From the Director’s Desk
August 03, 2012|
Ensuring low-income residents feel a sense of home in San Francisco goes beyond bricks and mortar.
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
“Home” is a powerfully emotional idea, one that is so deeply rooted in our minds that it lies at the very center of our identities. Our sense of home forms the foundation for our well-being, and it allows us to go forward into the world, knowing we always have a safe place to return to.
For many of us, San Francisco is our home. It is where we feel we belong. Yet as the economy booms and costs soar, fewer and fewer of us can afford to live here.
In our February newsletter, I wrote about the dwindling funding for affordable housing at the federal, state, and local level. In the last six months, little has changed. This latest recession technically ended more than two years ago, but not for the lowest-income individuals in our city, as many residents capable of work cannot find meaningful full-time employment. Meanwhile, rents in San Francisco continue to be the highest in the country, having increased 15% in the last year alone. The average price for a two bedroom apartment now stands at over $3,000 per month. $3,000!! For those who are unable to work or retired after a lifetime of work, those rents are impossible. This is a quiet, insidious, long-term crisis.
But I maintain hope. The newly-proposed local Housing Trust Fund would eventually generate $50 million a year for affordable housing. The effort to create a state housing trust fund fell just a few votes short, offering hope that another effort next year may be successful. And people on the national level are working actively to re-imagine affordable housing by placing it in a broader policy context where it can win greater support and linking it to better-funded areas where it plays a critical role, e.g., transportation, education and health care.
These efforts may help us produce more housing, but ensuring the lowest-income residents of our city feel a sense of home in San Francisco goes beyond bricks and mortar. For them to feel at home, we must ensure they have opportunities to thrive, choices for how they want to live their lives, and equitable access to programs and services that they want and need.
At TNDC, we do not just build buildings; we create community so that the lowest income residents of our city can feel that sense of home so essential to their well-being.
In February, I also wrote of TNDC’s need to evolve, innovate, and stay relevant in order to respond to the challenges we face. As financing for affordable housing wanes, TNDC is re-focusing on our community development programs. Our August issue of TNDC Developments has some shining examples of this work.
I thank you for your continued support of TNDC and commitment to affordable housing.
Donald S. Falk