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Certificate of Preference

What is a Certificate of Preference?

Certificate of Preference is a document issued by the former San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (“Agency”) to displaced residents and businesses in the1960’s when the Agency was implementing its federally-funded urban renewal program. MOHCD now administers this program. MOHCD is not the Housing Authority, nor does MOHCD administer the Section 8 program. This Certificate gives such households preferential consideration for MOHCD-funded housing projects and former San Francisco Redevelopment Agency funded housing projects.

Certificates of Preference were issued to households that were displaced by Redevelopment Agency activity in the 1960's and early 1970's, specifically in the Western Addition and in Hunters Point.  Please see Certificate of Preference Displacement address list for a list of addresses recognized by the Agency.  Certificate of Preference holders must be identified as having lived in the household when the Agency was implementimg its federally-funded urban renewal program.  MOHCD maintains a mailing list of all households in this program. For additional information, see below or call the Certificate hotline at 415-701-5613. If you believe that you are entitled to such a Certificate or if you are a Certificate holder who has not been receiving special mailings, please contact Sonia McDaniel at 415-701-5500.

NOTE: A Homebuyer Education Certificate from an approved housing counseling organization is NOT a Certificate of Preference.


Certificate of Preference Program More Detailed Information

You may find the documents below helpful in learning more about the Certificate of Preference Program. The first document is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Certificate Program with answers. The second document is the formal set of Certificate of Preference Program Rules adopted by the Redevelopment Agency Commission.

Certificate of Preference Program Displacement Addresses

The Agency did not acquire every residence and all land within a Redevelopment area -i.e., Western Addition and Hunters Point.  Some buildings were owned by the San Francisco Housing Authority, which is federal property, and over which the Agency has no jurisdiction to evict, relocate, or re-house.  Please see the following address list in the link below for addresses recognized by the Certificate of Preference program The search will determine if the address given was lan or property acquired by the Agency, or a private entity under contract with or on behalf of the Agency.  


How to Request a Certificate of Preference Search

If you would like someone to contact you about the Certificate Program, please complete the "Certificate of Preference Search Request online form" with as much information as possible, including the address from which your family was displaced (if known), parents' names if they were the heads of household, etc. No entity or organization other than MOHCD is authorized to check eligibility for a Certificate of Preference, or to grant a Certificate of Preference. There are always a large number of requests, and searches are conducted in the order they are received.  Incomplete information, misspelled names, and wrong addresses can delay the results of a search. Please click here to submit an online form.

If you do no want to use the online form, you may print out, then fill in a "PDF iconCertificate of Preference Search Request form" and send it to MOHCD to request information about your specific situation (instructions and address appear on the request form).  Please attach the following form to authorize assistance in applying for the Certificate of Preference Program  PDF iconAuthorization Release of Information

Please be prepared to provide two forms of identification i.e. social security card, birth certificate, and/ or state issued ID, if you are deemed eligible for a Certificate of Preference. 



Request a replacement Social Security card

Request for Birth Certificate

Transcipts of Permanent Records for SFUSD

Requests for Public Records through the San Francisco Department of Public Health