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The latest news and announcements from Mayor Lee

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Mayor Lee Announces First Investment in Affordable Housing & Down Payment Assistance Funding From Housing Trust Fund
Investment Result of Voter-Approved Housing Trust Fund, Proposition C
Posted Date: 11/30/2012
Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced the first funding commitments for affordable housing and down payment assistance funded through the Housing Trust Fund, passed by San Francisco voters in November. The Housing Trust Fund provides a permanent source of revenue to fund the creation of affordable housing for low and middle income households for the next 30 years.

“A growing and vibrant economy requires a diverse supply of new housing,” said Mayor Lee. “San Francisco voters know that creating a permanent source of revenue to fund housing production will allow San Francisco to remain a viable place to live and work for people at all levels of the economic spectrum. And, a down payment assistance program will help keep families in our City and support a diverse workforce.”

The first affordable housing project to be considered for funding from the Housing Trust Fund is the long-stalled 55 Laguna Senior Housing project located on the former University of California Berkeley Extension campus in the Hayes Valley neighborhood. The project will request $6.1 million from the Mayor's Office of Housing and is a joint-venture of Mercy Housing California and Openhouse. It will create 110 units of affordable housing for low income seniors. The project has been on hold for eight years due to the downturn in the economy and a lack of local resources.

“We are very excited that the City will consider funding this important project to allow us to move toward start of construction in the fall of next year,” said Mercy Housing California President Douglas Shoemaker. “It’s an honor to be the first affordable housing project funded with revenue from the Housing Trust Fund.”  

This announcement comes on the heels of a number of important affordable housing milestones, including:
•    Soon to be completed Kelly Cullen Community – 172 new SRO units of housing for the formerly homeless in the historic Central YMCA building at 220 Golden Gate Avenue, that will also house a new Integrated Health and Homeless Clinic run by the Department of Public Health;
•    Soon to be completed Veterans Commons at 150 Otis – 76 new SRO units in a historic City-landmarked building that will serve homeless U.S. veterans with support services including case management, mental health counseling, drug dependency, and employment programs will be provided by the City’s Human Services Agency, the Veterans Administration, and Swords to Plowshares; and
•    Bond closing for Candlestick Heights – located in the Bayview, Candlestick Heights, the project will provide 196 units of affordable housing, constructed entirely without City subsidy.

Additionally, Mayor Lee announced an increase to assistance limits under the City’s Downpayment Assistance Loan Program (DALP). DALP provides financial assistance to qualifying first-time homebuyers through deferred payment loans that are repaid to the City. Earlier this year, the maximum amount of the loan was reduced to $70,000 per household due to lack of funding. With the passage of Proposition C, the limits have been returned to their original levels of $100,000 per household.

The Housing Trust Fund begins with a general fund revenue capture in year one of $20 million and increase to $50 million over time. It is estimated that $1.5 billion will be invested in affordable housing production and housing programs over the next 30 years. The Housing Trust Fund will:
•    Develop more than 9,000 units of permanently affordable housing for residents whose average median income (AMI) is 60 percent or below;
•    Create incentives for onsite below market rate housing and make housing more accessible for moderate income families;
•    Invest at least $15 million over the first five years to expand the City’s down payment assistance program (DALP) which provides interest-free loans to moderate income homebuyers who are looking to purchase their first home in San Francisco. DALP will also include a new program to assist the City’s first responders in the purchase of a home in San Francisco;
•    Create a Housing Stabilization Program to help distressed low and moderate income residents remain in their homes; and
•    Create a Complete Neighborhoods Infrastructure Grant program to fund public realm improvements such as “pocket” parks and child care facilities for growing neighborhoods.

The Housing Trust Fund will capture revenue from former Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Tax Increment, a small portion of Hotel Tax that has been appropriated yearly for affordable housing, plus an additional $13 million in new General Fund revenue from an increase in business license fees. The consensus business tax reform measure, Proposition E, which also passed on the November ballot, will generate $28.5 million in the first year – $13 million of which will go to fund affordable and workforce housing.