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San Francisco Unanimously Supports Statewide Effort to Turn Abandoned Properties into Affordable Housing

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to support a state bill to help convert abandoned, tax delinquent properties into affordable homes. The bill, Assembly Bill No. 528 (Wicks), has been endorsed by a range of affordable housing organizations and advocates, praising the measure as a way to make sure properties during the pandemic and recovery are not immediately lost to the speculative private market.

“Creating more opportunities to take private properties out of the speculative market and into the hands of nonprofits and public agencies was a core element of Prop I, as well as the related Housing Stability Fund,” said Supervisor Preston, who sponsored the resolution. “AB 528 complements our local efforts on the state level, with an underlying recognition that as policymakers we must learn from our experiences of the Great Recession of 2008 and not lose thousands of housing units to a speculative market.”

AB 528 seeks to improve our existing state laws by creating a clearer and more predictable process to convert abandoned tax delinquent properties into affordable homes. A local Board of Supervisors will need to approve the sale (90 days) and when a nonprofit can expect to hear back from the State Controller’s office (30 days). The bill also gives tenants an opportunity to purchase tax delinquent properties and a right to first refusal to new affordable homes (owner occupied properties are exempt).

“AB 528 is paramount to improving existing state laws so that tax delinquent properties are not lost to the speculator market but remain owner-occupied,  preserved as affordable housing, or that the tenants in the unit have an opportunity to purchase or a right of first refusal,” said Jon Jacobo, Director of Policy and Engagement at TODCO.

AB 528 is sponsored by the City of Oakland and Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California and is supported by the Oakland Tenants Union, Just Cause/Causa Justa, Todco/BAFCA, Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, Mercy Housing, and Habitat for Humanity.

“NPH is proud to sponsor AB 528 along with the city of Oakland because it will help convert homes that have fallen into tax delinquency into permanent affordable housing while protecting tenants from displacement,” said Pedro Galvao, NPH Policy Director. “Now more than ever it is critical to help keep tenants housed, homeowners out of collapse, and in the event that a second home falls into tax delinquency, that those properties be converted into affordable housing while keeping existing tenants housed.”

Photo Credit: “Plaza Apartments in San Francisco” by kqedquest is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Fiona has a background in environmental science & justice and covers everything from global warming to housing. Her favorite thing to do in San Francisco is hiking up to Telegraph Hill.

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