Don’t play politics with SF housing crisis

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, I announced my request that the City Attorney’s Office draft legislation that will add new rent-controlled units in District 3, the first time rent-controlled units have been added to our district’s housing supply since 1979.

These new units, added within the envelope of older, existing residential buildings, will provide more affordable-housing options, largely on ground floors where they are accessible for our seniors and people with disabilities.

It’s been my goal since the day I took office to find solutions to the housing insecurity facing our neighbors and residents throughout The City. I understand how important it is to both protect the unique character of our neighborhoods and to provide and protect affordable housing, ensuring that residents can stay in their homes and neighborhoods.

Recently, in a meeting with housing advocates, I pointed out that as a consequence of not having enough affordable housing, sometimes renters can be reluctant to move, even when their current housing situation no longer meets their needs. Understandably, the prospect of leaving any unit that is affordable, when affordable housing is in short supply and rents continue to rise, is daunting.

Unfortunately, some saw this conversation as an opportunity to score political points by misrepresenting my position. Let me be very clear: I support rent control in San Francisco, have always supported rent control and will continue to fight to protect rent control. This housing affordability crisis is real. Playing political games instead of finding solutions isn’t going to keep people in their homes or provide more housing options that they can afford.

We need protections like rent control, and we need to add more protections, including tighter restrictions on the Ellis Act, which speculators often use to flip properties and, in the process, evict tenants. We also need to build more affordable housing. Following the last dot-com boom, The City had an opportunity to prepare for forecasted economic growth and population increases, but it didn’t meet the challenge, in large part due to a political climate of obstructionism and gamesmanship on the Board of Supervisors.

My request for legislation to create new rent-controlled units in District 3 is a critical step in the effort to create more affordable housing for San Francisco residents.

Julie Christensen is a member of the Board of Supervisors representing District 3.

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