Across the Bay, here’s what Mayor Ed Lee is doing to help out the folks defined as making too much money to qualify for below market rate units and too poor to afford market rate units, from the San Francisco Business Journal:
If voters approve Mayor Ed Lee’s $250 million housing bond in November, they will unlock a stream of cash that the city will use to subsidize rental housing units for middle-class residents for the first time.
Under the plan a new housing program would use a small slice of the bond money to pay real estate developers that are building new market-rate buildings to restrict some rental units for households that make roughly $100,000 to $140,000 a year.
this would be the first program using public money for new rental units. It may also throw a new income bracket into the frantic world of housing lotteries, where thousands of applicants vie for dozens of spots in new market-rate buildings.
Instead of just talking about how there is a gap, Mayor Ed Lee recognizes that the only way to make units affordable, short of build build build, is to subsidize the units like the below market rate units, creating another tier of subsidized housing. According to the article, New York has long had a program to subsidize middle income housing:
But there is some precedent for cities subsidizing middle-income housing, such as a 60-year-old New York program that offers “low-cost financing and property tax abatements to developers who agreed to cap their profits and submit rent increases for approval,” according to CityLimits.org. New York is also mulling a new program to subsidize units within reach of the middle-class.
In fact Mayors of the three largest Bay Area cities (Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose) recently appeared together to discuss the housing crisis. All talked about the need to build more housing, but that a regional discussion was necessary, because building housing only in those three cities would not solve the regional housing crisis:
The last question focused on regionalism, and the possibility of taking away the ability of local, municipal governments to make decisions on housing, perhaps in a model that mimics what had been done in Portland and Seattle.
”In some ways [that] is easy for us, because we embrace housing, and we want to be urban centers, and our neighbors don’t. So, it’s always easier for larger cities to say yes to regionalism,” said Liccardo.
He explained that the composition of our region and its 99 jurisdictions adds to the issue. ”In some of these towns and cities, our interests are so diverse; it’s not easy,” he added.
”There is a range. You’re talking about something that’s pretty punitive and regulatory, and that’s the stick, right? I like how Sam [Liccardo] was talking about the carrot—if you don’t do your fair share, no transportation funds for you. To find more carrots is something that is more politically feasible,” said Mayor Schaaf.
Mayor Lee called on the concept of advanced citizenship and participation in the regional discussions. While there could be changes made in the land use policy that may create delicate changes that can be more incentivizing than regulatory, smaller cities should make their fair share contribution to good transportation as well as fair housing.
”We have to have that regional conversation,” he concluded.