Government

San Francisco and New York Affordable Housing Plans Compared

Paayal Zaveri, San Francisco Public Press — Aug 4 2014 - 12:13pm

San Francisco is not the only city in a housing crisis. The multi-year plan proposed by Mayor Ed Lee bears some similarities to those proposed by Bill de Blasio, the new mayor of New York, where even last week a major initiative advanced to fix older affordable buildings. Part of a special report on solutions for housing affordability.

‘Laura’s Law’ No Quick Fix for Strained San Francisco Mental Health System

Robin Ngai, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 11 2014 - 10:33am

The challenge of preserving civil rights while providing mental health care dominated debate about “Laura’s Law,” a controversial measure adopted this week that gives family members and law enforcement a legal means to compel treatment. Proponents say the law will help families frustrated by their loved ones’ refusal to seek treatment, but service providers and activists say it is not a panacea for San Francisco's overstretched mental health system.

Easy Solutions to S.F.’s Housing Crisis? Beware Unintended Consequences

Nathan Collins, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 12 2014 - 3:25pm

The road to hell is paved with good intentions and, very often, good urban planning policy ideas too. San Francisco and the Bay Area are no strangers to that road. Yet as talk of a housing crisis grows, the region may need a new attitude more than new ideas to avoid the mistakes of the past. Part of a special report on solutions for housing affordability.

Housing Solution: Backyard Cottages Could Add One-Third More Homes to San Francisco

Cori Brosnahan, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 5 2014 - 4:00pm

San Francisco could boost its housing stock by as much as one-third — if only homeowners were allowed to build tiny, freestanding cottages in their backyards. This would satisfy the city’s policy of “infill development,” putting more housing on existing underutilized land. But first, the city would have to tweak existing building regulations tailored to mid-20th century lifestyles. Part of a special report on solutions for housing affordability.

S.F. Mayor Counts Existing Homes to Hit Affordable Housing Goal

Noah Arroyo and Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — May 13 2014 - 10:48am

Nearly 40% of subsidized units cited already exist

In his plan calling for 30,000 units of “new and rehabilitated” housing over six years, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee left many news organizations with the incorrect impression that one-third of those apartments would be additional units that most city residents could afford. Details of the plan actually show that a large fraction of the total consists of already-occupied public housing units that would be repaired, but add little the city’s overall affordable housing stock. Part of a special report on solutions for housing affordability.

Q&A: Bay Area Needs to Organize to Fight Sea-Level Rise, SPUR Researcher Says

Annie Sneed, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 24 2014 - 2:36pm

Laura Tam, who has done environmental sustainability research at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association for six years, says climate change adaptation planning is one of her most important responsibilities. She helped shape the Bay Plan, a controversial policy that answered complaints about guidance recommending restrictions on bay-front development issued by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission in 2010. The following year, she published “Climate Change Hits Home,” listing the ways the Bay Area could be more prepared for changes in weather, freshwater supply and sea-level rise.The following is an edited transcript of our interview with her.

A version of this story ran in the winter 2014 print edition.

Mission Accomplished? Currently Planned Housing Already Meets S.F. Mayor’s ‘Ambitious’ 6-Year Goal

Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 13 2014 - 11:21am

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s goal of adding 30,000 units to the housing market by 2020 may not be as “ambitious” or “aggressive” as he claims. Records show that the city could hit that goal just with existing development projects and those currently under review. An assessment by the mayor’s office shows that at least 27,000 housing units are already in the pipeline for construction. In combination with the planned refurbishing of 4,000 homes, projects now in the planning process would more than meet the mayor’s goal.

Activists Call for Revival of Harvey Milk’s Anti-Speculation Proposal

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 10 2014 - 5:39pm

Before his death, Supervisor Harvey Milk introduced an “anti-speculation” proposal that would have heavily taxed profits generated by quickly flipping properties in San Francisco. Now Brian Basinger, a housing activist and former president of the nostalgically named Harvey Milk Democratic Club, is pushing for the city to resurrect it. The proposal was one of seven considered at Saturday’s citywide Tenant Convention at the Tenderloin Community School auditorium. Participants were able to rank their preference for various proposals by ballot. The event was the culmination of a series of neighborhood tenant conventions that aimed to generate ideas to solve the city’s affordable housing crisis.

New Law Gives People With Criminal History a Chance for a Job and Housing

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 6 2014 - 7:28pm

A new local law will help people with a past criminal conviction secure housing and find employment in San Francisco. Known as “ban the box,” a newly approved plan by Supervisor Jane Kim will mean job applicants no longer have to disclose their criminal history until after they have participated in a live interview. It will also mean public and private agencies will be limited in how that information can be used to place people in below-market-rate housing.

Some S.F. Leaders Want Failing Streetlights Added to Seismic Safety Bond

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Jan 29 2014 - 2:26pm

A $400 million bond to improve emergency-response services and other public safety infrastructure in San Francisco will be on the June ballot, but Supervisor Scott Wiener said the bond should be expanded to fix hundreds of streetlights that have fallen into disrepair. The bond would include $70 million to repair and retrofit fire stations, $30 million for improvements to police stations and $65 million toward the construction of a new seismically sound medical examiner facility. It would also include $70 million in upgrades to the city’s alternative water supply system used to fight fires and $165 million for a new police building for traffic and forensic services. The proposal is the second in a series of Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response bonds that the city has proposed in order to cover the costs associated with retrofiting buildings and other infrastructure in preparation for a large earthquake.

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