Mayor London N. Breed, Supervisor Gordon Mar, and community leaders today celebrated the acquisition and preservation of 3544 Taraval Street, a building with six two-bedroom homes in the Outer Sunset neighborhood. It is the first Small Sites Program (SSP) acquisition in District 4, and one of only three SSP acquisitions on the Westside of San Francisco.
“As we work to build more affordable housing, we need to also preserve the affordable housing we already have,” said Mayor Breed. “Thanks to our Small Sites Program and the acquisition of 3544 Taraval, six long-time Outer Sunset families will be able to stay in their neighborhood—without worrying about rising rent.”
The apartments at 3544 Taraval St. currently serve low- to moderate-income households with an average income of 62% of Area Median Income. Supervisor Mar identified the site and engaged Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), which moved expeditiously to acquire the property this month and preserve it as permanently affordable housing. The acquisition was financed with a $2.48 million loan provided by the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund (SFHAF). The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) expects to provide MEDA with permanent financing for the building in September 2020 following the completion of critical repairs and upgrades.
“The Sunset’s very first Small Sites property at 3544 Taraval Street is a significant turning point for a district with the lowest investment of new affordable housing built and acquired,” said Supervisor Gordon Mar. “As we work on new construction projects like the Francis Scott Key educator housing, we also need to preserve and protect existing affordable housing and longtime residents—our senior, immigrant, and working class neighbors—so they keep the Sunset a place where complete communities can thrive.”
The rehabilitation plan includes approximately $400,000 in crucial repairs to the building, including seismic strengthening, installation of a building-wide fire alarm system, exterior renovations, and in-unit upgrades, including water heater replacements, updating electrical systems and refurbishing bathrooms and kitchens.
The Small Sites Program was established in 2014 and is MOHCD’s main program for acquiring and preserving at-risk rental housing with three to 25 units. The program was created to establish long-term affordable housing in smaller properties throughout San Francisco that are particularly vulnerable to market pressure that results in property sales, increased evictions and rising tenant rents. In the face of the increasing pressure, SSP helps San Franciscans avoid displacement or eviction by providing loans to nonprofit organizations to successfully remove these sites from the market and restrict them as permanently affordable housing.
“Preventing displacement and preserving affordability is critical to stabilizing this community. We could not be more thrilled to acquire our first Small Sites property here in District 4,” said Jonah Lee, Director of Portfolio Management and Preservation for MOHCD. “Thank you to the SFHAF and MEDA for your partnership, which is helping scale our acquisition programs to reach other communities in need. We look forward to continuing to preserve affordable homes throughout San Francisco.”
“Preservation is an effective tool to stem the tide of displacement, which relies on the availability of quick, flexible capital,” said Rebecca Foster, CEO of the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund. “We were thrilled to provide the bridge funding necessary to make the first preservation deal in District 4 a reality. Our work is made possible by our generous funders, and we are grateful to the Bettye Poetz Ferguson Foundation for providing critical funding for 3544 Taraval.”
The San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund innovates smart approaches that put public, private, and philanthropic money to work to expand the supply of affordable housing in San Francisco. SFHAF was incubated in the Mayor’s Office to complement the public sector’s funding mechanisms. The fund was kick-started with investments from the City, Citi Community Development, Dignity Health, and The San Francisco Foundation. In less than three years of operation, SFHAF has raised and deployed over $100 million to fund the preservation and construction of 433 permanently affordable units in San Francisco.
“This is MEDA’s 25th Small Sites Program acquisition overall—and our first in San Francisco District 4,” says MEDA Associate Director of Community Real Estate Johnny Oliver. “MEDA was honored to be part of this collaborative effort of the resilient residents of 3544 Taraval St., Supervisor Mar, MOHCD and the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund to preserve affordable housing for these tenants who would otherwise be at risk of displacement.”
“As retired seniors with limited income here for 28 years, we couldn’t sleep since this building went up for sale, worried a developer would evict us older tenants,” said Ming Yong Lee 李民勇. “It is very important San Francisco supports the elderly and people on fixed incomes. We are thankful for Supervisor Mar and Mayor Breed for choosing our building so we can continuing living in the Sunset, where it is safe, where we can shop at Chinese businesses, and where there are places to walk and senior services nearby.”
Over $83 million of City funds have been committed for acquisition and preservation programs. Through the City’s acquisition programs, 34 buildings consisting of 278 units have been acquired, and another 12 buildings with 110 total units are in the pipeline. The Small Sites Program has stabilized over 500 San Francisco residents to date.