Mission Housing brings home 2019 Livability Award

Mission housing or housing on a mission? How about a little bit of both.

On Sunday at the 2019 Livability Summit, presented by Livable City, Mission Housing Development Corporation was awarded the Community Leader in Action Award for its work on the 18th Street ADU Garage Conversion Project. 

“We’re honored to receive this award,” said Mission Housing Executive Director Sam Moss. “I’ve long said San Francisco needs to focus less on housing cars and more on housing people. We’re working to do just that with projects like the one on 18th Street.”

Moss accepted the award alongside Deputy Executive Director Marcia Contreras. Also named on the award is John Barber, Mission Housing’s Construction Management Consultant. 

Part of Mayor London Breed’s Executive Directive to accelerate the approvals of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as in-law units, Mission Housing’s 18th Street ADU Garage Conversion Project is modeling a way to create new, rent-controlled housing out of dormant garage space that is accessible to seniors, people with disabilities and low-income residents.

Taking place during Sunday Streets Mission at The Chapel on Valencia Street, the 2019 Livability Summit & Awards Brunch was a chance to see Sunday Streets from the inside-out, socialize, savor a cocktail, experience thought-provoking discussions, and enjoy one-plus miles of car-free fun, all in the same day.

Other awardees included: Chan Kaajal Community Garden — a part of the city’s first new park in ten years, bringing green, open space for community-building, recreation and public health to the heart of the Mission in collaboration with local community groups like Poder.

People Protected Bike Lanes fights to keep and create safe, accessible bike lanes free from car traffic. Their work has resulted in the installation of protected bike lanes on upper Market Street, $150k in funding for the Valencia Bicycle safety project, and upcoming projects on Howard and Townsend streets.

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 sfdbi.org/adu.

Mission Housing Executive Director Awarded AIA San Francisco’s Social Impact Award


November 28, 2018 —

(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.)  The watershed moments at Mission Housing Development Corporation continue with the announcement of AIASF’s 2018 Community Alliance Awards program recipients.

Sam Moss, the Executive Director at Mission Housing will be among those honored with the Social Impact Award by AIASF at the Community Alliance Awards Ceremony on Dec. 7 at Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco.

“It’s always very humbling to be recognized for the work we do at Mission Housing,” Moss said. “And even more so when that recognition comes from an organization like AIASF who shares our vision of improving the quality of life for the communities in the Bay Area. The list of people to thank is long so from the bottom of our collective heart at Mission Housing, a sincere thank you is owed to those who support our mission. I especially want to thank Mission Housing’s staff and Board of Directors, without their support and tireless efforts nothing we accomplish would be possible.”

The AIASF Community Alliance Awards honor the individuals, design firms, and community organizations whose overall efforts contribute to the advancement and enrichment of quality of life in the Bay Area. The Social Impact Award recognizes an individual or organization for extended commitment to community service or significant contribution evidenced by a positive impact on urban, environmental, or neighborhood issues.

“This year’s honorees represent the diversity of focus and commitment that makes our city a model for community-driven impact,” said AIASF Executive Director Jennifer Jones, CAE, IOM. “We’re thrilled to honor the important work taking place in a broad range of fields by these community vanguards.”

Moss joins a trio of winners that includes Cindy Wu of the Chinatown Community Development Center and the Youth Art Exchange.

Nominations were reviewed by a jury consisting of prominent members of the community, including Robin Abad Ocubillo, AIA, Senior Planner and Urban Designer at the SF Planning Department; Henry Siegel, FAIA, Co- founder of Siegel & Strain Architects; Sandra Vivanco, AIA, Founding Principal of A+D, Architecture + Design.

“About 5 years ago under Sam’s executive direction, MHDC orchestrated a historic come back to provide affordable housing and crucial resident support programs to a community that was greatly affected by gentrification and market-rate development forces,” the judges said. “Stronger than ever, MHDC is currently in the process of developing 4 different properties to add to their already robust real estate portfolio. Sam has repeatedly shown his adeptness at staying out of harmful politics and demonstrated his commitment to building community.”

“Mission Housing could not be prouder of the impact we made for our community in 2018,” Moss said, “and what’s most exciting is that 2019 promises to be even bigger with the groundbreaking at 1950 Mission St. and our footprint near the Balboa Park BART Station in District 11 – projects that will bring true affordable housing to San Francisco.”

In recognition of contributions like Moss’ to the advancement and enrichment of the quality of life in the Bay Area, AIASF strives to acknowledge extraordinary individuals and organizations for their service to the Chapter, to the community, and to the profession — their continued efforts engage, educate, collaborate, and advocate elevate the value of design and its impact on the experiences of our daily lives.

For a full list of honorees, visit www.aiasf.org


To recognize an individual or organization for extended commitment to community service or significant contribution evidenced by a positive impact on urban, environmental, or neighborhood issues.

  • Sam Moss, Mission Housing Development Corporation
  • Cindy Wu, Chinatown Community Development Center
  • Youth Art Exchange




Since 1971, Mission Housing Development Corporation has provided affordable housing options to residents of San Francisco. Now, Mission Housing is one of the largest nonprofit housing organizations in San Francisco, owning or managing 38 buildings. Its mission is to create and preserve high-quality affordable housing for residents of low and moderate incomes in the Mission District and San Francisco. The organization currently serves some 3,000 residents in 1,600 units — 1,000 additional 100 percent affordable rental units are being developed. For more information, visit www.missionhousing.org. Follow Mission Housing on Instagram and Twitter: @missionhousing


Serving the Bay Area for over a century, the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco (AIASF) strives to improve the quality of life in the Bay Area by promoting architecture and design. AIASF represents over 2,200 members practicing architecture, as well as 4,000 allied community professionals in San Francisco and Marin counties. As a resource for our members and the public, AIA San Francisco strives to improve the quality of life in the Bay Area by promoting architecture and design. We further this goal through community involvement, education, advocacy, public outreach, member services, and professional excellence. aiasf.org


Julio Lara, Mission Housing Communications Manager
PH: (650) 678-4957
EMAIL: jlara@missionhousing.org