HOUSING FIRST: IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME ISN'T JUST A SLOGAN


PNNscholar1 - Posted on 07 September 2010

 



By Bruce Allison and Thornton Kimes

San Francisco has a “Housing First” policy. The (very extended) Patel

family, which owns the vast majority of SRO hotel (Single Room

Occupancy: a.k.a. Poor People Housing) properties in the city, is

spitting in our faces by leaving SRO’s vacant for years. There is one

in the Mission (22nd and Mission, above the Ritmo music store, with 40

units), and one in SOMA—the already earthquake code-improved 100-200

unit four-story Chronicle Hotel (across the street from the

newspaper!) and the retail space under it.

Housing in the city translates into money spent in the city, including

jobs for people staffing SRO hotels; of course, getting the empty

Patel spaces clean and useable as living spaces would also generate

those oh-so-wonderful short-term (a.k.a. temporary) jobs the “job

creators” love to talk about (contractor stuff, construction…) too.

The SRO in the Mission only needs $500,000 (current costs) to be

returned to service. The electrical wiring is up to code. Sinks and

bathrooms would need to be installed. The SOMA space, abandoned for 20

years, used to have a blood plasma donation center on the ground

floor. Bruce and Thornton remember it well. A lot more money would

need to be sunk into it to make it liveable.

City services, funded by local, state, and federal taxes, would not be

strained by an effort made to maximize housing for poor people, the

tax base would be improved by it. This modest proposal would take

approximately 200 people off the streets. More would be better.

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