SAN FRANCISCO—The city has rolled out a new program that offersassistance in the acquisition of small multifamilyproperties occupied by low- to moderate-incomefamilies.

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The Small Sites Program was unveiled last weekby the office of Mayor Ed Lee. It offers fundingrehab of rental buildings of 5-25 units. Thisfunding is designed to help stabilize buildings that are occupiedby tenants throughout San Francisco that are particularlysusceptible to evictions and rising rents. An initial $3million is being made available with additional fundingexpected to be released during the program's first year.
“Real estate speculation and rising rents have contributed todisplacement of San Franciscans across our City,” said Mayor Lee.“We need to stabilize our neighborhoods that are vulnerable togentrification and expand the safety net for San Franciscans atrisk of eviction and displacement. This program is a part of ourcomprehensive plan to protect and stabilize our housing stock. Withthe purchase of already occupied units, we can preserve theiraffordability over the long-term. The Small Sites Program offers away to create certainty for our longtime San Francisco families andrent-controlled households, ensuring they have a safe, affordableplace to live well into the future.”
The Mayor's Office of Housing and CommunityDevelopment (MOHCD) issued a Notice of FundingAvailability (NOFA) for acquisition and rehabilitationfinancing under the Small Sites Program. Properties supported bythis revenue must be 100% rental residentialbuildings located in the city. Buildings at immediate risk forEllis Act eviction or in the process of an EllisAct eviction will be given priority.
The focus of the program is properties whose existing tenants arelow-income, with an average building Area Median Income(AMI) of 80%. This is intended to be azero-displacement program, and no residents,regardless of income, will be displaced due to the building'sparticipation in the Small Sites Program. Small Sites Programbuildings will carry long-term affordability restrictions,increasing the City's supply of affordable housing and ensuringthat rental units are affordable for future generations of SanFrancisco residents.
The Small Sites Program is funded through a combination ofHousing Trust Fund revenues and affordable housingfees paid by housing developers in San Francisco. MOHCD is requiredto designate 10% of affordable housing fees received to supportacquisition and rehabilitation of properties consisting of lessthan 25 units.
Tenant protection is a cornerstone of Lee's seven point housingplan, his office says. Earlier this year, Lee worked withState Senator Mark Leno on legislation closing aloophole in the Ellis Act that allows speculators to buyrent-controlled buildings in San Francisco and immediately evictinglong-term tenants.

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David Phillips

David Phillips is a Chicago-based freelance writer and consultant with more than 20 years experience in business and community news. He also has extensive reporting experience in the food manufacturing industry for national trade publications.