Press Release

Mayor London Breed introduces charter amendment to build affordable and teacher housing projects faster

The Charter Amendment would make affordable and teacher housing as-of-right, and announces an initiative ordinance to rezone all publicly-owned parcels in San Francisco to allow for 100% affordable housing and teacher housing.

Mayor London N. Breed today announced she has introduced a Charter Amendment to make 100 percent affordable and teacher housing subject to as-of-right approval in San Francisco. She first announced this idea in her State of the City Address in January. The Charter Amendment is co-sponsored by Supervisors Vallie Brown and Ahsha Safaí.

This measure is a continuation of Mayor Breed’s commitment to addressing the housing crisis and increasing affordability for teachers and low- and middle-income residents. 

“We are in the middle of a housing crisis that is pushing out our teachers, our service workers, and countless other residents who are to integral to San Francisco. We cannot afford to let our broken system for creating new housing continue, which is why I am introducing these important reforms,” said Mayor Breed. “Affordable housing must be as-of-right because housing affordability is a right.”

The Charter Amendment introduced by Mayor Breed would ensure that any project proposed in San Francisco consisting of 100 percent affordable housing or teacher housing would enjoy a streamlined review process, so long as the project complies with existing zoning and height limitations. The streamlined review, known as “as-of-right” approval, would exempt qualifying housing projects from discretionary review and appeals. This approval would apply to projects with 100 percent affordable deed-restricted residential units for households with an income of up to 140 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), and projects with two-thirds of residential units deed-restricted to occupancy by at least one employee of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) or City College District.

Currently, 100 percent affordable housing projects capped at 80 percent of AMI receive as-of-right approval under State law as a result of Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 35. Mayor Breed’s Charter Amendment would expand the universe of projects to include 100 percent affordable projects capped at 140 percent of AMI, as well as teacher housing. The intention is to create more affordable housing for teachers, retail employees, non-profit workers, and others who make too much to qualify for the lower-income affordable housing but not enough to afford market-rate housing.

The Charter Amendment requires six votes from members of the Board of Supervisors to be placed on the ballot. 

“If teachers leave SFUSD after teaching just a year or two, if Muni operators are sleeping in their cars because they can’t afford to live here, that hurts all of us,” said Supervisor Vallie Brown, “San Franciscans get that and they’ve been clear about wanting more affordable housing at all levels, including for the middle class. That’s why I'm proud to be a co-sponsor, because that's what this Charter Amendment is all about, creating more housing for working San Franciscans by making it faster and less expensive to build affordable housing.”

“Our affordable housing crisis is real and warrants out-of-the-box ideas. The proposal put forward to streamline the review of 100 percent affordable and teacher housing is exactly what we need if we are serious about changing course and making a dent in our housing shortage,” said Supervisor Ahsha Safaí. “This will jumpstart affordable housing production and allow for better use of our affordable housing funds. I am happy to be a co-sponsor and commend Mayor Breed for her leadership.”

“A recent housing survey discovered that there is a significant need for affordable housing for our hard-working faculty and staff at City College of San Francisco,” said Alex Randolph, President of the City College Board of Trustees. “This Charter Amendment is an important step towards offering an affordable place to live for our workforce and will allow City College to continue to recruit and retain the best faculty and staff.”

“Being able to afford a place to live here in San Francisco is one of the most challenging issues for our District employees,” said Mark Sanchez, Vice President of the SFUSD Board of Education. “Keeping teachers in San Francisco and recruiting new teachers is becoming increasingly difficult, and our students are suffering as a result.  I applaud efforts to tackle housing affordability for our educators, and I would like to thank the Mayor for her leadership.”

“TNDC provides safe, well designed affordable housing to low-income San Franciscans. To speed up getting affordable housing built, we support efforts to expedite the entitlements and reduce the uncertainty that comes with a drawn out permit-review process,” said Don Falk, CEO, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation. “This proposed Charter Amendment represents a way for the City to partner with nonprofit housing developers to deliver affordable housing more quickly and meet the pressing needs of San Francisco residents.”

“Affordable housing projects that follow the rules and meet the requirements of the planning code should not be delayed by San Francisco’s complicated approval process,” said Doug Shoemaker, President, Mercy Housing California. “We need to do all we can to accelerate the production of affordable housing if we want San Francisco to remain a city for all.”

“During this unprecedented time in which each and every San Franciscan agrees that we are experiencing an affordable housing crisis, it is time for every neighborhood, and its leadership, to step up and do its part,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing.

“Many of our schools in the southeast portion of our city continue to face high achievement gaps. A key way to close these gaps is by ensuring that these schools have quality, seasoned teachers, and we can do that by addressing one of the primary reasons teachers leave: the cost of housing in San Francisco. Promoting more affordable housing for our educators is long overdue and we support efforts to keep our best teachers here in San Francisco,” said Virginia P. Marshall, President of San Francisco Alliance of Black School Educators.

“Many of our schools in my neighborhood, the Southeast sector of the City, continue to face high achievement gaps. One solution to address this is hiring high quality, seasoned teachers,” said Diane Gray, Founder of Friends of Bayview Public Schools. “The high cost of housing has turned away so many teachers and their families. We must address this issue today!  Promoting more affordable housing for our educators is long overdue. The Affordable Housing Charter amendment we will move our city in the right direction in keeping our best teachers here in San Francisco.”

In order to increase the number of parcels where affordable and teacher housing can be built, Mayor Breed also announced plans to place a separate initiative ordinance on the ballot that would rezone all public parcels, other than parks, to allow affordable housing as-of-right. This ordinance, together with the Charter Amendment, would help teacher housing projects like the one proposed at the Francis Scott Key Annex site, which is undergoing an 18-24 month rezoning and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review, which would no longer be required under this legislation.