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Leaders highlight Excelsior development, urge grand bargain on affordable housing bills

Mission Housing Development Corporation Executive Director Sam Moss (left) watches as San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safaí makes comments at a rally encouraging California lawmakers to pass comprehensive legislation that prioritizes affordable housing statewide. Looking on are California Assemblymember Phil Ting (center), Senator Scott Wiener and Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services for Mission Housing. Photo by Tony Bear!

Work to turn Balboa Park parking lot into 100 units of affordable housing could begin sooner if state legislature reaches agreement on affordable housing bills

California Assemblymember Phil Ting and Senator Scott Wiener today joined San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safaí and more than 30 community members, workers and Excelsior District residents to support a proposal to turn the two-acre Balboa Park Upper Yard parking lot next to the Balboa Park BART station into 100 units of much-needed affordable housing.

Speakers also called upon Governor Jerry Brown and state legislators to approve a comprehensive package of affordable housing bills as soon as Sacramento leaders return from their summer recess on August 21, which they said will help projects such as the Balboa Park Upper Yard.

“State proposals to increase both short- and long-term affordable housing funding, and prioritize affordable housing for expedited permitting could help accelerate groundbreaking at the parking lot by up to six months,” said Mission Housing Development Corporation Executive Director Sam Moss. Mission Housing is building Balboa Park Upper Yard with co-developer Related California. “When this process begins, soon we can be housing people instead of cars, and making San Francisco neighborhoods better.”

The Balboa Park Upper Yard development is located in the districts of all three elected officials who spoke at this morning’s rally. The development will provide homes to low-income families struggling to survive on-going San Francisco housing crisis. Also included in the apartments: a child care facility, community-serving commercial spaces, and a public park. There will also be improvements to the Balboa Park BART station plaza.

“Housing costs are fueling inequality by uprooting families and reducing access to high-wage jobs of the future. Across California, families overpay for housing or commute great distances from housing they can afford,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). “When the Legislature reconvenes later this month, we are energized to reach a grand bargain on affordable housing. Our success will decide whether projects like the Upper Yard are routine or a novel anomaly.”

“California’s housing crisis is deep and threatens our economy, environment, and quality of life,” said Senator Scott Wiener, who has authored a bill to streamline housing approvals. “We need to make it easier to create housing at all income levels, and we must create sustained funding for affordable housing. The State needs to step up and be part of the solution.”

“The building of 100 units of affordable housing in District 11 is a harbinger of my and the City’s commitment to securing housing for working families,” said Supervisor Ahsha Safai. “The fast-tracking of permits for new, affordable family housing, undoubtedly, will help the city keep the families it so desperately needs.”

Supervisor Safaí has only recently completed his first six months in office, but he has already delivered significant affordable housing investments for the residents of District 11 neighborhoods such as the Excelsior, Outer Mission, and Ocean View/Merced Heights/Ingleside. Earlier this year, Sup. Safaí led efforts at the Board of Supervisors to craft, and win unanimous approval for, what has become the strongest inclusionary housing ordinance in the country, complete with housing requirements for working class and middle income families.

Assemblymember David Chiu, who represents the district that begins just blocks east of the Balboa Park Upper Yard, sent the following statement: “California is in the midst of an intense housing crisis. The legislature must act on housing to ensure Balboa Park Upper Yard and projects like it across the state can get built quickly and begin to house Californians.”

“When the legislature passes a comprehensive Affordable Housing Bill Package, Mission Housing will able to expand the type of high quality services the residents and community of Balboa Park deserve,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services for Mission Housing.

Many of those who came out this morning stand to benefit from more projects such as the Balboa Park Upper Yard, especially if state officials deliver on their pledge to pass a comprehensive package of affordable housing bills. Supporters at today’s rally included neighborhood residents eagerly awaiting to apply for a home, housing advocates pushing for more housing across all income levels throughout California, and union construction workers hoping to work on a development that they could one day live in.

READ ALSO: Dozens give input on Balboa Park Upper Yard development

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