Breed, Yee call for planned affordable housing bond to grow to $500M

SF’s property tax growth allows for larger measure

Mayor London Breed and Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee on Monday jointly backed a proposal to increase a planned November affordable housing bond by $200 million to a total of $500 million.

Breed and Yee sent a joint letter Monday to the Capital Planning Committee, overseen by City Administrator Naomi Kelly, to consider the increase.

The draft capital plan calls for a $300 million affordable housing bond in November, but the letter to Kelly said it could be increased after The City received more revenue than expected in property taxes.

“The City Controller recently updated property tax projections for the city, which results in additional bonding capacity of $200 million available for programming through The City’s capital planning process,” the letter said. “With this additional capacity we can both address the critical need for more affordable housing and maintain our commitment to voters to maintain property tax levels.”

Affordable housing is “one of the biggest challenges” facing The City and “we need to build more housing, particularly affordable housing to keep our communities stable,” the letter states.

The letter also leaves open the possibility for additional increases to the bond amount.

“Additionally, as our controller continues to update property tax projections we remain committed to allocating additional bonding capacity to affordable housing,” the letter said.

The Capital Planning Comittee may consider the bond increase at its April 8 or April 22 meeting.

In 2015, 74 percent of voters approved a $310 million affordable housing bond to finance the construction or rehabilitation of 1,392 homes.

At least one official, Supervisor Matt Haney, expressed interest Monday in seeing the bond grow even larger, calling for a $1 billion bond on Twitter.

“Our unfunded gap is $350 million+ in D6 alone, we have the most unaffordable housing market in the country, and we are building only a fraction of our estimated affordable housing need for low/middle income residents,” he said in a series of Tweets. “I’ve reviewed the projections and the bond capacity, and believe there is a path for us to do a $1 billion dollar bond, or closer to $1 billion than $300 million, without raising property taxes. Let’s do it!”

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