Residents who moved to Treasure Island after a 2011 development agreement was signed do not currently have tenant protections that give them the option of moving into new development. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Treasure Island residents could win new displacement protections

Supervisor working to give all current residents a chance to move into new development

Treasure Island is slated for development into more than 8,000 units of housing, including 2,000 affordable units, but an eight-year-old development agreement is preventing some current residents of the island from transitioning into the planned new homes.

Residents who moved to the island after 2011 are excluded from tenant protections extended to those who lived there before the development and disposition agreement (DDA) was signed that year, and are likely to be displaced by the new development. San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney is working to change that.

On Tuesday, Haney introduced a resolution urging the Treasure Island Development Authority, which oversees the Island’s operations and new development, to expand transition benefits to eligible “Post-DDA” residents by December 31.

The resolution also requests that the agency develop a “communication plan” for that group of residents to notify them of changes, and to work with the housing developers to include Post-DDA residents in pre-marketing notices.

“Right now we have a large group of residents who under current the development agreement are completely excluded from housing opportunities on Treasure Island, and The City doesn’t have any plans for them,” Haney told the San Francisco Examiner. “It’s unfathomable that The City would evict hundreds of residents without anywhere for them to go, with no benefits provided.”

The Examiner previously reported that the DDA grants certain protections — like relocation assistance payments and the option of moving into the new development — to residents who have lived there prior to 2011, but does not include households who moved to the island after.

Protections for the latter are currently limited to renting or purchasing new units at market-rate, or potentially qualifying for an affordable housing neighborhood preference. That preference program requires that 40 percent of units in new affordable housing developments be reserved for people living in the supervisorial district where the projects are built or within a half-mile of them.

The island currently has around 1,800 residents in 650 households, of which about one-third live in permanent supportive housing operated by non-profit organizations Swords to Plowshares, Chatolic Charities, Healthright 360 and Community Housing Partnership.

As part of the new development, at least 435 units will be reserved for housing the formerly homeless, and all of the nonprofit tenants will be offered replacement units.

Of the remaining households, about 200 are considered Pre-DDA and about 150 are Post-DDA, according to Haney’s office.

As development occurs and new housing becomes available, all residents will be required to move out of current housing and into the newly built units — or be forced off the island entirely.

When that happens, residents who have potentially lived on Treasure Island for as long as 20 years and are unable to compete in the The City’s housing market could face displacement from San Francisco.

“Some people have lived there for eight years now, and the development won’t be complete until 10 years. So some residents living here for 18 years won’t have any rights at all,” said Haney on Friday.

Development plans for Treasure Island are 20 years in the making, and construction is expected to break ground next year. The first new building is expected to open in 2020, and additional buildings will open every two to three years as funding and other factors permit, according to the resolution.

The Examiner reported previously that Treasure Island’s developers are seeking to close a $170 million funding gap for five planned affordable housing projects, citing rising construction costs, and are looking to proposed November affordable housing bond.

The man-made island, which served as a former U.S. naval base, is also currently undergoing toxic and radioactive remediation.

State health officials have confirmed that radioactive isotopes found on parts of Treasure Island include Cesium -137, Radium -226, and Thorium-232, but environmental advocates and whistleblowers caution that chemical toxins also pose health threats for residents, and have called for all current residents to be relocated off the island.

TIDA Director Bob Beck told the Examiner in March that he did not believe the agreement needed to be revised. At the time, Haney requested a report on the tenant protections from TIDA.

On Friday, Beck and other TIDA officials were not immediately available for comment on the resolution, which is non-binding and would have to be approved with a vote by the TIDA board.

According to Haney, post-DDA households will likely “get a preference similar to [The City’s] certificate holder population that has been displaced from other neighborhoods.” Haney said he plans to bring the resolution to the TIDA Board next month.

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New development on Treasure Island is expected to include more than 8,000 units of housing, including 2,000 affordable units. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

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