New commission might help SF housing crisis

Op-Ed by : sfexaminer – excerpt

A recent op-ed by Supervisor Mark Farrell in the San Francisco Examiner — “New, costly ‘Peskin Commission’ is not the answer to the housing crisis” (Aug. 9) — that opposed the creation of a commission having oversight over the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development was a classic ad hominem attack.

Farrell attacked Supervisor Aaron Peskin, although the housing commission charter change was co-sponsored by three supervisors and placed on the ballot by six members of the Board of Supervisors. It isn’t a singular “Peskin commission.”

MOHCD has sole discretion over $3 billion in housing funds allocation. Most San Franciscans agree that any city agency controlling $3 billion in public funds deserves an oversight commission…

At CGOBOC’s July 28 meeting, MOHCD suddenly changed planned uses of the housing bond presented on Jan. 28. The previous “Middle-Income Rental Program” and “Expiring Regulations Preservation” categories vanished and new “Middle-Income Teacher Housing” and new “Middle-Income Buy-In Program” sub-categories appeared, replete with market-rate units, with final allocations “still to be determined.” Fully 18 months into planning bond uses, why are allocation categories shifting at MOHCD’s sole discretion, without forewarning CGOBOC?…

San Francisco’s 2013–14 Civil Grand Jury issued its report “The Mayor’s Office of Housing: Under Pressure and Challenged to Preserve Diversity.” The jury concluded “housing development over the last decade has fallen far short of regional need targets,” noted “housing construction for middle-income households isn’t meeting regional housing targets,” and noted MOHCD’s record-keeping was in complete shambles.

City Controller and Board of Supervisors Budget and Legislative Analyst data paint a troubling picture of MOHCD. In February 2014, fully 92.8 percent — $17.5 million — of the total $20 million transferred to the Housing Trust Fund administered by MOHCD remained unspent nine months into Fiscal Year 2013–2014. MOHCD has consistently left Downpayment Loan Assistance Program funds unencumbered across fiscal years.

In 2015, $1.3 million for housing and public infrastructure improvements overseen by MOHCD was stolen from the SoMa Community Stabilization Fund. Nobody noticed for months. Separately, despite prodding by Peskin’s office, MOHCD allowed permanently affordable housing units to be foreclosed, lost forever.

MOHCD’s opposition to housing cooperatives under its Small Sites Acquisition program — despite both Mayor Ed Lee’s and the Planning Department’s support — is troubling, because San Francisco’s 2014 Housing Element includes co-ops.

There are many good reasons to support a housing commission having oversight of MOHCD’s stewardship of scarce affordable housing funds.

Vote yes on Proposition M…(more)







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