Mayor Lee Proposes Unprecedented Middle Class Housing Subsidy


How hard is it for San Francisco’s middle class? This November, Mayor Ed Lee will ask San Francisco voters to decide whether the City should issue a $250 million dollar “Affordable Housing General Obligation Bond”, where as much as $100 Million would go toward directly subsidizing the production of “middle class” apartments (units for households making between $100,000 and $140,000 per year).

The City already has a patchwork of other tools in its Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program, including the Downpayment Loan Assistance Program, which provides downpayment loans to middle class residents, the overseeing of Below Market Rate units, and the Small-Site Acquisition Program, which actually purchases multiunit residential buildings to preserve affordable housing stock (generally in response to Ellis evictions and “tenancy-in-common” conversions).

This bond, if successful, would allocate funds toward subsidizing “middle income units”, where “the city would pay about $150,000 to $200,000 per unit to restrict them at moderate-income rents for perpetuity”, as reported by the San Francisco Business Journal. No word yet on whether the process of renting one of these restricted units would be any less laborious than the process for renting below market rate housing.