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Planning Commission endorses plan for 2,400 affordable homes in the Mission

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It’s all part of an effort to keep Mission residents in homes and accelerate affordable housing

A mural in Clarion Alley that declares “Tax The Rich.” Photo by Victor Grigas

On Thursday, the Planning Commission unanimously endorsed the Mission Action Plan 2020, a proposal that lays out City Hall’s big bid to preserve the culture of the Mission in the face of merciless economic forces squeezing out longtime residents.

Although it’s hardly the only neighborhood hit by evictions and rising rents, the Mission has become San Francisco’s poster child for gentrification, as the MAP plan itself explains:

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The Mission experienced the first strong wave of displacement during the first dot-com boom in the late 1990s. Then, from 2012 to early 2015—as the Bay Area economy bounced back—the accelerated demand for transit accessible housing and small business spaces forced out many long-time Mission residents and businesses, further tearing at the neighborhood fabric.

Activists, advocacy organizations, and coalitions coalesced to protest, rally, and march to advocate on behalf of residents and businesses being displaced.

MAP stops short of suggesting a causal link between market-rate development and displacement.

But the plan—forged over two years of meetings between the Planning Department, the Mayor’s Office, and neighborhood groups—acknowledges that lopsided development has created an influx of market-rate homes that most residents can’t afford, while BMR housing dawdles.

Now planning commissioners have put their stamp on a game plan to help stall or even reverse the trend over the next three years.

Most notably, MAP calls for the following:

2,400 permanent, new affordable housing units by 2020. This is the community’s calculation of the number of units needed to replace the low to moderate income population lost in the neighborhood in recent years and to stabilize those households in the Mission.

Fewer than 900 such homes were in various stages of development in January.

Commissioners seemed particularly impressed by how much work the city did with Mission residents putting the MAP together. “Hardly any piece of planning has as deep a root in the community as this,” said Commissioner Kathrin Moore shortly before casting her vote.

The plan will move on to the Board of Supervisors next. Nobody at District Nine supervisor Hillary Ronen’s office was immediately available for comment.

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Note that this gentrification-theme mural no longer exists.
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