2020 Ballot Measure Details
We were going to run a signature gathering campaign to place the SF Community Housing Act on the November 2020 ballot. Unfortunately, COVID-19 made it impossible for us to gather signatures. Many of our members instead helped pass November 2020 Props I and K, to authorize Municipal Housing for All and fund a pilot program, building up to the promise of the SF Community Housing Act.
This page preserves the legislative details of our 2020 ballot measure for reference. Some of the details here may change over time as we continue to advocate and organize. If you'd like to make any suggestions, please email us! We can be reached at sfcommunityhousingact [at] gmail.
Your maximum monthly rent would be 25% of your household's monthly gross income. Buildings can set a bare minimum rent but it can't exceed around $93/month (which comes from 25% of gross income for a 6 hr/week minimum-wage single earner). This minimum rent will include community input.
Here are some example cases of different households. Even at the high end, rents are below market rate, showing just how extreme our housing crisis is.
Green New Deal For Public Housing
Housing construction and commuting are two major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area. This measure will directly address both by renovating existing units to meet environmental standards, removing all gas lines, powering all units with CleanPowerSF, and providing nearby frequent public transit access for residents. The construction, property management, asset management, and routine maintenance jobs will be unionized, paying a living wage with benefits and pensions.
We're charging a small tax on large businesses (making over $25 million per year) in San Francisco to raise over $410 million each year. The tax will be on revenue over $25 million per year, averages 0.6% of revenue depending on the business category, and is as low as 0% for categories like civic services. Large businesses should pay their fair share since they've helped fuel the displacement crisis, and this will be a huge boost for our affordable housing and transit needs!
Here is how the funding is used:
All units will be within 0.4 miles of either: a BART station; a Caltrain station; a Muni Light Rail station; a Bus Rapid Transit station; or any other form of public transit that runs every 10 minutes or less during peak commute hours. If the buses near a municipal housing building don't come every 10 minutes, we'll pay around $20 million per year to add more drivers, or develop improved public transit, so that this requirement is met within a year of building acquisition/construction.
Which parts of San Francisco are within 0.4 miles of this transit? A lot, as the map below shows! But we absolutely need to fill in the gaps and make sure underserved communities in areas like Bayview / Hunters Point and Portola receive better public transit. That's why we raise money for more Muni drivers.
The Housing Mandate
We will provide money for the City to acquire or construct 30,000 units of municipal housing at a rate of at least 1500 units every three years.
Some units will be in renovated old buildings, some will be part of new construction, and some will come from purchases of vacant buildings. Additional funds or loans from other sources (e.g. bonds or a public bank) can help us both meet and exceed this minimum goal.
All buildings will be within 0.4 miles of these amenities: affordable childcare facilities and community meeting rooms for everyone to use. Childcare facilities will either be onsite (for new construction) or in proximity (for acquired buildings).
You Probably Qualify
Anyone who lives or works in San Francisco, or holds a Certificate of Preference from the Redevelopment Agency, can apply for a vacant unit, as long as you pledge to vacate or sell any second home you own anywhere or any unit you rent in SF after moving in. However, if a building is in a low-income area, the income distribution may be focused more on serving low-income populations to serve the affordability needs of the neighborhood.
The City would also be able to acquire almost any residential property that comes up for sale. If you're currently renting, you could organize with fellow tenants for the City to buy your property off the market and lower your rent (and future tenants' rent)! If the City buys your property, you will be guaranteed a right to remain in your unit and a right of return.
In most areas, the lottery for new applicants will be designed to create an equal building-level distribution of tenants earning between 0-30% of AMI (Area Median Income), 30-50% of AMI, 50-80% of AMI, 80-120% of AMI, and over 120% of AMI. This won't affect existing tenants from before a building is acquired.
In low-income areas (see map below), there will be more of a focus on the 0-30% of AMI ("extremely low income") and 30-50% of AMI ("very low income") brackets in buildings. The exact distribution will depend on the input of low-income tenants and tenant advocacy organizations, which means real community self-determination is built in!
Default Income Distribution
In the following low-income neighborhoods, if the community advocates for it, there will be more of a focus on extremely-low and very-low income housing. This map is based on the latest available income data. The Board of Supervisors can improve on this map and its definition. Note: Treasure Island is also a low-income neighborhood but is omitted for space reasons.
For new applicants, this is based on family size, not income. Single individuals qualify for a studio, two individuals qualify for at least a 1BR, three or four individuals qualify for at least a 2BR, and households with five or more individuals qualify for at least a 3BR. You'll be assisted in finding a larger or smaller unit as the size of your household grows or shrinks for any reason.
Each building can join or form a Community Council (tenant association) made of fellow SFCHA tenants, elected by SFCHA tenants. Tenants can use these associations to advocate for improvements, organize community-building events, meet with their Supervisor, and even collectively withhold payment of rent (building on existing state law) if conditions are unsatisfactory. Day-to-day maintenance and management will be performed by unionized employees of the Mayor's Office of Housing, and tenants will be recruited for some of these roles as well.
To ensure these Community Councils actually form, function well, and advocate for tenants' rights, we also fund independent tenant advocacy organizations to assist in organizing tenants.