City Fund Could Yield $50M Yearly for Affordable Housing

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Mayor Edwin Lee recently announced that the San Francisco is taking steps to revitalize its affordable housing market. The proposed Housing Trust Fund will generate between $20 million and $50 million annually to jump-start development of affordable housing, the Huffington Post reports. The effort will help produce more than 9,000 affordable housing units over the life of the program, the mayor’s office estimates.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the initiative would draw on multiple revenue sources: a tax on property transfers valued at $1 million or more; a small portion of the city’s hotel tax; and property taxes that would previously have flowed to the city’s defunct redevelopment agency.  San Francisco residents will vote on the proposal if city supervisors sign off by June 19.

As reported by the Chronicle, the overall number of new residential units in San Francisco hit an 18-year low last year. Developers added just 418 units in 2011—a net gain of 269 units when elimination of illegal apartments and demolitions are factored in. That amounted to 12 percent of the city’s average for the past 10 years, and a 78 percent decrease from the previous year.

On the positive side, the majority of residential construction in San Francisco last year came under the affordable category. And city officials approved nearly 2,000 units for construction in 2011—a year-over-year increase of 66 percent, the Chronicle noted.

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