South San Francisco officers take a look at excessive value of dwelling, methods to increase affordability entry | Native Information

Expanding access to affordable housing and finding ways to develop more affordable housing is a priority for officials in South San Francisco as they seek to improve social justice by lowering the cost of living.

The South San Francisco Commission on Social and Racial Equity discussed Wednesday, Jan.

The housing debate is the latest in a series of efforts by the commission formed last summer amid the social justice movement to ensure that city officials adequately support those in need of help the most.

City Manager Mike Futrell said the various approaches taken by the commission, including its recent focus on housing affordability, are intended to empower all residents and “really hit poverty in the nose”. To accomplish this goal, he described the various commitments, valued at more than $ 6 million, that officials have made to launch social justice programs.

These initiatives include the South San Francisco City Council allocating $ 2 million to a direct grant program for residents, $ 2.2 million to establish a downtown human resource development center, and $ 2 million to closing the digital divide, including handing out free laptops to qualified residents.

Given the diversity of the programs, Futrell shared the officials’ eagerness to attack the critical issue.

“The city staff and the city council are very excited about this opportunity, this promise that with this strategy – well-equipped and sustainable – we can make a really positive difference in South San Francisco,” he said.

To expand these efforts, officials discussed ways to develop more affordable housing and examined the challenges that may hamper these efforts.

A key common interest of the commissioners is to facilitate the construction of more units accessible to those who do not earn the high salaries offered in the local technology or life science industries.

But home builders are often reluctant to build extremely affordable units in their projects, said Commissioner Norm Faria, who noted that developers tend to only tend to build moderately affordable units.

Faria said it was “like pulling teeth” to get builders to move from units reserved for those earning 80% of the region’s median income to the 30% -40% level. Vice Mayor Mark Nagales said officials should continue to focus on working with nonprofits and other similar agencies that can use tax credits or other financial incentives to build affordable housing.

In addition, Nagales and Faria agreed that officials should translate affordability more clearly, as the technical definition is different than most expected. Officials measure affordability by the percentage of the median income in the area, which last year was $ 139,000 a year for a family of two. With salaries this high, even those considered technically affordable are often out of reach for most.

In terms of communications, many officials should step up their reach to ensure those eligible for housing assistance programs know what assistance the city can provide.

Working with the local school district, working with the community navigators proposed by the commission, and using the upcoming downtown human resource development center as a hub for information sharing were among the ways identified to raise awareness.

“There is never enough communication. Whatever we can do to reach the public, we’ll focus on it, ”said Faria.

Commissioner Kayla Powers also asked what accountability measures could be taken locally to ensure that South San Francisco meets its affordable housing development goals. There are supposedly government programs aimed at enforcing development standards, but even those programs are limited in scope, so Powers urged South San Francisco officials to take responsibility.

Looking ahead, the South San Francisco City Council is expected to attend a study session on Tuesday, Jan.

“I think it was a very rich, in-depth conversation,” said consultant Kym Dorman, who moderated the conversation.

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