Yesterday, the Land Use and Transportation Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of a resolution (File# 150822) that will provide a local commitment to match all National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) dollars allocated to projects in San Francisco. Supervisor Eric Mar (D) introduced the resolution, and urged the Committee to take decisive action by explaining that affordable housing was a problem that required more resources, and that San Francisco must take action to, “ensure that there is state and federal funding for extremely low income households in our community.”

Beyond just ensuring to match funds, the resolution also calls upon Senators Feinstein (D) and Boxer (D) and Representative Nancy Pelosi (D) to make expanded funding for the NHTF a priority. By passing the match resolution, San Francisco will put itself in a stronger position when projects are submitted for NHTF allocations. HUD’s interim rule for administration of the NHTF requires state allocation plans to give priority to project proposals under six specific criteria, one of which is the extent to which the project will use non-federal funds. Sophie Hayward, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development added her office’s support of the resolution, saying, “Any federal dollar we can bring to the table to address ELI housing is one we need, we’ll use, and we can deploy.”

Before the Committee’s vote, housing providers, formerly homeless individuals, and community advocates provided testimony on the crucial importance of affordable rental housing and ending homelessness.  Paul Boden of the Western Regional Advocacy Project provided a presentation on declining housing affordability and the rise of modern homelessness. He explained that housing affordability is also an aspect of community struggles on race, class, and education.

Several formerly homeless individuals who are members of Community Organizing and Resident Engagement (CORE) at Community Housing Partnership spoke about the urgency of expanding rental housing in San Francisco. Mark Anthony Johnson described how proud he was to no longer be living on the streets, and addressed the importance of new housing options, saying, “I want a chance to move up the housing ladder.”

Jennifer Dolin also spoke, representing the Supportive Housing Providers Network. She addressed the cost savings realized from investment in permanent supportive housing (PSH), and discussed that PSH is a potential model for housing that could be built in San Francisco with NHTF funds. She also stressed that housing mobility was limited for tenants in supportive housing because there are so few places to where they can potentially move.

Seven advocates spoke in total. Organizers worked to highlight the effort on social media using the hashtag #SF4NHTF. The resolution will now be placed on the consent agenda for the next meeting of the full Board of Supervisors. When the resolution passes, San Francisco will join Jackson, Mississippi as the only two cities in the United States to have pledged to match all NHTF funds to their communities.

Read a copy of the resolution as passed at this link: