A new GOP plan to help build more affordable housing in San Francisco has a major obstacle — the city’s own housing crisis.
San Jose’s affordability crisis is exacerbated by a decades-long pattern of underinvestment in housing.
While housing costs have fallen sharply in the city over the past decade, they’ve risen even more sharply in recent years as the city has struggled with its ballooning budget deficit.
The number of people living in San Joaquin County has skyrocketed to about 2 million, the third-highest number in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The county’s median income, at $48,000, is higher than the national average, but less than half of its neighbors.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said he is “concerned about the housing affordability crisis that is plaguing our community.”
He cited a report from the nonprofit Center for American Progress, which estimated that San Francisco’s housing costs are now nearly twice the national median income.
The new GOP policy would help build apartments in the Mission district and the Castro, two areas where low-income renters are concentrated.
The new development would be built on the same site as a high-rise hotel, which has been vacant for years, according a city spokesman.
It would be a “housing-related project” to be built in Mission District, the spokesman said.
It would not be the first high-end development in San Mateo County.
Last year, a high rise tower was proposed in downtown Santa Clara for $250 million, and the city spent $3 million on the project.
The building was later pulled from the market after it was deemed to be unsafe.
Meanwhile, a new housing project is already under construction in San Rafael, a San Francisco neighborhood that has a high concentration of low- and moderate-income families.
A building near Mission and Telegraph streets was originally slated for construction in 2020, but was delayed by a lawsuit over a lack of permits.
The project would include 1,200 units and be designed by San Francisco-based architecture firm MOMA Architects, which is the developer of the landmark Alamo Square development.
The Republican plan also would require that all new construction be affordable.
A new city-approved affordable housing measure requires that developers of new buildings build at least 30 percent affordable housing, and that the affordable units be shared by at least one owner.
The affordable housing issue has come under renewed scrutiny as housing prices have risen and many of the city and county’s poor residents have been priced out of the market.
In 2015, the city of San Jose passed a plan to build an affordable housing complex in the middle of Mission District.
The plan would have connected to the Mission BART station, but San Jose officials decided to move the project to the site of a former police station in favor of a commercial development.
The city has since reversed course, and San Jose residents and businesses have continued to complain about the impact the station has had on their neighborhood.
San José Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he has been working with the developer and the developers to ensure that affordable housing is a priority.
“I have asked them to put forward a plan that addresses the affordability issues,” Faulconers spokesman Kevin McCallum said.
“The plan is based on the assumption that we can afford to live in a high quality housing development that will create good jobs, that will give us the opportunity to raise our income,” he said.
But it’s not clear whether the developers will agree to the city-backed plan.
The developers say they are working with Faulconr and city officials to determine what additional incentives they need to support the project, McCallums said.
The developer says the plan would create about 1,400 new housing units in the area and more than double the current population in the region, but the city says the new units will be used by low- to moderate-wage workers.
A group of Mission residents are trying to stop the project in court, arguing that the development would damage their neighborhood and force them to move out of their homes.
The lawsuit, filed last year, seeks a permanent injunction against the development.
“We are not the developers of this project, but we are its workers, whose livelihoods are threatened by this project,” the plaintiffs wrote in their lawsuit.
“We have no way of knowing if these workers are not going to be able to find jobs and continue their lives.”
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