SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Check out rental sites for San Francisco, especially the trendier parts: Well over $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom flat and nearly $5,000 for two bedrooms.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Check out rental sites for San Francisco, especially the trendier parts: Well over $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom flat and nearly $5,000 for two bedrooms.
Finding a place to live has become so expensive and emotional that city supervisors are considering a 45-day moratorium on luxury housing in the Mission District, which has long been one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city.
The area, home to taquerias and corner markets, is now teeming with Silicon Valley workers and the pricey restaurants that cater to them.
Fancy high-rises are planned to take over dilapidated street corners, including one that tenant activists have dubbed the "Monster in the Mission," a 345-unit building with rents projected to start at $3,500.
The growth is pushing out longtime tenants, say hundreds of people who crowded San Francisco City Hall last month to support the moratorium and urge a time-out on evictions.
They say that working families, especially Latinos, are being forced out to make way for market-rate housing and that officials have a responsibility to fight back.
The moratorium would give the city room to purchase some of the land available in the Mission, to develop hundreds of affordable housing units for lower-income and middle-income families.
"We were traditionally the most working-class neighborhood, dating back to the Irish and the Italians in the Gold Rush, and it's no longer," says Gabriel Medina, president of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club. "It's trending into something that's not a working-class neighborhood."
The district has lost lower-income and middle-income households, according to a recent study by the nonprofit Council of Community Housing Organizations.
Families with households making $50,000 to $75,000 made up a quarter of Mission households in 2000, now they make up 13 percent. Households with incomes of at least $100,000, meanwhile, have increased.
Tuesday's vote is largely symbolic, as the plan faces steep odds. But it's telling of how officials are desperate to do something about housing in a city where prices are among the nation's highest, with no signs of abating.
Moratorium opponents, meanwhile, say they want to preserve the city's diversity, too. But they say the way to more affordable housing is through increased construction.
Derek Remski helped put together an anti-moratorium rally at City Hall on Tuesday. Organizers say dozens attended, underscoring Remski's desire for officials to focus on growth.
"We can't freeze the city in a block of amber," he says. "I don't want to fossilize San Francisco."
Supporters plan a rally of their own closer to the afternoon vote.
The ordinance needs approval from nine of the 11 city supervisors to pass. The board took the unusual step of skipping a committee vote and fast-tracking the issue straight to the full committee.
According to the city, more than two dozen projects would be affected, including the "Monster."