Ordinance Would Pave Way for Affordable Housing Development in Mishpot

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Over more than three decades Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP) has helped thousands of unhoused pregnant women and families, offering health, job training and child development services. The nonprofit may soon expand its assistance to include affordable housing. 

In May, the San Francisco Planning Commission recommended approval of the 18th Street Affordable Housing Special Use District ordinance, sponsored by San Francisco Supervisors Shamann Walton, Hillary Ronen and Catherine Stefani. If adopted by the full Board, the decree would enable HPP to develop a site it purchased adjacent to its 2500 18th street headquarters as residences.

The ordinance requires all dwelling units built on the site to be affordable to households with an annual income between thirty and eighty percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for at least 55 years.  During a hearing on the proposal, Planning Commission Senior Planner Veronica Flores recommended that the order be approved with one modification: to replace the AMI range of thirty to eighty percent to a cap of no greater than 80 percent of the AMI, which’d allow more people to qualify for the housing. 

According to Flores, the ordinance was widely endorsed. “We’ve received letters of support from HPP’s founder and executive director, board members, volunteers, and even clients from HPP. We’ve also received letters from restaurants, neighboring residents, and businesses such as Zynga.”

“Too often families are pushed out to the edges of the Bay Area,” said Rachel Stoltzfus, HPP’s Director of Housing and Partnership. “While rent often costs less, these families, often families of color, are displaced and isolated from friends and family, and challenged by transportation issues with limited access to health and social services. We make San Francisco more equitable for families who call the City home, and we can do everything by investing in agencies like HPP and in our clients. The map change suggested today would help HPP build out our housing services, alongside our job training program, so that more families in our community can thrive.”

HPP hasn’t yet identified how many units will be created with what amenities. It’d be the organization’s first residential development; it typically works to place clients in existing homes.  How the project will be financed is similarly unknown; HPP is exploring funding opportunities, including philanthropy and public financing.

The ordinance will next be presented to the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s Land Use and Transportation Committee, likely by August. If recommended by that committee, it’ll be heard at the full Board, and, if approved, go to Mayor London Breed, who will have ten days to sign it into law.