I am writing in response to your July 7th article entitled “Will SF Expand Affordable Housing to All Neighborhoods.” Definitely an important question, but your analysis seems to oversimplify issues involved in several of the projects and neighborhoods. The clearest example of this is your statement about North Beach.
“Ever wonder why North Beach never sees affordable housing built or purchased? The area’s well off residents don’t want affordable housing. San Francisco loves celebrating the legacy of the Beats but they’d never have been able to afford to live in today’s North Beach. In fact, they would have been priced out of North Beach decades ago.”
North Beach has one of the greatest population & low-income seniors densities in SF: 35,000+ people per square mile. “Well off” residents and remaining bohemians have fought together for years to stop the building of luxury condos on whatever tiny slice of land is left in North Beach. .North Beach residents would indeed welcome affordable housing, especially because this is a predominantly working class neighborhood.
The fight to stop a condo-conversion of the 6 unit rent-controlled building at 424-434 Francisco, site of the tortuous 2004 Ellis Act eviction, was about not losing affordable housing in this working class neighborhood. The support in this successful fight won in March 2021 came again from our community.
We’ve been pushing for affordable housing at the bus yard near Fisherman’s Wharf for at least 16 years but MTA refuses to sell the land to the City. It is my understanding that Supervisor Peskin is still leading this campaign.
Acquisition attempts have indeed been made. In 2015 an 8 unit rent-controlled building up for sale on the 800 block of Lombard, long time homes to long-term seniors & families, but the City money was not there for purchase. In 2019 a non-profit purchased a 5 unit building, succeeding in removing it from the speculative market and stopping displacement of longtime elderly Chinese residents.
Residents fought to acquire the old Tower Records site for affordable housing to house local workers who were displaced are now commuting from Antioch.
So yes, as a 40 year resident of North Beach, I take umbrage with your misstatements about North Beach. I am left with questioning your overall assessment of other areas.
Filed under: Letters to the Editor