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S.F. Mayor London Breed Announces Major Developments in Affordable Housing

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Mayor London Breed announced July 2 that the city of San Francisco was awarded over $130 million in state funds for affordable housing, transportation and infrastructure projects.

“This $130 million in grants from the state could not have come at a more critical time as we continue to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Breed. “The funds will allow us to accelerate construction on more than 350 affordable homes and undertake major infrastructure improvements. This will help us free up financing capacity for other badly needed affordable housing developments across San Francisco and put people to work with well-paying construction jobs.”

The grants were provided by the California Strategic Growth Council’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC) with funds from California Climate Investments.

AHSC provided $30 million, of which $20 million will fund a 157-unit affordable housing project scheduled to begin construction in the summer of 2021.

“I am thrilled that these important projects will receive state funding and applaud our City’s efforts to build affordable housing. Now more than ever, due to COVID-19 and the economic fallout, people are suffering financially,” said state Senator Scott Wiener, chair of the California Senate Housing Committee. “Housing insecurity and homelessness are spiking, and we need long-term solutions that get people housed. This is great news in a challenging time, and I look forward to seeing these projects serve our community.”

Balboa Park Upper Yard will be adjacent to the Balboa BART Station with 131 units of affordable housing, 39 subsidized by the San Francisco Housing Authority. The ground floor will have 10,000 square feet of community space, including an early-childhood education center and family resource center. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2021.

Road work will be done on Hillcrest Road on Yerba Buena Island and Sunnydale Block 3B will have mixed-use family residential housing with community spaces and retail at the intersection of Sunnydale Avenue and Hahn Street.

It will also have 92 units of affordable family housing with 69 to be set aside and subsidized by Project-Based Section 8 Vouchers from the San Francisco Housing Authority.

Also on June 30, the San Francisco board of supervisors approved Breed’s resolution to lease 833 Bryant St., formerly a surface parking lot in SoMa near the Hall of Justice at 855 Bryant.

The 145 units are scheduled to open in the fall of 2021 and is part of a city-wide effort to add 1,000 units by the end of 2024.

No city funds were used for the project currently under construction. Monies came from the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) and Tipping Point Community. Mercy Housing California is the developer.

The quick development process was praised by the interim director of the San Francisco Dept. of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “This project not only provides much needed permanent supportive housing but also takes an innovative approach in reducing time and costs,” said Abigail Stewart-Kahn. “833 Bryant St. public-private partnership demonstrates that supportive housing can be developed rapidly and effectively to serve chronically homeless people in our community.”

HAF, which is contributing $35 million to the project, is “thrilled to be achieving its goals” to quickly get unhoused people into permanent shelter, said CEO Rebecca Foster. “Two years ago, the Housing Accelerator Fund set out on an ambitious mission:  to cut the time it takes to build permanent supportive housing in half and to significantly reduce production costs,” Foster added. She offered thanks to their partners Mercy Housing, Tipping Point Community and the city of San Francisco for helping advance the innovations that will soon result in 145 new homes for people experiencing homelessness.

Philanthropy plays a key role in the project, according to Daniel Lurie, chairman of the Tipping Point Community. “Philanthropy has the ability to act quickly and take risks to identify bold solutions of our community’s greatest challenges.  This project is a great example of how private donors can provide risk capital for a proof of concept, and work with government to sustain the solution for the long run.”

“By deploying modular construction and an entrepreneurial financing approach, this project demonstrates the potential for time and costs savings for developing affordable housing in San Francisco,” said Doug Shoemaker, President Mercy Housing California.

The city is also using hotels during COVID-19 for housing the homeless.

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