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President Obama’s irrelevant housing proposal

October 3, 2016

By Calvin Welch : SFChronicle – excerpt

The Obama administration, presiding over a huge continued reduction in federal funding for affordable housing, has concluded that it is time to blame the victim for the housing crisis gripping the nation…

resident Obama has offered his views on the solution to the affordable housing crisis. No, it’s not new money to replenish the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s vastly diminished fund to subsidize the development of new multifamily rental housing or assist low-income renters. Instead, it’s a “tool kit” to deregulate local-use policy to overcome “certain inappropriate land use restrictions” such as minimum lot size, off-street parking requirements, height limits and “unnecessarily lengthy” permitting processes. So doing, Obama administration spokesman Jason Furman claimed, will “promote mobility and economic growth.”

The Obama administration is dead wrong when it comes to San Francisco’s housing approvals. Height limits and parking requirements are not slowing approvals. Let’s look at the real problem: declining HUD funding for housing subsidies. The Carter administration in 1978 allocated $249 billion in 2015 dollars to HUD. The Obama administration’s 2015 request was for $47 billionAnd the request for fiscal year 2017 was $400 million less than the request for fiscal year 2016…

Such severe cuts with such dire consequences can only be called a policy of austerity toward urban America…

We do not have a housing-approval problem. San Francisco has built or approved 66,000 units in the last eight years.

Forget the tool kit. Send us the check, Mr. President. We know how to approve projects in San Francisco.

Calvin Welch lectures at both the University of San Francisco and San Francisco State University on the development history of San Francisco.

S.F. housing production
(2007 to first quarter 2016)
25,019 units built
18,242 units approved
22,710 units approved but not yet built at Treasure Island, Hunters Point Shipyard, Parkmerced
Source: San Francisco Planning Department.. (more)


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