Mayor Breed celebrates Right to Return ordinance

Mayor London Breed, shown signing the ordinance, backed by Supervisor Shamann Walton and residents of Potrero public housing celebrate the Right to Return that will facilitate the return to rebuilt homes of those displaced from public housing. No city has lost as much of its Black population as San Francisco. – Photo: Evan Ward

Ordinance clarifies and expands the right of current and former HOPE SF residents to return to a revitalized housing development or occupy a new affordable housing unit 

by Evan Ward, Mayor’s Office of Communications 

San Francisco – Mayor London N. Breed today celebrated the signing of San Francisco’s Right to Return Ordinance. She was joined by Supervisor Shamann Walton, Hope SF leadership and residents, and community members at Hope SF’s Potrero Hill housing development. The ordinance was sponsored by Mayor Breed, Supervisor Walton and the other members of the Board of Supervisors. The ordinance went into effect Jan. 19, 2020. 

“The people who have lived in these neighborhoods for years should get to benefit from the investments that we’ve made in our Hope SF housing developments,” said Mayor Breed. “For too long, public housing residents, including Black San Franciscans who have been historically displaced by redevelopment, have been pushed out of the city. This legislation ensures that families can return to the neighborhoods that they call home and benefit from the revitalization of their communities.” 

“I am excited to push legislation that will offer an opportunity for many San Francisco residents to return to the City after being displaced,” said Supervisor Walton. “Many Hope SF residents will be given the right to return to their original neighborhoods and communities. I know that bringing back neighborhood residents will help communities return to the vibrant diverse hubs they once were. This Right to Return legislation will help ensure that families can remain rooted in the neighborhoods and communities they helped build.” 

Existing law gives current Hope SF public housing residents the right to a revitalized public housing replacement unit at a Hope SF site, and this Right to Return legislation ensures Hope SF residents who were temporarily relocated are entitled to the same protections, with the goal of reducing displacement and ensuring San Francisco residents can remain in the city.

“Today we memorialize the repair of a broken promise to our residents,” said Theo Miller, Hope SF director. “After years of hard work, we stand together to not only make clear the legal right for our residents to live and thrive in their communities, but also the expanded right for their families and neighbors to return and continue to restore the neighborhoods from which they were pushed out.” 

The Right to Return legislation provides former Hope SF residents with the right to return to their community. The legislation applies to former residents of Hope SF sites at Hunters View, Alice Griffith, Sunnydale and Potrero Hill and gives them a priority to return to a revitalized public housing replacement unit at the site from which they moved, once all current Hope SF residents have had their chance to move in. Additionally, any current or former Hope SF resident has highest priority to move into any newly opened affordable units in Hope SF. 

Existing law gives current Hope SF public housing residents the right to a revitalized public housing replacement unit at a Hope SF site, and this Right to Return legislation ensures Hope SF residents who were temporarily relocated are entitled to the same protections, with the goal of reducing displacement and ensuring San Francisco residents can remain in the city. 

Hope SF is a key element of Mayor Breed’s efforts to make San Francisco a more equitable city, by providing revitalized public housing in addition to investments in education, economic mobility, health and safety. 

About Hope SF 

San Francisco’s Hope SF initiative is the nation’s first large-scale community development effort aimed at disrupting intergenerational poverty, reducing social isolation, and creating vibrant mixed-income communities without mass displacement. Two of the four sites – Alice Griffith and Hunters View – have completed their public housing transformation, with additional affordable and market-rate development remaining. Once completed, the re-envisioned Potrero Hill and Sunnydale communities will be mixed-income, service-enriched communities, affordable to more than 3,000 low-income and middle-class families and developed according to the non-displacement principles of the Mayor’s Hope SF initiative. 

Evan Ward, a journalist in the Mayor’s Office of Communications, can be reached at evan.ward@sfgov.org.