An empty lot on the Laguna Honda Hospital campus may soon be transformed into more than 200 apartments for seniors and those in need of assisted living, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.
A Request for Qualificatons issued Monday through the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development is seeking a development team for the development on an oval-shaped lot that was previously used for construction parking and storing during recent renovations at the hospital.
The project calls for the construction of senior independent affordable housing units, assisted living units or residential care beds for “the frail elderly that includes residential care beds affordable to frail elderly who are low-income,” an early childcare education center and an adult day health center.
The effort to transform the hospital lot into senior housing was spearheaded by Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee, who told the San Francisco Examiner that it is based on a vision for a “continuum of care” as seniors’ living conditions change.
Yee said he started working on the plan for the project more than a year ago, and sought input from the surrounding community early on by meeting with neighborhood associations to help shape the project.
Yee said that San Francisco is “losing” its senior popultion because they few options in terms of living in San Francisco and often “have to move out” of San Francisco.
“They get removed from their network, their community that they are used to,” said Yee. “One solution would be building up a community [where] people can live independently and when they need more help, they can move into the assisted living [units]. They still would be in their environment. If they ended up needing hospitalization for long term care, then the hopstial is there.”
Yee added that a number of seniors currenty living at the hospital are well enough to move into assisted living units, but are stuck in a higher level of care because such housing is limited.
Laguna Honda Hospital itself has faced controversy in recent months.
The City recently paid a fine in connection with a patient abuse scandal at involving 130 patients. The abuse included six staff members taking nude photographs and drugging elderly patients. In September, the hospital was placed on a 60-day reform plan and more penalties are expected.
The development team selected for the project must consist of a San Francisco-based nonprofit developer, a property owner, a service provider, a property management company and a consultant experienced in financing assisted living and senior housing.
The RFQ lays out an expectation that the site’s future developers will maximize the number of units and density of the project. Envisioned are at least 200 housing units, according to city officials.
The housing, intended to serve low-income seniors, will include studios and one-bedroom apartments for those with incomes between 30 and 80 percent of the Area Median Income. Up to 40 percent of the independent affordable living units must be earmarked for extremely low-income seniors.
According to the RFQ, The City expects construction on the project to begin “as soon as possible,” and encourages the development team to use “streamlined ministerial approval processes,” like SB35, which became effective in January 2018 and does this, in conjunction with the Affordable Housing Density Program or the State Density Bonus Program.
The Examiner has previously reported on the widespread need for residential care beds as Assisted Living facilities, or board and cares, are steadily diminishing in San Francisco. These facilities provide assistance with basic daily living tasks and around-the-clock supervision.
A 2018 report noted that board and cares in San Francisco — both for seniors over 60 and for adults between the ages of 18 and 59 — had declined by 26 percent and 34 percent respectively since 2012.
This year, The City lost dozens more board and care beds as providers shuttered under increasing rent pressures.
Earlier this year, hospital workers successfully pushed back against the proposed closure of 41 residential care beds located at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Campus in exchange for short-term shelter beds, citing the dire need for long-term care for elderly patients and those living with mental health disorders.
Early education childcare centers, too, are threatened by The City’s rent pressures.
Yee said adding a childcare center to the housing project gives seniors an “invaluable” opportunity to interact with the children.
“It gives the seniors a purpose,” he said.