Letters: New direction for housing

“Feds give S.F. big bucks for innovative public housing plan,” The City, Friday

New direction for housing

The federal government has not given “big bucks” to San Francisco, but what it has provided is crucial to Mayor Ed Lee’s goal of reforming the Housing Authority as we know it.

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department has provided San Francisco with a new tool called the Rental Assistance Demonstration that will allow the Housing Authority to convert public-housing funds to project-based rental assistance. The RAD conversion will be used to leverage $180 million to refinance and preserve up to 4,584 public-housing units. This is a game-changer for San Francisco’s public-housing residents and for Lee’s re-envisioning plan for public housing.

We are very grateful for HUD’s confidence in our plan and commitment to our residents that live in public housing, paving the way for the preservation, rehabilitation and long-term viability of thousands of existing housing units for very-low-income people. RAD is a central part of the Obama administration’s rental-housing preservation strategy, which works to preserve the nation’s stock of deeply affordable rental housing, promote efficiency within and among HUD programs, and build strong, stable communities. With this new RAD approval, we can now use an innovative tool that allows us to renovate public housing without displacing existing tenants and ensures that our public-housing stock will be well-maintained and suitable for San Francisco families most in need.

Olson Lee

Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development

San Francisco

➤ “Rent control vital for S.F.,” From Readers, Opinion, Tuesday

Rent is not a partisan issue

Tuesday’s paper had a letter that associated the issue of rent control with “Republican policies [that] cheat most citizens and benefit the greedy few.”

In fact, rent control was passed in San Francisco by popular initiative and has never been part of the national partisan divide. Neither President Barack Obama nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have ever advocated this on a national level, although both are Democrats.

Yes, most voters in San Francisco are renters and vote Democrat. But in San Mateo and Marin counties, where renters are not a majority, Democrats hold all partisan offices. Clearly rent control has nothing to do with it.

In rent-controlled San Francisco rents are among the highest in the country. Logically that doesn’t benefit the poor or middle class.

Mark Manber

San Mateo

➤ “S.F.’s discussion about tech buses is not over,” Opinion, Sunday

Tech shuttles just too big

Dear tech companies: Your buses are simply too big for our concentrated city. This is not the Peninsula.

I suggest you use smaller vans to shuttle workers to Caltrain stops. This is an even better solution for the environment than your diesel-spewing behemoths. If your workers insist on luxury on their commutes, perhaps you can equip some bi-level Caltrain cars with recliners and espresso bars.

J.M. Gillenkirk

San Franciscoletters to the editorOpinion

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