In the News

Celebrating two years of partnership with dev/Mission

Special to Mission Housing
By Leo Sosa

Saturday, March 30 at  7 p.m. marks the two-year anniversary when I left my job as a Technology Training Coordinator at MEDA in San Francisco to launch my own nonprofit <dev/Mission>.

Mission Housing Development Corporation Executive Director Sam Moss and now Deputy Executive Director Marcia Contreras took me by their wing during that time and I am so appreciative to both of them to help me launch my organization inside Valencia Gardens at 360 Valencia St. where we currently operate today.

When I started we had enough money to last us for two months. Two years later we have received funding from Autodesk, Latino Community Foundation, Microsoft, Uber, Google, ATT, Paypal, OEWD (TechSF) just to name a few. We have also received from personal donors tons of donations like computers from the University of San Francisco, Dropbox, Uber, Ampush, JonesIT, Monkeybrains that are being awarded to the participants graduating from our program and the families we serve.

We hosted our summer 2017 inaugural session with 20 young adults from the Bay Area; 50 percent of them were women. We taught 120 middle schoolers from Jamestown Community Center how to write a line of code that summer as well.

Since then we have launched over eight 12-week cohorts in the Mission District, the Bayview and the Western Addition in partnership with Mission Housing Development Corporation, San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, FRH Consulting and we are in the process of launching our first pilot in the Bayview Hunters Point East and Visitacion Valley Community.

We have also partnered with John O’Connell High School and JVS to launch an Intro to Programming Class for their High School Seniors — to date 16 high school seniors have learned how to code.

As of today here are some stats from our organization:

Total Enrolled: 91
Currently Enrolled: 6
Total Graduated: 74
Graduation Rate: 81.32%

Thirty five graduates are working either in fellowships, internships, apprenticeships or part-time/full-time jobs in the tech industry.

Our participant population is 45 percent girls, 70 percent Latino, 15 percent and African American — 100 percent come from very low income households, and over 35 percent of our students come from outside San Francisco. Forty nine of our enrollments have been High School Students.

Our strategic plan aims to serve 100 untapped young adults from underserved communities this year, offer 15 paid internships to our graduates and hire 4 technology instructors to teach our STEAM curriculum.

Over 100 volunteers have signed up since we started as tech mentors; TA’s; marketing; outreach and other volunteer roles we have created.

We had our 1st Youth Benefit back in September of last year and raised over $225,000 on that night.

We have launched our “Tech Wizard” Mentorship program so every graduate gets paired with a mentor for six months developing and enhancing their career paths into tech.

We just graduated our 1st pilot fellowships cohort building web apps for communities we serve, launched last summer our 1st STEM Hub for K-12 fully funded by Microsoft in the Bayview Hunters Point West Community, along with this program we have also launched our 1st Digital Music Lab Program where youth ages 14-21 can come to compose, arrange, record, edit, mix and master professional quality music sponsored by Adobe in the Bayview Hunters Point West 1030 Community Center.

We have also launched our 1st Pre-Apprenticeship ICT Occupational Skills Training funded by TechSF and we are in the process of launching our 1st Apprenticeship Pilot in partnership with Postmates.

We have refurbished over 150 computers for nonprofit, low income families we serve with our Community Technology Associate Program and provided over 1,000 hours of service learning opportunities with our graduates.

The founder of the next Instagram or the next Web Developer or IT Technician is currently taking classes at our Spring 2019 cohort right now.

I myself have never written a line of code. That hasn’t stopped me from having the audacity and passion to put these skills in the hands of young people to date and more to come.

Most people think I took this job because of a passion for technology, that’s partially true. The real passion I have is to provide hope and opportunity to the youth and young adults in this region that are growing in underserved communities as I did in Visitacion Valley (Twin Towers).

Thank you to everyone that has offered your support, funding, advice, coaching, encouragement, insight, network and resources as I’ve taken this journey with <dev/Mission>.

Have I done mistakes? I am pretty sure I have but I have learned to learn from them and move on.

Lastly, I want to thank that team of technologists; Kurtis, Abraham, Jesse, Deborah, Stephany, Christian, Yariza, Dani, Arya, Zuri, and Melissa that put this organization together two years ago, the group of young people that decided to join this journey as well, our board, partners, supporters, sponsors; but most importantly my family (Zulma, Ismael, and Isaac) who believed in me and everyone else that has inspire me to “create the next generation of tech talent” with this organization.

For all of you, I’m truly grateful.

Hundreds join Mission Housing to break ground at 1950 Mission St.


San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed on Monday joined community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of future affordable housing at 1950 Mission Street. Once completed, the project will offer 155 affordable apartments for families, with 40 of those units serving families that have previously experienced homelessness.

“I am committed to making sure that all of our residents, especially families and children, have a safe, dignified place to live, which is why I am so excited for this project,” said Mayor Breed. “I will be introducing a Charter Amendment to streamline the production of affordable and teacher housing and pushing a bond to fund new affordable housing in the upcoming election to ensure we continue building more housing like this in the City.”

Formerly Phoenix Continuation High School, the site was later abandoned and listed as surplus property by San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) in 2002. The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development purchased the property from SFUSD in 2015 and the site became the temporary home of the City’s first Navigation Center prior to the start of construction of the permanently 100% affordable housing.

“This is a perfect example of how we should be using publicly owned land. The community and my office joined forces with members of the Board of Education to say YES to using this long- abandoned former school site for affordable housing,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “I can’t wait for the day when families — and especially Mission district children who attend neighborhood schools — can move into their new homes.”

The 155 apartments at 1950 Mission will be affordable to households with incomes between 45% and 60% Area Media Income (up to $71,050 for a family of four), with 25% of the apartments set aside for 40 formerly homeless families.

“We are proud to be breaking ground at 1950 Mission, which has served many key purposes for the City over the years,” said Kate Hartley, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. “We look forward to welcoming 155 families to their new, permanently affordable homes next year.”

Planned amenities for residents include a rooftop garden, a courtyard, a community room with kitchen, and a workshop operated by PODER that will provide bike-maintenance training to youth from the property and the surrounding community. On-site supportive services funded by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing will be provided to residents by Mission Housing Development Corporation and Lutheran Social Services. Another partner, Mission Neighborhood Centers, will operate a new Head Start & Early Head Start youth space. Neighborhood-serving retail space will be available for local nonprofits and entrepreneurs, and affordable gallery and work spaces will cater to the Mission District artist community.

“1950 Mission represents hope and rebirth for a Mission Community long displaced and disenfranchised,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director, Mission Housing Development Corporation. “Mission Housing is proud to usher in the Mission District’s first new 100% affordable housing development awarded to a community-based nonprofit in over 10 years. This community-driven development should be the standard model for anyone who truly cares about high quality affordable housing and community services.”

“We’re proud to be part of this collaborative effort to deliver affordable family homes and an array of community services that will help the neighborhood maintain its vibrancy and diversity,” said Cynthia A. Parker, President and CEO of BRIDGE Housing.

Financial partners include the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, the California Climate Investment Program (funded through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund) Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program through the Strategic Growth Council and the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., BNY Mellon, California Community Reinvestment Corporation, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, and California Debt Limit Allocation Committee.

“1950 Mission will address the urgent need for affordable housing right in the heart of San Francisco,” said Vince Toye, head of Community Lending and Investment for Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is committed to providing financial solutions for the development of affordable housing in areas where there are the biggest needs, and we’re proud to support BRIDGE Housing and Mission Housing’s development of this unique project with both equity and debt financing.”

The architects are David Baker Architects and Cervantes Design Associates, Inc., and the general contractor is Swinerton Builders. Visit for a virtual tour and additional details.

Mission Housing celebrates International Women’s Day

By Marcia Contreras

Today, as we celebrate Women’s International Day, I reflect on the work that we do not only as professionals, but as daughters, sisters, and mothers as well. It is an amazing type of work we do to leave behind a legacy for the next generation to come.

Today, I celebrate and recognize my wonderful mother that took a huge risk leaving our country behind 30-plus years ago to offer us a better future! Her courage, her strengths and her values are what make me the person I am today.

Today, is also an important day because we raise our voices together to celebrate our accomplishments, our passion, and demonstrate that we make a difference in this world. We will continue to stand up even when others want us to be silent. We will continue to push the envelope, fight for our rights and defend our future not only for ourselves but for those that will come behind us.

At Mission Housing, I personally have the privilege of working with some amazing women that make a difference on a daily basis with the work they do. I would like to recognize the following team members who support our organization daily effortlessly: Marizza Bautista-Ong, Ana Torres, Diana Walcott, Gail McGuire, Bulbul Goswami, Bhanu Patel, Veronica Green, Shanita Gardner, Erin Reeves, Sully Argueta, Janina Navarro, Ellie Barrios and Kate Ouyang.

– Marcia Contreras is the Deputy Executive Director at Mission Housing Development Corporation

This article was originally posted on March 8, 2019.

Mission Housing makes good on Mayor Breed’s Executive Directive; announces construction of 4 new ADUs

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced that in the six months since she issued an Executive Directive to accelerate the approvals of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as in-law units, the City has cleared its application backlog. As a result of this action, the City permitted more in-law units than it did in the previous three years when the City’s in-law program was first launched.

The Executive Directive Mayor Breed issued at the end of August called for the backlog of 919 units waiting for approval to be cleared and for all new applications to acted on within four months. It also called on City departments to set clear, objective code standards, and work to improve the application process for people looking to build in-law units. Since then, 439 of the backlogged in-law units have been permitted, over 90% of which are subject to rent-control, and the rest of the applications have been reviewed by the relevant departments and are awaiting responses from the applicants.

“We have made good progress to get this housing approved faster, and we will continue to work to encourage applicants to come forward to build new in-law units,” said Mayor London Breed. “This is just a first step. I will not let our bureaucracy stand in the way of building more housing, especially new rent-controlled housing, because we need more places for people to live in San Francisco. Whether it’s streamlining the approval process or eliminating permitting fees, we can and will do more to get more housing built in our neighborhoods.”

Since 2014, the City departments involved in permitting housing did not have clear and consistent standards on what is needed to add new ADU units to existing single family homes and apartment buildings. Instead, departments preferred to handle these complex applications on a case-by-case basis, resulting in unnecessarily long review periods, inconsistencies in direction to project applicants, and a large backlog of permit applications.

Since the Executive Directive was issued, the City has received applications for 206 new units, all of which were reviewed within the four-month timeframe. Of those new applications, 18 units have so far been approved, while the remainder have been reviewed and are awaiting responses from the applicants. Mayor Breed made the announcement today at a Mission Housing Development Corp. property where new in-law units are planned to be created from former garages.

“Mission Housing is excited to lead the charge for the Affordable Housing Community as we increase our affordable housing stock by what could be hundreds of new units converted from our existing Garages,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “During times such as these, in the midst of this housing shortage crisis, it’s important that every neighborhood prioritizes new housing, and thanks to Mayor Breed’s leadership we’re one step closer to solving the housing crisis. Mission Housing Development Corp. is in the business of housing San Francisco’s low income community not its cars.”

As part of the Mayor’s acceleration effort, several process improvements were made by the City departments involved in issuing permit approvals. A streamlined “roundtable” review process was introduced where multiple reviewing departments, including the Planning Department, Department of Building Inspection (DBI), Fire Department, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and the Department of Public Works came together concurrently to review applications. This improvement allowed all agencies to issue comments or requests for plan revisions to ADU applicants all at once, instead of the former linear process.

Efforts to clarify and expedite the application process have benefited from the addition of public services and documents now available to applicants, including:

  • Optional meetings before filing with the Planning, Building, and Fire Departments, allowing for early multi-agency collaboration and identification of red flags;
  • Public information sessions on ADUs for design professionals and homeowners;
  • Dedicated department staff to provide informative and consistent advice to applicants;
  • Both new and updated public information documents, including a first-ever multi-agency“ADU Checklist” to outline all requirements and submittal guidelines for each agency;
  • An updated “ADU Handbook” to reflect legislative updates and requirements for permitting.The Mayor recently introduced legislation to eliminate DBI permitting fees for ADUs and 100% affordable housing projects. Permitting fees are a significant part of ADU project costs and fees on 100% affordable housing can range upwards of $100,000-$150,000 per project.”We are happy to see Mayor Breed and Mission Housing continue to find ways to increase affordable housing opportunities,” said Dora Orante on behalf of the tenants at Abel Gonzales. “We’re also grateful for the creative ways housing can be designed to help others live in one of these units.”

    Further information about the City of San Francisco’s Accessory Dwelling Unit program is available online at