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Habitat For Humanity builds Oceanview homes

Thank you, Jimmy Carter

Courtesy of Habitat For Humanity, Paige Green

Habitat For Humanity, the 40-year-old international housing nonprofit championed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, finished construction on 28 townhouses in Oceanview. The keys to 11 of them will be given away Saturday.

Habitat Terrace is a collection of boxy, colorful, two- and three-bedroom homes on Capitol Avenue in San Francisco, funded by a 182-unit market-rate project near Parkmerced.

Eleven of the homes go to families making only 60 percent of the city’s median income (about $58,150/year for a family of three), while the Mayor’s Office lotteries off the others for families making up to 90 percent.

“Most other affordable developers concentrate on rentals,” says Maureen Sedonaen, CEO of Habitat Greater San Francisco. “Owning is a chance to create wealth and transfer it across generations.”

Her own parents bought their home under the GI Bill, Sedonaen adds, and the benefits of owning live on after the original owners. Habitat inhabitants have a zero percent mortgage, with monthly payments adjusted to household income.

Rendering of people walking besides the multi-colored, plank-fronted homes at Habitat Terrace. Courtesy Habitat For Humanity

The Oceanview/Ingleside area is home to some of the most rent-burdened San Franciscans—the Mayor’s Office estimated in 2016 that over a third of neighbors there pay more than 50 percent of their income to rent—but sees very little BMR construction.

It was as long and tricky a development as any in the city. The site fell victim to arson in 2014, which destroyed one unit and damaged two.

The Ingleside-Excelsior Light calls the Habitat project “low-profile,” noting that it didn’t invoke nearly as much attention or contention as most new construction in San Francisco does. However, Habitat spokesperson Mandy Shold tells Curbed SF they have the same problems with neighbors as other developers.

“People say, ‘We love Habitat For Humanity,’ but don’t come here,” says Shold.

Habitat Terrace’s partnership with the Mayor’s Office on this development was “an experiment,” according to Sedonaean. “We’d love to have an official partnership with the city” like some Habitat affiliates do, she says.

Habitat for Humanity has completed approximately 235 homes since 1990, most of them in the Bayview. The organization’s next San Francisco project is part of the renovation of the Hunters View public housing project.