Chinatown households displaced by Central Subway to receive additional rental subsidies

About 14 Chinatown households displaced by construction of the Central Subway need more money to pay their rent. Now, they’ve got it.

That’s after a vote by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors on Tuesday. City officials determined 14 households under care of The City needed more funds to pay their rent to the Chinatown Community Development Center.

Those households encompass some 40 people displaced by the construction of the Central Subway, which will eventually send trains between downtown and Chinatown.

But part of the project’s $1.5 billion price tag is a modest rental subsidy for those moved to make way for construction.

The vote of the SFMTA increased the maximum annual rental subsidy from $28,188 to $39,744, “based on certified household incomes,” according to the report. That amount will not exceed $1,192,320 for the 30-year subsidy period, according to the report.

In 2012, the SFMTA acquired a mixed-use property on Stockton Street to make way for construction one of The City’s largest current transit projects. That’s where the 41 residents used to live.

A staff report compiled by the SFMTA shows displaced Chinatown families providing for their families on shrinking incomes, which was recently assessed since The City entered into an agreement to pay their rent in 2010.

Wei Zhong Li provides for a family of seven on his $33,095 annual income, according to the staff report. Zhou Sheng Guan provides for a family of five on an annual income of $45,649.

Those incomes prompted the increased rent subsidy.

As part of the displacement agreement with The City, the Mayor’s Office of Housing initially agreed to an $8 million investment into construction of a 75-unit affordable housing project, and a 30-year rental subsidy commitment.

That commitment was originally to provide all “under-income households” $28,188 in rental subsidies for 19 households — contingent upon them moving into the new housing project. That number has since dropped to 14, as five of those households purchased homes, according to an SFMTA staff report.

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