San Francisco's Community Stabilization
Cultural Stabilization

Housing Production and Preservation

Policy and Program Inventory

Photo by Greg Younger (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Community instability is driven in large part by extremely high housing costs and lack of affordable housing in San Francisco, particularly for people with low and moderate incomes.  Given the importance of affordable housing to the stability of our diverse communities, the following sections of the report inventory programs, policies, and investments that have produced and preserved affordable housing.

The Planning Department’s Housing Affordability Strategies (HAS) project, to be released in early 2020, will look at additional policies to improve affordability including production and preservation of more affordable housing and production of housing in general. The HAS will build on the inventory of housing production, preservation, stabilization, and protection policies identified in this report.

The city has an approximately 33,000 affordable housing units (about 8.5 percent of all housing) that are subsidized to be affordable to low- and moderate-income households. The units have been built or acquired using a variety of policies and programs including public investment from federal, state, and local programs as well as inclusionary units required as part of market-rate housing developments. The inventory of affordable housing policies and programs is organized as follows:

Publicly Funded Affordable Housing, Rental Assistance, and Homeless Services

This section looks at the bulk of affordable housing provided through direct government investment and funding.  It also looks at other important public investments in housing affordability including rental assistance programs and services and housing for homeless people and families. Sections covering these programs and policies include:

  • 100% Affordable Housing Production and Preservation. This section includes the following:
    • Funding Affordable Housing
    • Policies to Support 100% Affordable Housing Production
    • Affordable Housing Preservation
    • Public Housing Preservation
  • Housing Choice Voucher Rental Assistance (Section 8)
  • Homeless Services and Supportive Housing

Inclusionary Housing and Leveraging Market Rate Development

San Francisco requires new residential buildings of 10 or more units to include on-site affordable units (inclusionary housing) or pay in-lieu fees that fund 100 percent affordable housing. Programs such as Home-SF and the City’s practice of negotiating development agreements allow the City to leverage more affordable housing from developments in exchange for added height and/or number of units.

  • Inclusionary Housing
  • Home-SF
  • Development Agreements

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

ADUs are rental units added to existing residential buildings. While ADUs are not restricted to serve low- and moderate-income households, they can be a cheaper way to add new housing and therefore are more likely to have lower rents. In addition, ADUs added to rent-controlled buildings are often also subject to rent-control.