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Housing and Homelessness

New York Reform Effort Shows How San Francisco Rent Control Dialogue Lags

Caroline Cakebread, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 19 2015 - 3:08pm

Reforms to rent control are finally a topic of hot debate — but not in San Francisco.

Last year the Public Press wrote about the city’s curious rental laws, which somewhat arbitrarily helps some tenants by limiting yearly rent increases but not others, depending on when the building was put up.

Since then, not much has been done to revisit the issue, even though local leaders have been grasping for ideas to ease the housing crisis here, such as a housing bond of at least $250 million, and additional taxes on home sales to fund affordable housing programs.

Pitching Visions of an Affordable San Francisco at ‘Hack the Housing Crisis’

Justin Slaughter, Noah Arroyo, Cori Brosnahan, Harry Gibbons, Lyndal Cairns, Liz Enochs and Josh Wilson, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 13 2014 - 5:35pm

San Francisco has become the epicenter of the Bay Area’s affordability crisis, with high-tech corporations moving in, rents climbing skyward, and despair and evictions sweeping through long-established but lower-income communities. Yet for the sold-out crowd of 140 housing-policy visionaries, advocates, experts and activists at Hack the Housing Crisis, San Francisco’s struggle to house its citizens is an opportunity to build a better city for all. Part of a special report on solutions for housing affordability.

New In-Law Suite Rules Boost Affordable Housing in San Francisco

Rob Poole, — Jun 11 2014 - 7:09pm

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently approved two significant pieces of legislation that support accessory dwelling units, also known as “in-law” or secondary units, in the city. The first, introduced by District 3 Supervisor David Chiu and passed on April 17, enables existing illegal units to be legalized. The second, introduced by District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener and passed on April 16, allows for the construction of new accessory dwellings in his district.

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.

State Homeless ‘Bill of Rights’ Put on Hold Until Next Year

T.J. Johnston, San Francisco Public Press — May 30 2013 - 3:41pm

A “homeless bill of rights” in California must wait until next year for a vote in the full Assembly after clearing its first hurdle.  Advocates say the legislation would protect homeless people from local enforcement of so-called “quality of life” laws, and specify homeless people as deserving of protection in the state’s antidiscrimination statutes.

As Long Lines Form Daily Outside Homeless Shelters, City to Eject Disorderly Clients

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jan 25 2013 - 11:23am

Frequent calls to the police to respond to disturbances outside a South of Market homeless shelter have prompted the city to crack down on misbehavior and make it easier for shelters to summarily reject clients seeking a bed. Practically every day at the Multi-Service Center South shelter, the police are called to break up a fight or quell acts of violence. But the problem isn’t just inside the shelter. Homeless activists say the long lines people must wait in for hours makes the space outside the building a conflict zone.

Plan to shrink minimum S.F. apartment size hits political snag

Chase Niesner, SF Public Press — Aug 6 2012 - 3:32pm

A developer-backed proposal to shrink the minimum living space of a San Francisco apartment to 150 square feet faces a delay of at least a month, while the supervisor who floated the plan scrambles to shore up support from wary colleagues. Supervisor Scott Wiener last week delayed a vote on the legislation until at least September. Supporters of the plan say they are scrambling to line up the necessary votes on the Board of Supervisors. Wiener’s proposal first appeared before the board in June. It would redefine “efficiency” apartments, reducing the minimum allowable living space to 150 square feet from the current 220 square feet, not including the kitchen, bathroom and closet.

Most Haight merchants say nothing changed on street after ‘sit-lie’ prohibition

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jul 16 2012 - 11:36am

A majority of retailers surveyed last November in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood said the enactment of San Francisco’s sit-lie law hasn’t worked as expected: Homeless people still hang out in front of their businesses.  An independent research report commissioned by the city found that 58 percent of the merchants in the district — the focus of a political battle that led to voter approval of the ban in 2010 — say the same number of people or more continue to park themselves on sidewalks. Sixty-one percent said they encountered sidewalk sitters at least three times per week.

City postpones vote to allow apartments with only 150 square feet of living space

Chase Niesner, SF Public Press — Jul 10 2012 - 6:15pm

The idea of allowing smaller apartments in San Francisco — as little as 150 square feet of living space for an “efficiency” — is still under consideration after the Board of Supervisors Tuesday pushed back a decision on whether to amend the city’s building code. Supervisor Wiener and developers are pushing the approval of what they call “affordable by design” apartments, intended for newly constructed high-rises. Activists are calling these tiny apartments “shoeboxes.”

S.F. to tackle shelter waiting game for disabled and older homeless

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jun 6 2012 - 4:52pm

UPDATE: Listen to reporter T.J. Johnston's updated report on this story at KQED news here. The health of homeless people — especially older and disabled ones — is endangered by a time-consuming wait they endure daily when reserving a bed in San Francisco’s public shelter system, advocates and city officials say. As a result of a hearing before a Board of Supervisors panel, the city has begun a series of public meetings with providers, city officials and clients, to seek improvements in shelter access and the health of senior and disabled clients. Homeless policy director Bevan Dufty and others hope to work out a plan this summer and present it to the board.

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