer bill will make its way through the State Assembly and Senate as part of Brown’s budget proposal. If passed and signed by Brown, San Francisco could have the bonding authority as early as July 1.

The $500 million would add to the $250 million housing bond proposed by Lee for the November ballot. Supervisor John Avalos has separately pushed for a $500 million housing bond as well. The bonds are scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors in July.

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