The Small Sites Program was unveiled last week by the office of Mayor Ed Lee.

SAN FRANCISCO—The city has rolled out a new program that offers assistance in the acquisition of small multifamily properties occupied by low- to moderate-income families.

The Small Sites Program was unveiled last week by the office of Mayor Ed Lee. It offers funding rehab of rental buildings of 5-25 units. This funding is designed to help stabilize buildings that are occupied by tenants throughout San Francisco that are particularly susceptible to evictions and rising rents. An initial $3 million is being made available with additional funding expected to be released during the program’s first year.
“Real estate speculation and rising rents have contributed to displacement of San Franciscans across our City,” said Mayor Lee. “We need to stabilize our neighborhoods that are vulnerable to gentrification and expand the safety net for San Franciscans at risk of eviction and displacement. This program is a part of our comprehensive plan to protect and stabilize our housing stock. With the purchase of already occupied units, we can preserve their affordability over the long-term. The Small Sites Program offers a way to create certainty for our longtime San Francisco families and rent-controlled households, ensuring they have a safe, affordable place to live well into the future.”
The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) issued a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for acquisition and rehabilitation financing under the Small Sites Program. Properties supported by this revenue must be 100% rental residential buildings located in the city. Buildings at immediate risk for Ellis Act eviction or in the process of an Ellis Act eviction will be given priority.
The focus of the program is properties whose existing tenants are low-income, with an average building Area Median Income (AMI) of 80%. This is intended to be a zero-displacement program, and no residents, regardless of income, will be displaced due to the building’s participation in the Small Sites Program.  Small Sites Program buildings will carry long-term affordability restrictions, increasing the City’s supply of affordable housing and ensuring that rental units are affordable for future generations of San Francisco residents.
The Small Sites Program is funded through a combination of Housing Trust Fund revenues and affordable housing fees paid by housing developers in San Francisco. MOHCD is required to designate 10% of affordable housing fees received to support acquisition and rehabilitation of properties consisting of less than 25 units.
Tenant protection is a cornerstone of Lee’s seven point housing plan, his office says. Earlier this year, Lee worked with State Senator Mark Leno on legislation closing a loophole in the Ellis Act that allows speculators to buy rent-controlled buildings in San Francisco and immediately evicting long-term tenants.