People-powered planning used to bring affordable housing to SF

SAN FRANCISCO – Rain did not damper the good mood of community members of San Francisco’s Excelsior District as they celebrated a new plan to create affordable housing in their neighborhood.

According to Teresa Yanga, director of housing development for the mayor’s office, the project will be 100 percent affordable geared toward families earning 60 percent of area median income or about $61,000 for a family of four.

The new plan is based on interviews over 300 San Francisco residents who shared their concerns about housing in their neighborhood.

District 11 Supervisor John Avalos said, “We’re seeing that we’re just building what’s going to serve the most wealthy but when we have a people planning process where the community is in front and charge and moving things forward we know we could build for our needs and not other people’s needs who come from all over the world to enjoy the great wealth of this city.”

Fil-Am community advocates said that the survey results shows how new development can be led through people-powered planning, rather than leaving it up to city officials or developers alone.

“I think in the 300 people surveyed close to a hundred of those people were from the Filipino community and from District 11,” said Mario de Mira of the Filipino Community Center. “For them able to be engaged in this process, to feel like their opinion mattered in the way the city will cultivate their RFP (request for proposal) or developer is really positive.”

“It’s very important for us to have cheap, affordable housing especially for the people here who are working multiple jobs in San Francisco just so they can sustain their every day needs,” said Edwin Herrera of Migrante Nor-Cal and Excelsior resident.

The mayor’s office of housing and community development will start its bidding process to build 80 family housing units on near the Balboa Park Bart station by next month.

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