A parking lot behind a courthouse in SoMa may play a major role in how San Francisco allocates resources for homelessness. Today, a proposal to turn the federally-owned lot into the city's largest housing development for formerly homeless individuals will be heard by the Board of Supervisors, SFGate reports.
The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development is proposing that two buildings be constructed on the surface parking lot behind the James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse (1068 Mission St.), home to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Combined, the developments would add 250 units to the city’s permanent supportive housing stock.
The proposal includes an 85-foot tall, 150-unit building that would face Mission Street and would house formerly homeless single adults. A second, 65-foot tall building would face Stevenson Alley and would provide housing for seniors older than 62 who were once homeless. As it stands now, neither building would have parking.
Although the property is valued at $35 million, the Mayor's office is hoping the government will transfer it to the city for a dollar, something that’s reportedly been done for similar projects in Washington DC and around the country.
According to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, properties owned by the federal government must first be considered for homeless services before other uses.
Because the parcel is on federal property, the city will eventually need to negotiate with the government to gain ownership, but before anything can move forward, the Board of Supervisors must first approve the idea.