Tenants find stability under Eviction Protections 2.0

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The rent is too damn high!

That may still be true, but at least the evictions aren’t too damn high.

The latest numbers from the San Francisco Rent Board show a steady two-year decline in filed evictions since 2015. What’s behind the decline, you may ask?

Did landlords become less greedy? Have rent prices cooled? With an average two bedroom rental price of $3,400, according to Curbed, I think we can safely say no.

What has happened, say tenant advocates, is a handy suite of protections passed in 2015 are kicking in. Eviction Protections 2.0, the wonky rewrite of San Francisco’s rent-control law, is working…

a coalition of tenants rights advocates on Tuesday took the first step toward creating a ballot initiative to provide a right to legal counsel for victims of evictions in San Francisco… (more)

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Transit, Vision Zero, Livable Streets, and other Highlights of the “Focus on the Future” Conference

: streetsblog – excerpt

hat if San Francisco becomes the next Detroit?” asked Jonathan Miranda, Director of Strategy at Salesforce.com, during a keynote speech this morning at the “Focus on the Future” conference in downtown San Francisco. Given the region’s meteoric growth, that may seem far fetched–but no more so than Detroit’s fall after the booming years of the auto industry. He said that given San Francisco’s inability to build sufficient housing, that’s a real possibility. “Companies are moving to Austin, Denver, Seattle–what happens if software and Silicon Valley start looking for a different place?”

Miranda’s warning was part of a theme at the conference about how important it is for the Bay Area to address issues such as housing costs, transportation, and the safety and livability of our streets. The conference is run by the “Self-Help Coalition,” an organization of 24 different California transportation authorities and government organizations which share planning and policy intel. The event also featured tours of the Central Subway, the Transbay Transit Center, and a discussion of the Better Market Street plan. (more)

GENTRIFICATION is the word that is making the rounds these days to describe the economic disparity that is plaguing the nation. Pretty much everyone is concerned about it but no one is attempting to solve the problem of extreme cost of living increases that are exasperating the homeless crisis and causing much of the stress in our cities.

GROWTH has limits and inviting disruptive high tech industries to experiment with our society is exacerbating the conflicts between the top and bottom levels of society as everyone scrambles for empty units like empty seats in a game of musical chairs.

DISRUPTION is not a game to be taken lightly, but, it is the new tech mantra that is being sold to cities that want to partake in the technology revolution. Citizens get no say in the matter and many are unaware that they are being sacrificed on the corporate alter of progress until it is too late.

COMPANY TOWN is the title of a movie that Investigates Tech Industry’s impact on tow of SF’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. There is a new attempt to mitigate some of the housing crisis by creating “company towns” that include housing on the corporate campus to alleviate some of the housing crunch.

To stop monster homes, legalize apartments

By Scott Feeny : sfexaminer – excerpt

In San Francisco’s ritziest neighborhoods, from Corona Heights to Noe Valley to Potrero Hill, there’s an epidemic going around: monster homes. Someone will buy a tiny, rundown, single-family home for a mere $1.5 million, then replace or add on to make it a gigantic single-family home or duplex that sells for $4.5 million.

The planning bureaucracy is responding tepidly with a new proposal, “Residential Expansion Threshold,” that pays lip service to housing production needs, but mostly offers NIMBYs concessions. It seeks to maximize allowable density, for example, by incentivizing building a duplex instead of a single-family home in Noe Valley. It’s a reasonable goal, but inadequate given existing zoning. Duplexes are illegal to build in much of The City, so the RET does little for us…

At the same time, the program aims to reduce building mass to “respect neighborhood character,” a thinly disguised segregationist dog whistle. Respecting neighborhood character means keeping residential neighborhoods the same: single-family homes that are low-density and unaffordable…(more)

With housing costs skyrocketing, rent control is on the docket again in Sacramento

By Andrew Khouri : 48hills – excerpt

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Amid California’s housing crisis, several state lawmakers want to give cities the ability to dramatically expand rent control, including imposing the kind of strict limits that once existed in Santa Monica and West Hollywood but have been barred since the 1990s.

A bill that would do so, introduced last month, marks the most significant move yet in a growing movement to cap skyrocketing rents as California’s economy booms and housing production lags.

Protests over the high cost of housing and aggressive landlord tactics have erupted in Los Angeles and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. And voters in two cities up north passed new limits on rent increases in November, seeing them as a way to stop dramatic hikes that have displaced lower- and middle-income households.

But cities can only go so far in capping rents — something AB 1506 seeks to change.

“The momentum is very much on the side of rent control,” said Dean Preston, executive director of the statewide renters group Tenants Together(more)

The key here is that the repeal throws responsibility back to the local jurisdictions. That is why the slogan is: “Let the Cities Decide”, or let the citizens elect officials that represent their interests and allow them to decide. If you feel the local jurisdictions should decide how to manage rental housing instead of the state, you will want to support AB 1506. Contact your local state reps to let them know how you feel.  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/state-legislators/

 

Proposed Legislation Aims to Strengthen Historical Districts

by Carrie Sisto : hoodline – excerpt

Legislation introduced today at the Board of Supervisors aims to prevent displacement of businesses and residents in San Francisco’s culturally significant neighborhoods.

The ordinance proposed by District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen and District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen would establish a framework for city departments to develop cultural districts that focus resources on “preserving culturally relevant businesses, arts, festivals, and affordable housing,” according to a release from the supervisors.

Rather than trying to stop gentrification, the legislation seeks to find methods to avoid displacement of cultural assets by expanding economic opportunities and promoting affordable housing… (more)

Supervisors Propose Universal Child Care Ballot Measure

by Nathan Falstreau: hoodline – excerpt

n June 2018, San Franciscans may get to weigh in on a ballot initiative that would enact universal childcare for city residents.

At yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim joined District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee to advance the initiative. The two instructed the Controller’s office to analyze the proposal’s costs and benefits.

“Nationwide, 60 percent of households with children do not have a stay-at-home parent,” Kim said, noting that center-based childcare for an infant in many states costs more than tuition and fees at public universities. “With these stark realities, we know that we must do better.”

At the meeting, Kim said she plans to introduce an initiative that would fund and implement a program to ensure access to affordable child care, possibly modeled after a sales tax ballot measure Alameda County is floating…

Details about the proposed ballot initiative—and how much it would cost to fund the program—have not been solidified, nor was a revenue stream identified.

A representative from Yee’s office told Hoodline v email that “the details of the ballot initiative will be contingent on the findings of the Controller report that Supervisors Kim and Yee requested.”

“If we truly believe that families are the backbone of our city,” Kim explained, “and that we have to do all that we can to hold onto them and make this city a family-friendly city, we have to do better and we can.”… (more)

 

Emergency Ban on Excessive Rent Increases Takes Effect in Nine California Counties, after Wildfires

Wednesday, October 18, 2017: California’s statewide tenants’ rights organization warned on Wednesday that double-digit rent increases following recent wildfires violate Penal Code 396, the state’s anti-price gouging laws. The cap on rent increases was triggered by the Governor’s declarations of states of emergency in nine counties due to wildfires. Tenants Together is holding a webinar at 10am-11am on October 26, 2017, for media, policymakers, lawyers, and organizers on the issue. To sign up for the webinar, visit http://bit.ly/RentBan

In the Bay Area, where affordable housing is already scarce, the fires have caused a surge in homelessness, as well as a sharp rise in demand for rental units. The price gouging law protects against landlords capitalizing on the heightened vulnerability of tenants…(more)

Find out more about these executive orders to stop price gouging in the fire areas by signing up for the webinar.