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Uncategorized Affordable housing built in the Mission: Less than 7...

Affordable housing built in the Mission: Less than 7 percent


A community that needs more low-cost housing is getting exactly what it doesn’t need


By Tim Redmond

MARCH 17, 2015 – Only 7 percent of the housing units currently entitled or under construction in the Mission District are affordable, and if you include all of the unites that have been proposed and are in the planning pipeline, that percentage still only reaches 25.7, a new study shows.

The study by the Mission Anti-Displacement Mapping Project provides a stunning picture of a community under assault. There are 478 housing units either under construction or approved for construction – and only 34 affordable units. A total of  1,332 new units are in the pipeline, seeking approval, but sites have been identified for only 247 new affordable units and city policies mandating inclusionary housing will add only 95 more, the study reports.

The mayor has insisted that his citywide plan calls for 33 percent of new housing to be below market-rate. That includes, of course, payments that developers make to build luxury housing in the Mission – which may wind up subsidizing housing in another part of town.

That’s why there’s such palpable anger on the streets of an area that has long had a history of Latino heritage and welcomed immigrants from Spanish-speaking counties.

Now it’s filling up with million-dollar condos that cater to mostly white tech workers and other wealthy people – many of whom say that want to live in the Mission because of its vibrant culture.

But that culture can’t survive in an era of evictions, displacement, and price hikes for both residential and commercial property that are devastating the working-class population.

It would take someone with much more statistical skill than me to draw a correlation between market-rate housing and evictions, but the data is right on the map, and even elementary economics suggests why: When richer people move into a neighborhood, the value of land goes up, and owners have more incentive to get rid of long-term residential and commercial tenants in favor of people who will pay higher rent.

The current policy solution that the Mayor’s Office likes is allowing market-rate construction and then looking for ways to divert money to affordable housing. But as we’ve seen, market-rate housing creates problems in vulnerable communities by itself – and the affordable housing that comes with it is utterly inadequate for the need.

Which is why Sup. David Campos is asking everyone to take a deep breath and wait a little while so we can figure this all out.


Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.


  1. Rent control is so unfair I cannot believe it has not been judged segregated and unconstitutional….

  2. Go to Venezuela to see how your ignorant economic theories have claimed their latest victim……

  3. Empathy is reserved for people who deserve it, not dead beats who steal the property of others…..

  4. If the housing being built in the Mission is allegedly “unaffordable”, why are they being snapped up by buyers ? Clearly this not affordable crap is a HUGE LIE…..Oh you mean SUBSIDIZED housing you get other suckers to pay for, for your cheap ass…..

  5. More evictions and gentrification, please. The Latinos have enjoyed their rent-controlled existence in the Mission for far too long, and the neighborhood must evolve. White flight back into cities is happening, and there’s nothing they can do about it. If you can’t afford it here, move to a place where you can: stop whining about how expensive it is. 16th & Mission is a dumping ground of human trash, so I’m 100% in favor of high-rise towers on that corner. The majority of the people who hang out in that area are garbage, and gentrification/housing development there will move them out.

  6. chasmander, to be fair to Gary, even though I usually disagree with him, I don’t think he was hijacking anything here.

  7. You can’t blame parents for wanting their children to grow up in a safe neighborhood with good schools.

  8. Why should renters be entitled to stay forever and ever in their unit, especially when that privilege is being subsidized by a private landlord? How on earth is that logical? All 35 years of rent control has done is create tremendous distortions in the SF rental market. Tremendous distortions and tremendous opportunities for clingy tenants and savvy landlords. And by savvy I don’t even mean evicting; just carefully choosing tenants that don’t become lifers in your property. This is the game you want to play?

  9. Hey don’t blame us landlords. We don’t create the market, we just supply it. Blame the techies for wanting to live in the mission! According to your logic, because poorer brown people are already here, and techies are (mostly) rich and white, they should not be moving here. And conveniently, when whites chose to leave urban areas, they are of course racists. How about the middle class Latinos that high tailed it out of the (presumably then) shitty mission in the 80’s for safer Bay Area suburbs? Both extended Latino families on either side of me did exactly that. Now, of course, they think daddy-grandpa-o made a good move buying their mission home 30 years ago :). And I agree. (Hint: not all Latinos in the mish are poor. Some made investments that are paying off. How about that?)

    Self white hate much?

  10. The high prices for rentals in SF aren’t driven by greed anymore than prices in other markets. If you want to buy or rent real estate in SF, you have to participate in the market as it exists. The city government cannot control the market one way or another – the drug war, for example, for all the billions spent has had a negligent effect on drug supply and corresponding prices.

    SF a great city and lots of people want to live here and lots of other people don’t want anyone to build anything new so you get supply constraints combined with higher demand than usual. Government intervention may slow the rate of increase, but it won’t stop it.

  11. I never EVER said that other people are greedy for moving into a neighborhood. I have been consistent about directing my criticisms to landlords, politicians, developers and those who lack empathy.

    If you cannot feel any empathy at all for those being priced-out of the only community they have ever known, you haven’t learned a thing from your wife’s family history.

  12. That’s rich playing the “personal” card when you tell someone else they are being “typical(ly) hypocritical” and “disparaging” 3 posts down. You actually rail against “greed driven forced diaspora” (again 3 posts down) which includes the people who are buying the property in this market (unless you are using diaspora incorrectly).

    If you can’t figure out what’s wrong with living in two great cities but having the gall to tell other people they are greedy for moving into a neighborhood they can afford, well that’s your problem.

  13. “how does building some market rate condos “force” anyone to leave?” The stoopid is strong with this one…

  14. Those aren’t new units, those are permits. Permits are not completions, but they do show the trend.

    In the city, the last Planning report showed around 20,000 new units from 2007 to 2014Q3. That’s enough for 45,000 people, give or take. From 2007 to 2013, the city added 72,000 population, so the supply imbalance at Q3 was probably around 35,000 people’s worth.

    Evictions citywide per the Rent Board had been flat at around 0.35% a year. In FY13 and FY14, they jumped to around 0.5%.

    When you underbuild for a sustained period, evictions go up.

    You can do the same exercise for the 2002-2006 period, with the same result: we overbuilt, and the eviction rate dropped.

  15. Can you show data to support your assertion that “the correlation between building and evictions has a negative sign?” Your graph simply shows a lag from when housing is authorized to an increased population, which one would expect.

  16. Gary, how does building some market rate condos “force” anyone to leave? They are generally built on open plots.

    While the number of no-fault evictions is well under 1% a year. Trivial compared with at-fault evictions and voluntary moves.

    Whites left neighborhoods when they deteriorated due to an influx of poorer people. There was no plot or conspiracy involved. In fact at the time the city tried to discourage white flight but people put their safety and their kids’ education first.

    Anyway, race card playing is rarely an effective debating strategy

  17. How does my profile make me hypocritical? It seems like you are making this personal, which is against the rules.

    And I don’t rail against ‘rich techies.’ I rail against greedy landlords, corrupt politicians, developers and people who have no empathy at all.

  18. Your “forced eviction” language is ridiculous. Who is doing the “forcing”? Your kin seems to suggest rich techies. Let me give you a clue. A lot of us would wish to live in other neighborhoods as well.

    Would you also suggest that I’m “forced” to live in the Mission since I couldn’t afford to buy a place in Noe Valley, Potrero Hill, Glen Park or Bernal Heights. Why should I be “forced” to live in the Outer Mission or Excelsior just because people like you object to me living in the Mission.

    You know what’s really hypocritical? Talking about excluding people from living in the Mission when your profile indicates you live in Barcelona and San Francisco.

  19. Wait. Are you meaning to tell us that when housing is more abundant there is less pressure to evict? Never would have guessed.

  20. It’s not racism that compels people to leave when the hood gets more dangerous, it’s self preservation.

  21. Let me fix that for you: “RACIST whites left urban areas when blacks and Hispanics started moving in, with the result that, DUE TO INSTITUTIONAL RACISM THAT HAD CITY LEADERS LOWERING EXPENDITURES IN THESE NO-LONGER WHITE COMMUNITIES (FOR EXAMPLE CUTTING POLICE PATROLS AND LETTING SCHOOLS DECAY), crime and blight went up, and schools quality went down.

    What is happening now isn’t migration. It is the forced eviction of people and communities based upon economic status.

  22. Whites left urban areas when blacks and Hispanics started moving in, with the result that crime and blight went up, and schools quality went down.

    Migrations happen for all types of reasons and always have. There is no “perfect” racial mix that we have to preserve forever.

  23. One other issue: Many times, people have compared the eviction of entire groups of people from neighborhoods to earlier times when neighborhoods experienced profound cultural shifts due to ‘white flight’ – people CHOOSING to leave an area, sometimes due to their own racism. And that comparison, often used as a justification for what is happening right now in the Mission, is ridiculous and amoral.

  24. We are limiting subsidized units via “contributions” to politicians and policy makers by developers.

  25. Gary, Tim played a race card and so should expect a slapdown. He specifically is saying that 94110 should not have more white people, even though he is a white person who lives in 94110.

    The idea that there are ideal racial quotas that we should aim for is ridiculous. How was it OK for whites to leave the Mission but not for whites to return? Why are we even discussing race here if not tot ry and inflame?

    As for the number of affordable units being built, it’s simple. We are building all the subsidized units that there is the money to build. Subsidies are expensive.

  26. Tim, the correlation between building and evictions has a negative sign. What we’re seeing now is the fallout from undersupply:
    Anyone who doesn’t like evictions, displacement, and price hikes for both residential and commercial property should support development, not oppose it.

    Richer people are moving into historically less desirable areas like the Mission because there is no new housing in Palo Alto or Presidio Heights. Look:

    10,000 units in Candlestick, 8,000 on Treasure Island, 6,000 in ParkMerced, 4,000 in Showplace Square.. and 1,200 in the Mission.

    What’s happening in the Mission is not noble resistance by a community under assault, it is ‘well-organized homeowner groups with strong social capital.. able to dramatically decrease density as a means of controlling population..’

    Look again at the neighborhoods with all the units in the pipeline. What do they have in common? They lack political heft. Planning by least resistance seems a bad idea.

    There are real, difficult questions we can ask about planning for growth. Let’s ask them, instead of engaging in parochial, post hoc thinking.

  27. Typical hypocrisy: You are offended by ‘community is under assault’ and then you disparage the neighborhood by claiming it is ‘third world’ ?

    And the world is becoming less concerned about race/ethnicity and, rightfully, very concerned that low and middle-income people are “under assault” by the wealthy, and the gentrification (read: greed-driven forced diaspora) Mission exemplifies this assault.

    Support unfettered capitalism at your own risk.

  28. I take offense with the language that the “community is under assault.” I always thought SF was an inclusionary society that welcomed new people. This particular neighborhood (the Mission) seems to be ground zero for race- and income-based NIMBYism.

    I hate to think of the national/world press we’d get if this was a white-majority neighborhood (newsflash: it almost is!) and it resisted as much as Campos and Calle24 and others to the inevitable change of neighborhood color.

    The prejudice in the Mission is appalling.

    PS – if the techies take over, may they figure out a way to bring this neighborhood and city out of the third world.

  29. We’ve waited long enough for progressives to ‘figure it out.’ Time for the adults to take charge.

  30. I took a deep breath when Campos made several promises to assist Virginia Ramos, the Tamale Lady, find a storefront to operate her business. Not sure if she’s still around and providing grub, but I do know that Nate Allbee, Campos’ right-hand, made a promise last _year_ that she would have a place opened on 16th by the end of the spring. Didn’t happen.

    It’s been four long years since Campos promised a 24 bed shelter for homeless queer youths would open on South Van Ness: . Didn’t happen and if there’s a projected opening date, he has not told us. What about updates on this shelter? Puhleeze. Campos and his three paid staffers are terrible about issuing updates on _any_ project and their last newsletter was in Oct 2013.

    How about his plan (was there ever something on paper from him?) to rename SFO for Harvey Milk that went nowhere.

    So now we have Redmond again serving as Campos’ megaphone and what is the message: wait, wait, wait.

    Campos is never ready for prime time. It’s been about five weeks since he floated the idea of a moratorium on market rate housing in the Mission. At last week’s BOS meeting on Tuesday he moaned about folks complaining about his idea when he hadn’t even presented the draft language yet.

    Earth to David Campos! No need to wait, wait, wait for you to deliver on a vague promise of a something or other about moratorium.

    I attended the Roberto Hernandez organized community meeting tonight at Galeria de la Raza tonight on 24th Street. Quite a robust number of folks spoke glowingly of the moratorium, yet no one said a word about when we’ll see the text of whatever Campos may introduce at the BOS.

    How much more of a darn lack of affordable housing crisis, eviction epidemic, outta control condo development, and techie takeover of what’s left of the Latino and bohemian Mission has to happen before this lazy politician presents _any_ plan to deal with some part of this madness?

    One of the biggest obstacles to solving the mounting daily problems of the Mission is Campos and the enablers like Redmond who instead of kicking his butt, kiss it.

    Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure, let’s wait for another fire and another death and another eviction and another month and another year and another round of community meetings and other calls from Redmond to wait. We have all the time in the world and the 1% with money carving up the City are just sitting on their hands.

    Waiting for Campos is an option that equals failure.

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