Letter to the Editor…

by on November 2, 2021

Thanks for your piece on Sixth Street and existing factors preventing gentrification on Sixth Street, despite nearby market rate construction.


I didn’t even know about the project until I saw the uproar about the Board of Supervisors voting it down based on CEQA this week. Otherwise, as a SRO property manager for supportive housing for homeless, I would have voiced my support of this project to my Supervisor, Aaron Peskin.

As you probably know, Steve Kuklin, Build’s Vice President of Development, is a co-founder and active member of the San Francisco Community Land Trust.    Market rate developers are not necessarily driving gentrification.  Our failure to build housing has made it impossible for working class and union wage earners to afford the extremely limited available housing options in San Francisco.    Huge numbers of our citizens make too much for “affordable” housing, but don’t earn the hundreds of thousands of dollars necessary to rent an apartment.  When I was struggling to find an affordable place to live, I asked what good does rent control do if I could never afford the newly available unit listed on the market because demand was so great?   The only way out of this severe housing shortage is to build more housing.

One of my case managers is now homeless.  She has been looking for housing for months, to no avail.   She can only afford $1500 a month. As a supportive housing case manager for a non profit, she and her security guard husband earn too much for Tax Credit and Senior Housing (even if there were not a years long waiting list) and even earn too much for many of the BMRs.   It breaks my heart to see working people unable to afford housing, while our City officials and misguided activists fight to deny every housing development opportunity.

Every time I visit a City like Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore, etc – I ask myself, why can’t Americans in San Francisco have deeply affordable housing like people in these Cities have.   It still blows my mind that a rich and elegant City like Tokyo has deeply affordable rents and purchase prices.   I’ll never forget how three different friends moved from San Francisco to Tokyo in 2015-2017 because housing in Tokyo was significantly more affordable there than here.




Jonathan Bonato

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