Photo: Flickr/Meetu Singhal

Affordable housing and who it benefits the most has been a point of contention lately in San Francisco, where the haves and the have-nots share sidewalks, or at least attempt to. Thankfully, relief may be in sight for working and middle-class families.

Last week, city supervisors came to an agreement about affordability requirements for market-rate housing developers. Affordable housing will be parcelled out on a three-tier system with regards to the applicant’s average median income (AMI) for inclusionary housing. 

“This is groundbreaking legislation. For the first time in our city’s history, we have three categories, we will be serving working- and middle-class families,” Supervisor Ahsha Safai told the San Francisco Examiner.

Eighteen percent of units in new rental projects must be allocated for affordable housing, down from 25 percent. That number will continue to increase gradually until it hits 24 percent in 2027.

Two rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, the Mission and the Tenderloin, will be exempt from the change. There, affordability requirements will remain at 25 percent.

If passed, the deal would require 10 percent of new units to be set aside for low-income renters, 4 percent for moderate-income renters, and 4 percent for middle-class renters.

However, on Monday, the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Transportation Committee decided to delay the vote because a few elements of the proposed inclusionary housing policy need adjusting.

The supervisors are in agreement over the three-tiered AMI system, but some are concerned about the density bonus program, which rewards developers for including more affordable housing by allowing them to build higher.

The issue will come to vote again at the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee on June 5th.

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