S.F’s Mission District to Get 1st Affordable Housing Project in 10 Years

1950 Mission St. is currently serving as the Navigation Center, providing aid and services for San Franciscans without homes. (Sam Harnett/KQED)

San Francisco city officials have chosen two developers to build the first affordable housing complex in the Mission District in 10 years.

What is now the city’s homeless Navigation Center at 1950 Mission St. is slated to become 165 units of rental housing for low-income and homeless families on city-owned land that will be┬áleased to the developers. The site is a former school that sat vacant for years.

The units, according to a press release, will be available to families earning between 45 and 60 percent of the area median income. Some 20 percent of the units will be set aside for homeless families.

“It’s all centered around family life,” says Sam Moss, head of the Mission Housing Development Corp., which will develop the project with Bridge Housing.

The $81 million, eight-story complex, just north of the 16th Street BART Station, will feature a rooftop garden, artist studios and a mural walkway, along with a community kitchen and media lab.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of affordable housing, it’s that the sites need to be more than just apartments,” says Moss. “It’s not just about who lives there, it’s about what the site can do to reinvigorate and support the surrounding community.”

The project still needs city approval and will undergo a community input process. Moss is hoping it will break ground in 2017.

There wouldn’t be any car parking on site because it’s located in a transit-rich neighborhood, says Moss. There would be secure bike parking available and a bike share station nearby.

The land is one of four city properties being planned for affordable housing in the Mission, hard hit by a housing crisis that has mobilized activists, who have been putting pressure on city officials. A measure imposing an 18-month moratorium on market-rate housing development in the Mission will be on the city’s November ballot.

“We’re hoping that this is a symbol of taking a step in the right direction, of saying, ‘No — no more luxury housing, no more displacement, we’re going to start building more affordable housing,’ ” says Moss.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco says between 2,400 and 3,000 units of affordable housing need to be built in the Mission. He calls the new project “a good start.”

“I think this is a clear sign that City Hall has finally heard the Mission, loud and clear,” he says.

Moss says the developers will be required to coordinate the relocation of the Navigation Center.

S.F’s Mission District to Get 1st Affordable Housing Project in 10 Years 27 October,2015Bryan Goebel

  • richensf

    Heavily subsidized housing projects should have a substantial percentage of occupancy appropriated to local teachers, social workers, police officers, and firefighters before being doled out to qualified low income veterans, then low income families, then the general low income public.

    This approach offers the best environment for the community’s most vulnerable citizens to be stabilized so that they have a realistic opportunity to rise from poverty while also aligning their experiences with that of the community’s frontline service officers.

    The current squalor of the city’s slumlord-operated Section 8s and SROs offer similar results to prison: provides costly housing but no real outlet from poverty and vice.

    • SF Sunset Guy

      while I appreciate your sentiments, Police Officers / Firefighters that work here likely make far too much to be considered for this without some exemption. Moreover, it would appear that many of them don’t care to live here. I don’t recall the exact numbers but a very high percentage live outside SF.

      Agreed on the squalor of the city’s funded Sec 8 and SROs – a losing situation all around and at great expense.

    • That’s a great idea but anti-discrimination laws don’t allow favoring certain classes of people, such as fire fighters etc.
      I would recommend checking out the well managed and attractive affordable housing built and managed by private non-profits such as BRIDGE Housing. Typically people think they are “luxury housing”, which they really are, just affordable to income qualified folks.

  • lunartree

    Hopefully the Mission doesn’t find some idiotic reason to protest this one. If we want to get serious about affordable housing we’re going to need to build bigger. 165 units is nice, but why not double the height? The Mission is well connected to transit, and could easily be built up without increasing car traffic.


Bryan Goebel

Bryan Goebel is a reporter focused on transportation and housing issues. He was previously the editor of Streetsblog San Francisco, and an anchor/editor at KCBS Radio. He's a lifelong Californian and has also worked at radio stations in Barstow, Redding and Sacramento.

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