From the Field: San Francisco Advocates Rally and March to Protest Federal and City Cuts to Affordable Housing

Housing advocates in San Francisco took to the streets on April 27, voicing strong opposition both to President Donald Trump’s proposed $6 billion cut to HUD programs and to a proposal being considered by the City Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to reduce the proportion of affordable units required in all new developments in the city. More than 200 people turned out for the rally, representing more than 30 community organizations, churches, labor unions, and resident councils.  

San Francisco advocates demonstrating in front of City Hall

San Francisco advocates demonstrating
in front of City Hall

The rally featured several speakers who are themselves low income and formerly homeless. Renee Cyprien spoke about her experience as a San Francisco renter who was homeless for an entire year before finding housing with the help of a Housing Choice Voucher. “You want to make America great again, take care of homelessness and housing for our seniors and our veterans,” she said to loud applause.

Other speakers highlighted the likely decrease in the availability of vouchers if Mr. Trump’s proposed cuts are enacted.  They noted that an estimated 200,000 vouchers could be lost nationwide if the president’s budget is signed into law. Sarah Sherburn-Zimmer of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco addressed the threats to public housing, where residents are fighting to ensure that just basic repairs get completed.

After rallying outside the Federal Building where San Francisco’s HUD office is located, the protesters marched to City Hall, where the Planning Commission was voting on a proposal to reduce the affordable housing requirements in new developments. A previously approved ballot measure, Inclusionary Affordable Housing Fee and Requirements, established that 25% of the units in all new developments in San Francisco be affordable. The proposed amendment would reduce that requirement to 18%.  The Planning Commission approved the amendment, and it now goes to the Board of Supervisors.

For more information about the recent protest action in San Francisco contact Leslie Dreyer, anti-eviction organizer at the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, at leslie@hrcsf.org.