San Francisco Preserves Affordable Housing At Risk of Gentrification
In 2014, San Francisco launched a pilot project to save affordable apartment buildings from being converted to high-rent new developments—part of the gentrification and displacement process that often involves mass eviction of existing low-to-moderate-income tenants.
In its pilot stage, Small Sites provided loans that saved at least 13 at-risk buildings. Now housed at a new non-profit, the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund, the program is poised to continue its work into the foreseeable future, beginning with about a dozen more buildings.
"FHAF was conceived collaboratively by affordable and market-rate developers, community groups, residents, mayoral staff in housing and neighborhood development agencies, and other partners," Oscar Perry Abello reports at Next City.
The fund focuses on buildings that are bear all the hallmarks of gentrification: They are or have been under rent control; they house longtime and medium-to-low-income tenants; and they appear likely to be purchased by a developer who might evict or drastically raise the rent on current tenants. Moreover, Abello notes, the program's efforts must have the backing of the residents: "there must be clear evidence that tenants are already organizing or would be willing to organize against new owners who would evict them."