Real Estate

New efforts for homelessness, affordability in the Bay Area


Hamilton Families, a local nonprofit provider of housing for homeless families, has partnered with the city and other private organizations in the Heading Home Campaign, a new $30 million program designed to decrease the amount of time families experience homelessness before finding housing.

“In our city where so many have done so well, it’s unacceptable that 1,800 students attending San Francisco’s public schools are homeless,” said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who was a major contributor to the public-private partnership, along with the San Francisco Giants,, Congregation Emanu-El, and others. “I hope that other companies and individuals will join us as we take these initial steps in helping all the homeless children in our city find permanent housing.” Currently it takes up to 414 days for homeless families to find housing; the Heading Home Campaign has a goal of reducing that to a maximum of 90 days.


Silicon Valley communities have faced some of the same problems with housing during the current tech boom that San Francisco has faced: a shortage of housing at all levels. Even as tech companies have expanded and new ones have spawned, many communities have made it difficult to create new housing on the peninsula. Facebook will help undo a little of that with its new deal to commit $20 million for affordable housing and job training in the valley, in a deal worked out with a group of East Palo Alto community groups.

“Our organizations have been working for decades to ensure that the Bay Area remains a place where people of all races and incomes can find healthy homes and good jobs, so we approached Facebook to work on these issues with us,” Tameeka Bennett, a representative of Youth United for Community Action, was quoted as saying in the San Francisco Business Times. “This exciting partnership shows what can happen when the people who are most affected by the housing crisis are engaged in a serious collaboration with other stakeholders to craft creative solutions.”


With the passage in November of Proposition W by San Francisco voters, real estate sales above the $5 million level will be more costly. Specifically, transfer tax rates for sales of residential and commercial properties priced between $5–$10 million will increase from 2 to 2.25 percent; from $10–$25 million the increase will be from 2.5 to 2.75 percent; and for more than $25 million the increase will be from 2.5 to 3 percent.


The Board of Supervisors approved a law that would guarantee tenants of multiunit residential and commercial buildings the right to select their own Internet service provider, while also providing some protections for landlords.

District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, who sponsored the legislation, said that increased choice and competition among ISPs is an important factor to ensuring affordable and higher-quality Internet service. Though federal law already bans property owners and managers from having exclusive agreements with ISPs, Farrell’s office said that there are an estimated 50,000 local units that have limitations that effectively deny certain ISPs from providing service. In particular, ISPs often cannot gain access to the building to respond to customer requests.

The new law establishes a protocol for qualified ISPs to notify property owners, and provide rent and indemnification to the owners for use of any space and protection from damages. The law is due to take effect in early January.


Board of Supervisors President London Breed and Mayor Ed Lee have proposed new legislation that would update green building codes for city-owned properties and would provide for studying how to achieve “zero net energy” in new municipal construction by the year 2030.

“San Francisco has been a leader in … green building [for] more than 23 years,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, an independent organization that verifies and promotes environmentally sustainable building. He said that with every new building that meets LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards, “the green building movement is proactively responding to the most important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy, and threats to human health. With leadership at the city level, as demonstrated by the extraordinary commitment of San Francisco, we are getting one step closer to achieving a sustainable global built environment within a generation.”


“Would this have sold for more two years ago? It’s possible.”

—Broker Gregg Lynn, Sotheby’s International Realty, discussing the $13 million sale of a condo in the sinking Millennium Tower, San Francisco Business Times

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