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San Francisco’s affordable housing bond may grow by $200 million

Mayor and Board of Supervisors president push for bigger bond to go before voters

Construction cranes on top of San Francisco rooftops at night.
Construction cranes above San Francisco rooftops at night.
Photo by Lynn Yeh

A big-ticket housing bond that San Francisco voters may consider in November’s election could be getting even bigger. Mayor London Breed and Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee want to add $200 million to it, raising the potential yield to half a billion dollars.

Breed proposed the original $300 million bond idea in January, declaring, “We need to build more housing in San Francisco, especially badly needed affordable housing to help keep our communities stable.”

On Monday, Breed and Yee sent a joint letter to City Administrator Naomi Kelly, who chairs the Capital Planning Committee, requesting that she bulk up the proposal.

The pair repeated Breed’s previous comments about the need for more housing (almost verbatim), adding:

Our city’s affordable housing needs exceed the $300 million currently allocated in the draft capital plan for an affordable housing bond.

The City Controller recently updated property tax projections for the city, which results I additional bonding capacity of $200 million available for programming through the city’s capital planning process.

With this additional capacity we can both address the critical need for more affordable housing and maintain our commitment to voters to maintain property tax levels.

The Capital Plan is a budgeting document published every two years that “lays out infrastructure investments over the next decade.” Kelly oversees the body that produces the plan.

Photo by Sheila Fitzgerald

The Board of Supervisors will have to pass the bond—either the smaller or larger version—before it goes to voters, who will consider it on the same ballot where Breed will again run for mayor, this time for a full term.

In order to pass, the bond needs a two-thirds majority of the vote.

Neither Yee nor Breed mention precisely how many homes they hope to get out of the half billion dollar deal.

But Monday’s letter does note that a $310 million bond in 2015 “is financing the creation of 1,392 new homes,” ranging from “rebuilding over 500 units of dilapidated public housing” to “building or preserving over 600 affordable housing units for low-income families.”

The aforementioned bond, Proposition A, passed with 74.26 percent of the vote, more than 148,500 individual votes.