Saturday, March 3, 2018

San Francisco's Inclusionary Housing Program

Most cities have similar programs but look for it to start creeping into even smaller cities and towns quickly as affordable and homeless housing needs go unfulfilled.

Since 2002, housing developers in San Francisco have been required by law to provide affordable housing in new buildings, either by offering a certain percentage of below-market-rate apartments–or by paying a fee into the city’s inclusionary housing program.

“The inclusionary housing program definitely makes a big difference,” San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development Director Kate Hartley said.

Based on the law, developers of all new housing projects with 10 units or more are required to either one, make 19 percent of the development affordable housing; two, build an equal amount of affordable units at an off-site location; or three, pay an in lieu fee.

It is a fee that the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development collects and then invests in affordable housing.

“We have had an inclusionary program since 2002,” Hartley said.

And in the past decade, Hartley says San Francisco has collected about $198 million in inclusionary housing fees.

That comes out to about $20 million a year.

When leveraged with low-income housing federal tax credits, state and other local funding, Hartley says the inclusionary fees make a big difference.

“It is actually being spent,” Hartley said. “We have built over the last 10 years, using inclusionary fees, about 2,000 units. And we have many more…units, hundreds of units, in the pipeline right now.”

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