District 9 Supervisor David Campos is sponsoring a hearing on the City’s Tenant Displacement Report this Thursday during the Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee.

Created by the Budget and Legislative Analysts Office, the report should further understanding of San Francisco’s housing crisis. Interested parties with potential solutions are invited to offer comment. For more information, read the agenda here.

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Alexander Mullaney is a journalist and publisher in San Francisco. In 2008, he founded The Ingleside Light, a monthly neighborhood newspaper with a circulation of 10,000. In The Ingleside Light he reports on community affairs and publishes the work of both local and student journalists and photographers. He sits on the board of directors of the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse, the Ocean Avenue Association, and the San Francisco Neighborhood Newspaper Association. In the summer of 2013, Mullaney organized and managed two community journalism courses for youth with City College of San Francisco and the non-profit Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse. The pilot program paid students stipends, offered both high school and college credit, and published their articles and photographs in The Ingleside Light. He intends to find funding to offer the program in 2014. Mullaney holds a bachelors degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University. He is studying multimedia and longform writing at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. He plans to use his time at graduate school to expand his reportage to produce stories for the public good.

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  1. Once the report is complete, it would be nice if the city council started thinking of more innovative solutions instead of reactionary penalizing measures. It would be interesting to see if there could be government/private partnerships with banks like NCB (http://www.ncb.coop) who’s charter it is to finance co-ops of all types across the country. If a landlord decides to sell their building and Ellis act it, then the city would step in (in partnership with banks like NCB) and offer loans to the current tenants that match the current rent being paid, with the difference being amortized over several years, and the city being the beneficiary of the property. I’m not a loan broker or have any idea if something like this is feasible, but I’d love for the city council members to look into alternative ways to give potentially displaced people a shot at staying in their homes while respecting the property rights of the owners. One can dream.

    1. Exactly, Matt. Why doesn’t the city provide incentives for property owners to not Ellis rather than try and punish those who do?

      One idea would be to provide cheap loans to the tenants, or to a non-profit, to run the building on co-operative lines, if the tenants want that, the landlord is willing to sell, and the price is at market.

      The problem, of course, is that this will only happen to the worst buildings with the lowest paying tenants, and the scheme may fail to meet even the basic viability. But at least it shows a more conciliatory approach than constantly bashing those who take risks to provide housing.

  2. In the last couple of month there has been tremendous disapproval of Ellised buildings in San Francisco. The Chronicle stated that it has reached epidemic proportions. At the height of the Ellised buildings back around 2000 there were about 384 Ellis evictions. There are about 376,000 rental units in San Francisco per the SF Examiner of 11/14/13. That translates to approximately 1/1000 of a percent of the total market being Ellised? Does that appear to be an epidemic?

    I have long time tenants that occupy 3 bedroom units at 25-30% of market rents and all these units are used as a rental business by the master tenants. I subsidize their rental business. In one case the master tenant lives 90% of the time in Mexico. The master tenants basically live rent free or almost rent free but there is nothing I can do about this. Some of the old time tenants profit and not pay taxes on their rental income. These same tenants are out demonstrating that rent control should be made stricter or no Ellising. There is no relief in sight.

    I truly feel sorry for the family that was ousted from their unit on Jackson St. but per the newspaper, they had about 7 grown children. Couldn’t their children provided housing? Landlords are being forced to provide housing where family members should be taking charge.

    1. The Ellis Act confirms that a rent controlled apartment is not permanent, and many long term tenants haven’t adequately prepared for a future without their rent controlled housing. Naturally they are concerned.

      The city government must develop more programs to assist evictees. I seriously doubt it can force private property owners to remain in the rental business, especially if it means providing lifelong housing at a discount.

      1. Yes, I think that a gradual transition from the current rent control to a more targeted system of direct subsidies from the city to a much more limited and means-tested constituency would be far more sustainable.

        Something like a local Section 8 plan, or direct subsidies to the landlord to retain the existing tenants and not Ellis.

        The only people buying rent controlled buildings in SF right now are speculators and flippers. The risks are too high and the numbers just do not crunch for the small investor.

        If we’re not careful, soon we will be like New York or Chicago where there are only a small number of very, very large landlords. The little guy is getting squeezed out by being nickled and dimed to death with taxes, regulations, and restrictions.

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