The Sunset District needs affordable housing

Irving Street project will help working class families stay in community

By Edward Reese

“In just two years, 2550 Irving Street will become the best place in San Francisco to buy Heroin!”

That’s according to an anonymous flyer opposing the new affordable housing development planned for 26th and Irving in the Sunset.

As people of faith, we are saddened to see some of our neighbors spouting discriminatory language to incite fear and hatred against those who are in need of housing. Pope Francis recently lamented this phenomenon: “In today’s world, the sense of belonging to a single human family is fading, and the dream of working together for justice and peace seems an outdated utopia. What reigns instead is a cool, comfortable and globalized indifference, born of deep disillusionment concealed behind a deceptive illusion: thinking that we are all-powerful, while failing to realize that we are all in the same boat.”

We are calling on all residents of the Sunset to realize that we are truly in the same boat. The Sunset has long embraced itself as a working and middle-class community — but the reality is that few working class or middle-class people can afford to live here now that many homes cost more than $1 million. Many Sunset residents do not see a future for their own children here in San Francisco.

The development at 2550 Irving St. will provide stable housing to 100 families with incomes between $38,000 and $102,000 a year. This will be a home for San Franciscans like our essential workers, our educators and our first responders — people who in another era would have been able to purchase a home in the Sunset.

District Four needs housing like this: Just last year, only 49 of the more than 5,000 applicants for affordable units in the Sunset were placed — leaving 99.1% of applicants without hope of a stable home. We deserve affordable housing just as the rest of San Francisco does.

With this need in mind, we urge all Sunset residents to look with compassion on their neighbors, and support the 2550 Irving project with all 100 units. Every decrease in units decreases the affordability of the project and eliminates the possibility that a family can stay a part of our community.

To express your support practically, we encourage you to sign a petition, attend community meetings and verbalize your support, and bring others along with you. Together we can embody the kind of community we want to be by providing homes for all. Pope Francis offers us this prayer as a guide for reclaiming our sense of belonging to a single human family:

May our hearts be open

to all the peoples and nations of the earth.

May we recognize the goodness and beauty

that you have sown in each of us,

and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects,

and shared dreams. Amen.

Fr. Edward A. Reese, S.J. is president of St. Ignatius College Preparatory

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