Affordable housing lottery being tweaked to benefit long-time residents

San Francisco is on the verge of prioritizing residents in The City’s affordable housing lottery by improving their chances of winning if they live near the development.

Private developers are required to build or fund below-market-rate units. In order for anyone to move in, they must win a lottery overseen by the Mayor’s Office of Housing.

As rents and evictions have soared and as development is booming, the lottery system has come under increased scrutiny. Thousands have shown up for lotteries even when only a few dozen units were available.

The lottery has faced criticism for failing to advertise opportunities, using a cumbersome application process and drawing from a pool of applicants who live outside of The City or community.

But the “neighborhood preference” proposal unanimously approved Monday by the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee would prioritize 40 percent of the total units in the lottery for those who live within the supervisor district where the development occurred.

The proposal was introduced by board President London Breed based on a model New York City has used since the 1970s.

Breed lamented how affordable housing development in the Western Addition, a neighborhood she represents, isn’t benefiting the black residents.

“We are lying to them when we say that they’ll have an [affordable housing] opportunity,” Breed said. “They don’t get an opportunity and that is what the problem is.”

The proposal drew strong support from black community members like Rev. Amos Brown and Rev. Arnold Townsend. Data showed blacks received only 63 affordable housing units in private development during the past seven years, while whites received 264 units and Asians
and Pacific Islanders received 615 units.

There was a range of opposition. Some wanted the percentage of units to exceed 40 percent. Others wanted it to apply to specific neighborhoods — not an entire supervisor district.

Notably nonprofit tenant groups in Chinatown called for a postponement.

“A preference that is based only on which district people live will be unfair to our community,” said Wing Hoo Leung, president of the Community Tenants Association, which is affiliated with the Chinatown Community Development Center.

Most of the development is occurring in districts five, six, eight and 10.

If approved by the board next week, The City would need special permission from the state and federal governments to use the preference in projects utilizing their funding.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Passengers ride the 14-Mission Muni bus on Friday, March 12, 2021. (Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Transit officials fear Free Muni pilot could hurt already-strained service levels

San Francisco supervisors could be poised to approve legislation that would allocate… Continue reading

Visitors read a notice hanging on the Polk Street entrance to City Hall on Thursday, March 26, 2020, shortly after the building was closed. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Hall reopening to the public on June 7 after long closure due to COVID-19

San Francisco will reopen City Hall to the public on June 7… Continue reading

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) and running back Raheem Mostert (31) celebrate after Mostert scores his fourth rushing touchdown in the third quarter as the 49ers take on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
49ers on prime-time TV five times in 2021

Usually a team that finishes in last place and won only six… Continue reading

Many famillies have supported keeping John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park free of car traffic. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fight over future of JFK Drive heats up

Shamann Walton compares accessibilty issues to segregation, likens street closure to ‘1950s South’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, pictured in March, is unveiling a series of budget proposals this week. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Newsom’s school plan has billions for college savings accounts, after school programs and more

Hannah Wiley The Sacramento Bee California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to send… Continue reading

Most Read