2016 Affordable Housing General Obligation Bond

In November of 2016, the San Francisco voters authorized the City and County of San Francisco to repurpose existing bond authority, and issue up to $260.7 million of general obligation bonds to address critical housing needs, protect residents, and stabilize communities.

What the Bond Does

The bonds will fund the Preservation and Seismic Safety Program (PASS), and enable the City, acting by and through its Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), to:
• Preserve affordability in existing housing at risk of market-rate conversion
• Protect San Franciscans living in apartments at risk of displacement 
• Improve the earthquake resilience of San Francisco’s building stock

PASS Program Overview  

PASS plays a critical role in the City’s anti-eviction and preservation strategy to finance the acquisition and rehabilitation of at-risk multifamily buildings, remove them from the speculative market, and preserve them as permanently affordable housing.  Specifically, PASS provides access to a nimble source of low-cost and long-term financing that is not currently available on the conventional market, or through MOHCD’s existing financing programs.  It is anticipated that in aggregate, the PASS Program will facilitate the preservation of up to 1,400 apartments, reduce the need for other public resources, support the long-term financial feasibility of participating developments, and allow preservationoriented sponsors to compete more effectively in the acquisition of at-risk buildings offered in the open market.   
PASS provides MOHCD’s borrowers with low-cost and long-term access to debt financing to acquire, rehabilitate, and preserve existing buildings as permanently affordable housing.  Eligible projects may be small buildings like those typically funded by the City’s Small Sites Program (e.g. 5 to 25 units), larger multifamily structures (e.g. 25+ units), or Single Room Occupancy hotels (SROs) of all sizes.   
Eligible Uses

  • Acquisition/rehabilitation, preservation of affordable housing, and seismic retrofits 
  • Small sites (5 to 25 unit buildings) 
  • Larger multifamily and mixed-use residential buildings (25+ units)
  • Single-Room Occupancy hotels 

What is not PASS Eligible? 

  • New construction 
  • Acquisition without rehabilitation 

PASS loans shall be fully secured by a first-position lien against the fee interest of the property and may be structured as either Acquisition/Construction Loans (Direct Financing), or Permanent Loans (Take-out Financing).  Loans may be comprised of a combination of (i) Below Market Rate Loans, (ii) Deferred Loans, or (iii) Market Rate Loans.  With little to no anticipated demand for market rate properties, MOHCD staff expect that each eligible affordable property will be financed with a combination of all three funding sources to maximize the utilization of the bond proceeds at the lowest interest rate to borrowers.  
MOHCD’s occupancy restrictions will be recorded against the deed and permanently restrict all units to households earning no more than 120% of AMI at turnover, and require that the project’s combined average rents are no higher than 80% of AMI.

First Issuance - Series 2019A


  • February 2019 - the City issued the first round of funding for the PASS Program in the amount of $74.42 million.
  • March 2019 - PASS Program Regulations adopted by Citywide Affordable Housing Loan Committee.
  • May 2019 - First PASS loan closing.
  • As of December 2019:
    • Ten additional PASS loan closings representing a funding amount of $26.7 million.
  • As of June 2020:
    • Three additional PASS loan closings representing a funding amount of $7.6 million and an aggregate PASS utilization of $34.3 million to preserve 189 residential units and 17 commercial spaces.

Sources and Uses

2016 Affordable Housing General Obligation Bond Sources and Uses Chart
Last updated February 22, 2024