Mayor Lee Announces New Executive Directive to Create More Homes in San Francisco

Initiative will set an aggressive production goal of 5,000 housing units each year

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today issued an Executive Directive that will reduce housing project timelines by nearly half while leading to the creation of 5,000 new units every year for the foreseeable future.

“For too long, we failed to develop enough housing in our city, creating an environment where families left San Francisco for more affordable places to live,” said Mayor Lee. “We will not allow the mistakes of the past to continue. Instead of putting up obstacles to housing, this initiative will foster an environment where homes can be created quickly and efficiently. More housing in San Francisco will make this city more affordable for our families.”

The Executive Directive calls for greater collaboration, accountability and transparency among all City departments involved in the issuing of building permits. The initiative will reduce entitlement times and ensure that building permits, subdivision maps and other post-entitlement permits are issued in a swift, efficient manner. A full copy of the Executive Directive can be found here.

“We cannot expect to create more housing when projects struggle through the permitting process,” said Supervisor Katy Tang. “I am thrilled to see the Mayor launch this important initiative to remove barriers to creating more housing in San Francisco.”

“Our housing affordability crisis is a result of decades of inaction and purposeful underbuilding that has only served the wealthiest among us while leaving out our working- and middle-class families,” said Supervisor Ahsha Safaí. “I give Mayor Ed Lee my unwavering support on this issue and commend him for his willingness to tackle our housing crisis head-on.”

In 2014, Mayor Lee challenged San Francisco to build 30,000 new and rehabilitated units by 2020. Since then, more than 17,000 units have been brought online, of which 35 percent are permanently affordable.

During a 30-year period beginning in 1986, San Francisco averaged only 1,967 new units each year. The Mayor’s Executive Directive to create 5,000 units annually will mark a 160 percent increase from those averages.

"There's no greater threat to the Bay Area's prosperity, diversity and quality of life than our region's severe housing shortage,” said Christine Johnson, San Francisco Director for San Francisco Planning & Urban Research (SPUR) and a member of the San Francisco Planning Commission. “Every city in the region must take bold, immediate steps to provide homes for everyone, especially those who struggle to remain in the Bay Area. Mayor Lee has shown unprecedented leadership for San Francisco and the region by calling for the removal of unnecessary barriers to approving, permitting and building homes for San Franciscans. SPUR looks forward to working with Mayor Lee, members of the Board of Supervisors, and every City Department to implement the Mayor's Executive Directive and accelerate the building of 5,000 new homes for San Franciscans every year."

In addition to increasing collaboration between City departments, the Executive Directive calls for enhanced coordination with private housing developers.

“This executive order from Mayor Lee sends a message that we must stop doing business as usual to impact our housing crisis,” said Douglas Shoemaker, President of Mercy Housing California. “It will speed up the delivery of affordable homes to families, seniors and veterans.”

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