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San Francisco Proposition A: $600 Million Affordable Housing Bond

Steve Rhodes
Flickr / Creative Commons
Nihonmachi Terrace renovation


The median home sales price in San Francisco is $1.35 million. The median rent of a one bedroom apartment is $3,700 per month. It’s a lot of money.

San Francisco city leaders are using those numbers to persuadevoters to approve the biggest affordable housing bond in city history. If Proposition A passes, the city would borrow $600 million dollars to construct 2,800 new affordable housing units.

Part of the money would go toward repairing existingpublic housing developments that have become dilapidated. Other parts would finance the building or buying of low income housing.

And another portion would help middle income earners stay in the city, including teachers, and non-profit and service sector workers. 

To pay for the bonds, the city would tax homeowners in San Francisco at nearly two cents for every hundred dollars in assessed property value. So if your house is worth that median $1.35 million, you’d pay about $256 in additional property taxes a year.

Mayor London Breed worked withBoard of Supervisors President Norman Yee and others on the legislation, and the board approved the measure unanimously this July. But California law requires voters to weigh in.

Critics of Prop A say that borrowing more money just makes city life more expensive. They also say that the new money doesn’t do anything to get rid of the bureaucracy that’s holding up the development of existing affordable housing projects. 

So if you think San Francisco should issue $600 million in city bonds to fund affordable housing, vote yes on Prop A. If you think that would not be money well spent, vote no.

Sarah Lai Stirland is a freelance journalist and editor living in the South Bay. Her reporting background is in technology, science writing, law and policy. For the past few years, she's written about issues related to aging.