Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Politics & Govt
Published on June 03, 2016
Today: Q Foundation Workshop On Affordable Housing For 55 LagunaArtist rendering of the 55 Laguna site. (Photo courtesy of Openhouse SF)

Fresh off its success at 101 Polk Street, where Q Foundation (formerly known as AIDS Housing Alliance) procured below-market-rate housing for six of its clients, the organization now hopes to help low-income and disabled LGBTQ seniors obtain some of the coveted BMR units coming to 55 Laguna on the border of Hayes Valley and the Lower Haight—the "first affordable, LGBT-welcoming housing" that's opening to residents this fall.

To that end, Q Foundation Executive Director Brian Basinger and Vanessa Doyle of the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development will be hosting an affordable housing workshop, titled Worqshop, from 4-5:30pm today at the Main Public Library, 100 Larkin St. 

"Our ability to get people into affordable housing is going to be greatly expanded under the just-released Displaced Tenant Preferences and the Neighborhood Preferences programs," Basinger explained. "These programs give tiered priority access to residents who have been displaced by an Ellis Act eviction or an Owner Move-In eviction. Twenty percent of units in most new affordable housing will be for displaced tenants, and 40 percent for residents of the neighborhood that welcomes more affordable housing."

WorQshop attendees will receive information on both preference programs, and applications for affordable units at 55 Laguna will be provided to those who qualify. Basinger will also share details on Q Foundation’s own affordable housing subsidies. "Q Foundation has a Senior or Disabled Rental Subsidy program. These are primarily eviction prevention subsidies to keep people housed while we apply for more affordable housing.”

Affordable housing workshops such as this one are a priority of the foundation, given how hard the LGBTQ community has been hit by the city’s housing shortage, Basinger explained. With many Ellis Act and Owner Move-In evictions happening in the Castro, "our target population, LGBTQ and HIV+ communities, are disproportionately impacted by eviction," he said. "Hopefully, we will be able to address some of these disparities through these new programs."

So who exactly qualifies for these and other Q Foundation subsidy programs? "Subsidies are available to seniors, age 60 or over, or disabled tenants in San Francisco who are at risk of eviction because their rent is 70 percent or more of their gross income," Basinger said. "We are also piloting a program with the Mayor’s Office of Housing & Community Development to provide rental subsidies to senior or disabled preference holders who are unable to use those preferences because they lack sufficient income to qualify for affordable housing."

While today's workshop will keep its focus trained on 55 Laguna, where applications for affordable housing lottery will be accepted in the coming weeks, Q Foundation's subsidy programs will be available as other BMR units hit the market. "We are hopeful that the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors will fund additional subsidy slots so that senior or disabled residents also have an opportunity to have equitable access to those preferences units," said Basinger. 

Vanessa Doyle of the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development added that "big changes are underway in San Francisco's affordable housing preferences."

Clarifying the requirements for the new preferences programs, she said, ”The DTHP preference applies to 20 percent of units in projects with at least five affordable units. The NRHP preference applies to 40 percent of units in projects with at least five affordable units, but only applies at initial sale or lease up. It's important to get the word out about these new preferences to encourage eligible applicants to apply."

If you're still not quite sure whether you qualify, don't fret. Basinger and Doyle are prepared to help you work your way through the maze during this evening’s workshop. "There are many percentages and acronyms thrown around here, so I'm looking forward to making this as easy to understand as possible," Doyle said. "Bring your questions!"

Interested parties can RSVP for Worqshop here.