Making a More Affordable San Francisco

Mayor Edwin M. Lee
Sep 28, 2017 · 2 min read
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Every morning around the Bay Area, people wake up and face the dreaded task of a long commute from home to work. Because of our housing crisis, our teachers, nurses, first responders and restaurant employees are forced to live in homes far away from where they work.

We must change that — especially for our working and middle-class residents.

On Wednesday, I issued an Executive Directive to speed up the time it takes to create homes in San Francisco. By increasing collaboration, transparency and accountability among City department and improving our partnership with private organizations, we can reduce housing approval timelines by nearly half while creating 5,000 new units every year for the foreseeable future.

For generations, San Francisco threw up obstacle after obstacle to the creation of new homes. Over a 30-year average starting in 1986, we built just 1,967 new units annually. Our 5,000 goal initiative marks a 160 percent rise from those levels — an aggressive, unprecedented increase in housing production. We are confident we can accomplish that lofty goal, because we have a proven track record when it comes to creating homes for our residents.

Starting in 2014, we challenged ourselves to building 30,000 new and rehabilitated units by 2020. Since then, we have brought more than 17,000 units online, translating to roughly 5,000 units per year. And of those units, 35 percent are permanently affordable to middle and low-income residents.

We know that our longtime residents, families and the members of our dedicated workforce do not have the luxury to wait months and years for homes to be permitted and built in our city. While projects languish in production, the available housing stock shrinks, driving up demand and prices for homes. More housing means more affordable options for our residents.

The housing crisis affecting our City is not unique to San Francisco. Cities and towns across the state are dealing with rising homes prices and a death of housing options. Our leaders in Sacramento recognize that challenge, which is why they passed their own set of legislation to streamline the permitting and building process in California. Their work will complement our own efforts in San Francisco.

Together we are looking to the future. We want to make our state and our cities more affordable for our residents. In San Francisco, we want our residents to make this a place where they can plant their roots, and call this city homes for generations to come.

For a full copy of my Executive Report on housing, please visit here.

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