Mayor London Breed and community leaders tour the newly restored senior housing complex at 1296 Shotwell St. on Friday, Oct. 11, while promoting upcoming affordable housing Prop. A. The Shotwell project was funded in part with funds from the 2015 affordable housing bond. (Caroline Ghisolfi/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

Mission District senior project demonstrates value of affordable housing bond

Mayor London Breed has been working to win approval for a $600 million affordable housing bond, the largest ever issued by The City, since July, when Proposition A was placed on to the ballot.

On Friday, she offered Mission residents a chance to see what she’s been fighting for.

Breed and community leaders gathered near Garfield Square in the Mission District Monday morning at the newly restored 1296 Shotwell St. to show off the results of The City’s last affordable housing bond.

With 93 units custom-built units for seniors renting for less than $1,000 per month, Breed said that 1296 Shotwell, financed through a 2015 bond measure, will be the first entirely and permanently affordable housing complex completed in the Mission in a decade.

“This is just the beginning of the best possibilities that we can offer here in San Francisco,” Breed said. “I’m excited about these 93 units here in the Mission, but I’m more excited about the future of San Francisco, because the way that we get projects like this done has a lot to do with money.”

Prop. A will be on the ballot on Nov. 5, listed as the “San Francisco Bond Issue for Affordable Housing.” If passed, it will authorize The City to issue a $600-million bond to fund housing for low-income, middle-income and senior residents, and public educators.

“But it’s not that easy,” the Mayor said. “We need people to vote for it.” The measure requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

Chinatown Community Development Center worked with the Mission Economic Development Agency, known as MEDA, to secure an affordable housing subsidy of over $22 million to complete the $55.8 million Shotwell project

In summer 2018, the funds were pulled from the 2015 affordable housing bond, a $310 million measure meant to relieve housing market pressure on low-income workers, veterans, seniors and disabled individuals.

A year later, after 4,000 applicants entered the Mayor’s Office lottery, units in 1296 Shotwell were assigned to dozens of seniors, with priority given to homeless individuals – who will take up 23% of units – and neighborhood locals. Custom units were also reserved for beneficiaries of the Senior Operating Subsidy with a monthly unit rental price of only $266, according to MEDA Director of Policy Norma Garcia.

Rev. Norman Fong, the executive director of the Chinatown Community Development Center, said 1296 Shotwell is a good example of the bond’s potential.

“We can build more places like (1296 Shotwell),” he said. “I mean, this has more than 90 units with gold-standard seismic safety. It’s the safest place on earth and it’s actually affordable. That’s powerful.”

Breed said The City will use Prop. A bond money to extend support of seniors, and offer exclusive funds to educators and middle-income residents.

“For the first time ever, even though this is the largest affordable housing bond in our city’s history, we have specifics for those folks,” Breed said at the gathering. “We(‘ve made) sure that when we tell the voters that this affordable housing is for teachers, that we have carve-outs for teachers. When we tell the voters that this is going to help seniors, there’s $150 million to create more projects like the one that we’re standing in front of today.”

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