London Breed: San Francisco victorious in the fight for landmark affordable housing policies

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After weeks of negotiations between the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and San Francisco officials, HUD announced Sept. 21 that it will authorize neighborhood preference policies for federally-funded affordable housing in the City – upholding landmark legislation by Board of Supervisors President London Breed. President Breed joined Supervisor Cohen and housing advocates to celebrate the monumental victory in San Francisco’s fight against neighborhood displacement.

by San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed

We are in a housing crisis. The workers, teachers, seniors, minorities and particularly African Americans who have called San Francisco home for decades are struggling just to hang on. In facing this crisis, we must be creative, and we must be persistent.

Bay View columnist Rochelle Metcalfe and Board of Supervisors President London Breed share a bright moment at the April 13, 2015, Giants home opener. We’re eager to welcome Rochelle back home to her page. – Photo: Harrison Chastang
Bay View columnist Rochelle Metcalfe and Board of Supervisors President London Breed share a bright moment at the April 13, 2015, Giants home opener. We’re eager to welcome Rochelle back home to her page. – Photo: Harrison Chastang

The housing policies of the 1960s cannot solve the problems of 2016, and we can’t let them stand in our way either.

Last year, Supervisor Malia Cohen and I passed Neighborhood Preference legislation to prioritize neighborhood residents for the affordable housing units built in their community. People told us it would never happen; they opposed us behind the scenes. But we passed Neighborhood Preference into law.

Then last month, the federal government dealt a devastating blow, ruling that federally-funded housing projects could not use Neighborhood Preference.

As soon as I learned of the ruling, I took a red eye flight to Washington D.C. to fight for the preference our residents need and deserve. With a delegation of San Francisco leaders, including the offices of Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, we asked HUD to reconsider their decision, launching three weeks of negotiations and collaboration that culminated in today’s historic decision.

This is a monumental victory for everyone who – like me – is struggling to stay in San Francisco. It wasn’t easy, but this was never about doing what was easy. It was about doing what is right. It was about fighting for a community that’s been there for me since I was a young girl in public housing.

This is a monumental victory for everyone who – like me – is struggling to stay in San Francisco. It wasn’t easy, but this was never about doing what was easy. It was about doing what is right.

Because of our work, the neighborhood residents applying for Willie B. Kennedy apartments in District 5 right now WILL be prioritized for an affordable home. I will keep fighting every day for affordable housing, keep pushing the envelope so our neighbors aren’t pushed out. I always remember the old saying, “a river cuts through a rock not because of its power, but its persistence.” This is San Francisco – we don’t give up.

London Breed, in her first term on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, was elected president of the board. The Bay View is proud to support her re-election this November. To learn more and get involved in campaign, go to http://www.londonforsupervisor.com/ and visit her BOS page at http://sfbos.org/supervisor-breed-district-5.

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