Mission Housing breaks ground at 490 South Van Ness

(From the Office of the Mayor, San Francisco) 

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and community leaders today celebrated the groundbreaking of 80 new affordable apartments in the Mission District, 20 of which will be set aside for San Francisco families wishing to move to the Mission under the HOPE SF program.

The 100% affordable project at 490 South Van Ness will serve households with incomes between 30% and 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), approximately $35,500 to $71,050 for a family of four. Construction is expected to be completed in Summer 2020.

Located in the heart of the Mission District just two blocks from 16th Street BART, the new apartments are being co-developed by Mission Housing Development Corporation and BRIDGE Housing. Residential amenities will include a community room, laundry rooms, bike parking, a courtyard, a roof garden, and resident services provided by Mission Housing. The ground floor will have a community-centered space available to residents and nonprofit organizations.

“What a massive win for the community that we are able to celebrate affordable housing on this site rather than market-rate units far beyond the reach of Mission District families,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “I worked hard with my predecessor David Campos to ensure this vacant parcel would be used for the kind of housing my constituents really need.”

“The entire Mission Housing Development Corporation family is honored to break ground on our first new affording housing development in almost 15 years,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “It’s been a long, difficult road back but to finally break ground and start building new affordable housing makes all the time, blood, sweat and tears worth it. The affordable housing project that is 490 South Van Ness does not get done without the collaboration of several partners and a dedicated team of Mission Housing staff members. I am grateful for everyone’s tireless work and passion for the people of our community.”

“San Francisco is in a housing crisis that is driving up rents and resulting in displacement of our low and middle-income communities across the City,” said Mayor Breed. “Projects like this one are the direct result of the City stepping up to create the affordable housing that we desperately need.”

“We’re honored to be part of the team that’s bringing affordable family homes and community services to a neighborhood that has seen so much displacement,” said Cynthia A. Parker, President and CEO of BRIDGE Housing.

“This site will go a long way to help working families and low income households afford to call San Francisco ‘home’ thanks to an incredible public-private effort to maintain affordable housing options in this booming economy that risks displacement of our most vulnerable residents,” said Liz Minick, San Francisco – East Bay community executive, Bank of America. “In the heart of the Mission District and just two blocks from public transit, residents at the future 490 South Van Ness can access and be part of the City’s vibrant economy. Bank of America is proud to have provided $56.5 million in financing, including a $32 million construction loan and $24.2 million in a Direct Equity investment to help make this vision a reality for San Franciscans.”

Over $27 million in financing is being provided by the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. Additional sources of funding include the San Francisco Housing Authority (Project-Based Section 8 vouchers), Bank of America, Barings, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee and the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee.

Mission Housing’s fortunes rise — as do two affordable projects in the neighborhood

(From, Mission Local Nov 1, 2018) 

By Julian Mark

A seven-story, fully-affordable housing development at 490 South Van Ness broke ground two weeks ago and another at 1950 Mission is on the way. But more than anything, these projects are a groundbreaking moment for Mission Housing Development Corporation, which has not built a single unit for more than a decade.

“Breaking ground on two affordable housing sites is a tangible culmination of the hard work and the in-depth soul-searching that Mission Housing and its current leadership has done to make it into the development corporations it was meant to be,” said Sam Moss, the executive director of Mission Housing, which was founded in the Mission in 1971.

The project at 490 South Van Ness, the former site of a gas station the city purchased for $18.5 million in 2015, will bring to the city’s housing stock 89 units for low- and moderate-income families — 35 of which will be reserved for District 9 residents living within a mile of the site.

[READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE]

Tour highlights affordable housing neighborhood benefits

Execs from Mission Housing and BRIDGE Housing lead a motorized cable car tour of several San Francisco affordable housing sites. Photo by Tony Bear!

Motorized cable car transports tour group around SF affordable housing sites

Saturday, June 23rd, several people learned first-hand how affordable housing changes neighborhoods, and lives, for the better.

The 20-mile, round-trip, guided tour gave a group of neighbors from the Balboa Reservoir area a first-hand view of the role nonprofit developers play in building, preserving and managing the affordable housing stock of San Francisco.

Moderated by Sam Moss, Mission Housing Development Corporation Executive Director and Kearstin Dischinger, BRIDGE Housing Project Manager and Policy Planner, the tour visited several BRIDGE Housing and Mission Housing properties located throughout San Francisco. Some stops included a brief walking mini-tour. The tour also visited the sites of future Mission Housing developments.

“We are very thankful so many ‘housing secure’ people invested time into learning more about how affordable housing works, who lives in these affordable homes, and the importance of the work we do” said Moss. “The interest and engagement demonstrated was very encouraging, and makes me hopeful that more and more people will advocate to make housing legal, everywhere.”

Tour participants got an in-depth understanding of the successes and challenges facing the San Francisco affordable housing industry. The tour provided a clear understanding what it takes to shelter, stabilize and empower thousands of the most vulnerable San Francisco residents.

“The folks that came along felt they learned a lot and appreciated being able to go in and walk around the developments. They were impressed,” said Rick Williams, of Van Meter Williams Pollack LLP. Williams’ architecture firm designed several of the buildings included in the tour. Williams explained how each of the buildings were designed to fit-in well and add to the quality-of-life and character of their neighborhoods, while providing high-value infrastructure, and quality long-term homes for the residents.

The tour began, and ended, at the Balboa Reservoir, a site owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission that is adjacent to City College of San Francisco. The Balboa Reservoir is being developed into mixed-income housing, open space and community amenities. Mission Housing and BRIDGE Housing are two of the nonprofit developers who, along with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, will build an estimated 550 units of 100 percent affordable housing on the site.

Mission Housing acquires historic South Park property, the Gran Oriente Hotel

The Gran Oriente Filipino Hotel preserved as 100% affordable housing stock; one of three South Park properties to be rehabilitated

Mission Housing Development Corporation today announced another residential hotel has been added to its South Park portfolio.

The Gran Oriente Filipino Hotel, at 104-106 South Park Street [MAP], is one of the earliest Filipino-owned buildings in the South of Market area of San Francisco. Built in 1907, the Gran Oriente Hotel was acquired by Filipino seamen of the Wor Rizal Lodge #12 Of The Gran Oriente Filipino Masonic fraternity, in the 1920s, for $6,000. The organization owns two other buildings on South Park: a lodge, and a small apartment complex.

The properties are regarded as important assets for the Filipino Cultural Heritage District.

The Gran Oriente is one of three residential hotels in the South Park Historic District. Residential hotels are also known as single-room occupancy hotels, or SROs.

As South of Market property values skyrocketed over the years, the fraternal organization received numerous unsolicited, speculative purchase offers for the Gran Oriente Hotel. Community leaders wondered just how long the building could avoid being “gentrified” — sold on the private market, the units rehabbed and then leased at high rents.

When South of Market community leaders learned of a potential Gran Oriente sale, they began to consider how to keep ownership of the property in community hands, so its affordability would be positioned to survive in perpetuity.

Filipino community members asked San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim to facilitate a solution. She connected the organizers and Mission Housing. Supervisor Kim believed Mission Housing — as a nonprofit, community-based affordable housing organization already operating in South Park — was well-qualified to strengthen and ensure the Gran Oriente is protected as permanent affordable housing for future generations.

“The Gran Oriente Hotel is a significant building to the Filipino community in San Francisco and for the South Park neighborhood,” said Supervisor Kim. “It also provides 24 SRO units which provide critical affordable housing for the community.”

“I am honored to have worked with SoMa Pilipinas and Mission Housing over the last two years to facilitate its purchase through the Small Sites Program and ensure it remains a community-owned site.”

In meetings between the leadership of the Filipino Community Development Corporation, the Filipino-American Development Foundation, SOMA Pilipinas, the SOMA Stabilization Fund Community Advisory Committee and Mission Housing representatives, ideas were shared about how to honor the Filipino legacy of the building, and find a current and future co-ownership structure that involves the Filipino community.

The outcome: a Filipino organization will own or co-own the Gran Oriente by 2025.

Until then, Mission Housing will be working with community members on rehabilitating the site, ensuring that all existing tenants remain, and utilizing the site for future community activism and support.

“Mission Housing is proud to partner with the Filipino community to ensure that the Gran Oriente Hotel remains in community hands,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “We will be working with the community to provide tenant education, organizing, and programming of the Gran Oriente as a historic and cultural asset.”

“Leaders from the community, such as the late Steve Arevalo, made certain the Gran Oriente will continue to play a vital role as part of the Filipino Cultural Heritage District of San Francisco.”

Welcome to the Mission Housing South Park family

Mission Housing acquired and rehabbed the other two South Park SROs — The Park View and Hotel Madrid — in 1987. Both provide permanent housing for formerly homeless, special needs, and very low-income adults. Since the renovation, Mission Housing has operated on-site supportive Resident Services programs at both locations.

Adding Gran Oriente’s 24 units to the mix creates efficiencies in overall cash flow, operations and services offered to residents. Which means, soon, the people living at the Gran Oriente will be able to access the same Resident Services provided to other Mission Housing South Park residents.

“Our Resident Services team will be making contact with current Gran Oriente tenants, to learn their needs, so we can make informed decisions about which services will help their quality of life,” said Márcia Contreras, Deputy Executive Director of Mission Housing, and head of the organization’s Resident Services department.

Financing the transaction

Funds for the $4.5 million acquisition and subsequent rehabilitation are being provided by The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and its South of Market Community Stabilization Fund.

Ownership change spurs preservation effort

Monies from The SOMA Stabilization Fund, and the City’s Small Sites Program, will also pay for an extensive rehab of the Gran Oriente, to include updating mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural features such as the roof; replacing appliances and finishes; adding ADA-accessible units and an interior courtyard; and, bringing the building up to city standards for light, air, fire safety, and egress.

Also included, a moderate rehab for The Park View and Hotel Madrid, which means a total of 106 units of South Park affordable housing will be preserved. Construction should start in late 2019, and finish in April, 2021.

Following the completion of the Gran Oriente’s full rehab, Mission Housing will work with the City Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Commission and SOMA Pilipinas to have the Gran Oriente designated a historic site.