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San Francisco Proposition E: Affordable Housing

Fillmore Park Housing, San Francisco


Proposition E looks to address San Francisco’s twin crises — homelessness and ultra-high housing costs. If it passes, more of the city opens up to affordable housing development.

Right now 100 percent affordable and educator housing cannot be built on public land. Prop E would change that. If passed, it would allow San Francisco’s Planning Commission to redevelop publicly-owned land into new affordable housing units.

This is a pressing issue for the city’s teachers. The San Francisco Unified School District reports that nearly two thirds of its teachers are rent burdened. That means they pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

But came together after months of negotiation. Mayor London Breed initially proposed a ballot measure to streamline public housing development back in April. But teacher’s unions were concerned her idea would allow too many wealthier San Franciscans access to affordable housing. So they worked with four supervisors on a rival ballot measure. Ultimately, the two sides compromised and came together on Prop E.

Who supports Prop E? The mayor and every San Francisco supervisor. Also teachers unions, economic activists, and the Democratic County Central Committee.

Who’s against it? The San Francisco Libertarian Party. They make a few points: they think this won’t really do enough to help teachers; that the free market can better solve housing issues; and, in any case, they don’t trust the government.

So vote yes on Prop E if you want to amend the planning code to expedite building affordable housing units for educators and others. If you don’t believe this is the way to get there, vote no.


Imran Ali Malik was a fellow in KALW's Audio Academy class of 2020. His reporting interests are design, economy, and telling stories of invisible structures and forgotten histories.