Jane Kim on the Housing Affordability Crisis

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Jane Kim is a longtime advocate for affordable housing and for a city that works for everyone – including low-income and working people. She has fought to increase our housing stock while maximizing opportunities to build affordable units for low- and middle-income workers. The Bay Area is nearing a tipping point in the lack of affordable housing, and San Francisco is ground zero. Housing prices, both to rent and to buy, have jumped astronomically in recent years and we’re feeling the pinch. Even longstanding small businesses are being forced to move from our neighborhoods due to rising rents. The housing affordability crisis is forcing working people out and changing the character of the City and the whole Bay Area.

Jane has tackled housing affordability head on. She authored Proposition C to increase the minimum level of affordable housing in new developments from 12% to 25%. Last June Prop C was approved with 68% of voters supporting Jane’s solution. Asking more of the developers who are benefiting most from skyrocketing prices is the right thing to do.

Jane is a tough negotiator who delivers more below market rate units for working families. Jane successfully negotiated 40% affordable housing in the new Giants project at Mission Rock, got 40% in the Folsom tower project, and won another 40% in the 5M project at 5th and Mission. She is a strong supporter of building more housing through smart development that protects our rent-controlled housing stock and expands the total number of affordable units.

In Sacramento, Jane will continue fighting to make housing development as affordable as possible. Recent proposals at the state level would give developers new rights and limit local control in exchange for a modest percentage of affordable units. Jane will fight for working families in these negotiations with a proven record that yields results. She will ensure any statewide housing solution works for San Francisco and Bay Area working families, and not just developers and other real estate interests.

Expanded Tenant Protections

Jane Kim has a long record of standing up for the rights of renters, including authoring tough new protections for tenants to prevent greed-incentivized evictions. Between 2004 and 2014 the City lost 5,470 rent-controlled apartments due to a variety of no-fault evictions allowed by state law. In 2015 Jane authored Eviction Protection 2.0 that changed the Rent Ordinance to bar rent increases or evictions based solely on the addition of roommates. It requires landlords to set the new base rents in effect at the time of an owner-move-in eviction, provides tenants with an opportunity to cure minor violations before an eviction may be pursued against them, and requires landlords to provide information to tenants in multiple languages regarding the availability of resources and information.

That’s why Jane won the endorsement of every major tenants’ rights group in San Francisco, including the Affordable Housing Alliance and San Francisco Tenants Union. In Sacramento, Jane will fight to reform the Ellis Act, which has enabled thousands of evictions in San Francisco, and to improve the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which limits expansion of rent control. Jane has a record of fighting for tenants and she will keep up that fight in the State Capitol.

Homelessness

Jane believes in a compassionate response to the problem of homelessness and she understands that San Francisco can’t tackle this statewide and national problem alone. We don’t have enough beds to accommodate every person who is homeless and there are barriers that prevent many from accessing the ones we have. Whether it’s because someone suffers from an addiction or mental illness, feel unsafe in shelters, or they don’t want to be separated from loved ones, Jane supports taking steps to break down those barriers and she supports innovative approaches to create more shelter capacity.

Modular micro housing units have been proposed as a possible low-cost solution, and one developer has offered to rent these units for as little as $1,000 per month. That’s far cheaper than traditional housing. Jane has authored legislation to convene a working group composed of affordable housing developers, homelessness experts, and labor organizations tasked with crafting a blueprint to begin construction on a modular housing pilot program within the next three months. If low-cost solutions are possible, Jane will push to explore those options immediately.

Jane supports working with neighborhoods to expand the use of navigation centers which provide food, shelter, shower and bathroom facilities, laundry facilities, and counseling services all in one location. Sweeps of tent encampments have not solved the problem of homelessness, it only moves it to another location, usually just a few blocks away. Jane is a longtime supporter of supportive housing, drawing down state funds to expand mental health services, and addressing the root causes of homelessness which are lack of addiction treatment, jobs, and affordable housing.