San Francisco: Proposition C – Affordable Housing Trust Fund

17 Oct

THE PROPOSAL: If approved, this measure would create the San Francisco Housing Trust Fund by dedicating a portion of the City’s general fund revenues “to create, acquire and rehabilitate affordable housing and promote affordable home ownership programs” [PDF]. The bill also calls for a 20 percent reduction in the City’s affordable housing requirements for most projects.

IF YOU’RE A BELIEVER: Prop. C [PDF] will cause $1.5 billion to be invested in low- and moderate-income housing construction over the next 30 years. Up to 30,000 units of housing will be created and moderate-income income families will gain access to a down-payment loan program.

IF YOU’RE SKEPTICAL: Prop. C is a measure that ties up a chunk of City revenues for decades. It may be “unwise to lock up funding for housing when The City faces competing needs such as public safety and education.”

WHAT IT MEANS: For those concerned with the provision of affordable housing (especially in a city with a demonstrable lack of said housing), this could prove to be another tool to fund low- and moderate-income housing development. The plan uses existing revenues, including a chunk of property tax dollars that will be distributed to the City because of the shuttering of the local redevelopment agency. That means no new taxes, which is always a crowd pleaser.

However, skeptics raise a valid point: Should San Franciscans be committing this funding for decades to come? As we’ve seen time and again, municipal budgets are often subject to the whims of the economy. In lean years, local governments may want flexibility in how they appropriate funds for competing interests; this proposition would limit that flexibility. On the other hand, securing these funds for affordable housing over the long-term sends a clear message that the provision of affordable housing is, and will be, a fiscal priority for San Francisco for decades to come.

2 Responses to “San Francisco: Proposition C – Affordable Housing Trust Fund”


  1. California: Proposition 39 – “Clean Energy Jobs Act” « The ELP Blog - October 19, 2012

    […] IT MEANS: Like San Francisco’s Proposition C, the “Clean Energy Jobs Act” boils down to allocation of resources and spending priorities. […]

  2. Post-Election Day Roundup « The ELP Blog - November 20, 2012

    […] Proposition C passed in San Francisco, arming the city’s affordable housing proponents with a dedicated stream of funding to finance the production of homes for low- and moderate-income San Franciscans. The passage of Proposition C establishes the San Francisco Housing Trust Fund that is expected to generate $1.5 billion to create upwards of 30,000 units of low-income housing. Moderate-income families will benefit from increased access to a down-payment assistance program. […]

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