The coronavirus pandemic may have brought housing costs down a bit from historic highs, but that hasn’t done much good for working class residents here in San Francisco. More than ever, our neighbors are trapped between rents that are still too high, and incomes that have fallen or disappeared entirely. Efforts to stop evictions, our rent control laws, and housing subsidies are helping people ride out this crisis, but this moment is exposing the private housing market’s inability to provide housing for everyone who needs it at a price they can afford.

The passage of Props I and K in…

I’ve wanted to write a quick explainer about affordable housing for some time. Mostly, I hope to clear up confusion and misconceptions that fly around whenever the topic is discussed. Let’s see whether I can accomplish that.

  1. What is affordable housing?

The term gets thrown around a lot without a lot of understanding. The problem is that “affordable housing” seems self-evident. It’s right in the name! Except, not really, at least not from a policy standpoint. Technically speaking, “affordable housing” means housing with these three characteristics:

  1. Rents (or prices, though I want to focus on rental housing here) are restricted…

Moving to the United States can involve both figurative and literal lines. My first line was literal. Nowadays, the American Embassy in Port-of-Spain will let you make an appointment to come in and get your visa, but that was not the case during the summer of 1998. My long journey to citizenship, therefore, started with waking up before 4am to go stand on Woodford Street for 4 or 5 hours, after which my prize was to have my university education be at the mercy of whatever bureaucrat had been clever enough to get Caribbean posting. I’d heard the horror stories…

They manage to build a lot more in Vancouver.

Some thoughts on housing affordability and the San Francisco crisis

Earlier this year, San Francisco saw a showdown between Supervisor Jane Kim and Mayor Ed Lee over their affordable housing plans. The two ballot measures had a lot of differences, but they had one key thing in common: no money. Lots of good intentions, some regulations, and demands for hearings… but little to no cash.

This sort of thinking illustrates one of the big problems with the housing debate in SF, which is that people really don’t understand the tremendous cost of construction in the city. Take, for example, the shouting match between VCs in Sausalito back in June. At…

Eddy P

BGI -> POS -> NJ -> NYC -> SFO

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