Homeless San Diegans Lead National Fight of Vehicle-Camping Laws

: courthousenews – excerpt

SAN DIEGO (CN) – Homeless San Diegans living in RVs and cars have successfully challenged local laws outlawing vehicle habitation, with a judge ordering the city to cease ticketing and toss out hundreds of outstanding tickets. If they win their case – or a favorable settlement – their efforts could be emulated around the country.

This past fall, San Diegans living in RVs and vehicles kicked off their lawsuit with a rally in the city’s historic Balboa Park, singing and chanting while waving hand-painted signs which read “Stop the tickets.”

Represented by Disability Rights California, the plaintiffs in the case have disabilities and say living in their vehicles is the safest option for them absent affordable housing.

San Diego had just weathered a Hepatitis A outbreak that left 20 people dead and over 400 hospitalized. The public health crisis mostly impacted the city’s unsheltered population and its spread was compounded by the lack of public restrooms for those living on San Diego streets. The situation forced the city to sanitize downtown streets with a bleach solution and install portable toilets and hand washing stations… (more)


Regional housing tax in the works — 9-county agency looks to raise $1.5 billion a year

By Eliane Goodman : padailypost – excerpt

A group that wants to increase the housing supply in the Bay Area is looking at ways to fund its efforts, which could potentially include a sales tax increase, an employer “head count” tax, or a tax on vacant houses.

Those are a few of the ideas under review by CASA, or Committee to House the Bay Area. The group was formed last year by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional planning agency for the nine-county Bay Area. CASA has roughly 50 members that include local government officials and representatives of businesses and nonprofits.
CASA is proposing a multi-pronged approach to the region’s housing crisis that it calls the “three P’s”: producing more housing at all levels of affordability, preserving existing affordable housing, and protecting residents at risk of losing their housing…

‘Share the pain’… (more)

‘Share the pain’ is the worst argument for raising taxes or changing lifestyles. For those of us who know the history of SOMA there is a certain irony in this request, but, no thanks, I am not a masochist. If you are, stay and complain, if not, move. Don’t inflict your lifestyle on me and I will not inflict mine on you.

MTC CASA technical committee hopes to raise billions from Bay Area taxpayers
(Includes video links of the MTC CASA meeting): https://sfceqa.wordpress.com/2018/09/28/mtc-casa-technical-committee-hopes-to-raise-billions-from-bay-area-taxpayers/

4 things we can do to curb our S.F. housing shortage

By Ozzie Rohm : sfgate – excerpt

In the past few years, the raging debate about California’s housing shortage has turned into a battle of words, with simplistic labels from differing camps. Real estate boosters have reduced the problem to an issue of supply and demand, while politicians of all stripes have exploited what is an affordability crisis to deregulate city planning and remove the voice of the people.

In reality, we have an affordable housing shortage that cannot be solved by deregulation and upzoning every residential parcel in San Francisco for more market-rate housing. We keep building, but the prices keep going up because, in a city as desirable as San Francisco, the demand is insatiable. But if we harness that demand by reducing real estate speculation and increasing the production of below-market-rate homes, we directly address the problem. To that end, we suggest these measures:

Impose a vacancy tax: In a hot real estate market such as ours, homes are used as investment tools…

Preserve our relatively affordable homes: Square foot for square foot, older homes are cheaper than new homes. A study by the National Association of Realtors points to a 30 to 40 percent price difference between the old and new homes…

Start a rental registry: Our tenants have been hit the hardest by this crisis. Speculators buy rental properties and get rid of tenants only to remodel and put them on the market with hefty profit…

Build 100 percent affordable housing: The magnitude of this crisis is such that what little affordable housing trickles down from 10, 20, and 30 percent inclusionary measures (where the developer is required to reserve a certain percentage of the new units for low- or middle-income dwellers) would not solve the problem…

Any of the first three measures can knock the speculators out of the market, while the last one will produce more homes for those who need them the most, people who cannot afford $1 million-plus homes. We can come together and press for these changes, or we can continue the blame game and divisive posturing.

If you can envision a San Francisco where people of all income levels are welcome, so can we — and that’s a goal worth striving for. Join us, and let’s make it happen!

Ozzie Rohm is a co-founder of Noe Neighborhood Council and a member of San Francisco Land Use Coalition. You can reach her at info@sfluc.org. To comment, submit your letter to the editor at SFChronicle.com/letters… (more)

SF reaches $15.5M deal to buy McDonald’s on Haight, build affordable housing

By Michael Barba and Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco has reached a deal to purchase the blighted McDonald’s restaurant on Haight Street for $15.5 million and plans to turn the site into [100%] affordable housing, Board of Supervisors President London Breed said Tuesday…(more)

New navigation center proposed at 13th and South Van Ness

San Francisco ballot measure on affordable housing would test voters

By Heather Knight : sfchronicle – excerpt

Homeless people have taken up residents on the side walks near the recently emptied PDR buildings in the Mission as businesses move out due to high rents. There are quite a few large empty bakeries and car lots and former construction shops. These photos by zrants.

San Franciscans are famous for complaining about the city’s homeless problem, high housing costs and fleeing middle class, and in the same breath, blasting affordable housing projects planned near them.

The homeless encampments sprawling all over city sidewalks are outrageous! Build affordable housing for homeless people in my neighborhood? No way!

So it’ll be an interesting test to see how a ballot measure planned for June fares with city voters. The love-it-or-hate-it group known as Yimby Action (for Yes in My Backyard) wants voters to make it easier for developers to construct 100 percent affordable housing and teacher housing.

The measure, being reviewed by the city attorney’s office and set to hit the streets soon for signature collection, would eliminate discretionary reviews for those two housing categories.

That means that if a 100 percent affordable or teacher housing project met all zoning and other requirements, it would get the go-ahead automatically. It could speed the process for getting permits from several years to a few months, said Laura Foote Clark, executive director of Yimby Action…(more)

The state recently passed a law that covers most of this and the major problem we are facing is a lack of space to build without disrupting current residents and a lack of money to build the affordable housing. As a recent housing balance report pointed out, there is a major problem with adding additional affordable housing when you are losing existing at almost the rate you are building, or approving. Not all of the approved projects are being built. It is cheaper and easier for everyone to preserve the existing housing and a lot more humane. There is already a move or two to repeal Costa Hawkins at the state level that could do just that.

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.

New Affordable Housing Resources for SF Artists

If you are like us, you’re tired of losing San Francisco artists and creatives to eviction and displacement because of skyrocketing housing costs.  The good news is there is some recent money and support being set aside for affordable housing specifically for artists and nonprofit workers in SF.  18% of all new housing stock in SF is meant to be kept as ‘affordable housing’, which is important considering the median rent for a one-bed in San Francisco is currently the highest in the country at $3,370/month (that’s over $40k a year just for rent).

If you are an artist (or know an artist) who may need help with all the paperwork or to find out if you have the right income level (AMI) to qualify for affordable housing, the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) is stepping up to help you out.  The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) awarded a $115,000 grant to MEDA to assist artists and nonprofit cultural workers with accessing the City’s affordable housing stock.

Via – Kate Paterson of SFAC

“San Francisco’s highly competitive real estate market continues to prove challenging for many artists and cultural workers. Our aim through this partnership is to keep artists in San Francisco by helping those who income qualify navigate the City’s affordable housing opportunities,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny. “We are happy that we can provide free housing technical assistance for artists and nonprofit cultural workers with Mission Economic Development Agency, who excels at this work.”… (more)